Compliance focus: Notifications to the NSW Regulatory Authority

Notifying and reporting a serious incident, circumstance that pose a risk or complaint about your service.

Students working on colourful table outside with teacher Students working on colourful table outside with teacher

As approved providers, nominated supervisors, coordinators and educators, you are required to notify the NSW Regulatory Authority of any incidents, risks or complaints regarding your service. This is an important step in supporting the health, safety and wellbeing of all children, attending early childhood education and care services.

Serious Incidents (Regulation 12)

You must notify the regulatory authority within 24 hours of becoming aware of a serious incident. Serious incidents include the death of child, any incident involving a serious injury or trauma to a child, any emergency for which emergency services attended, a child appears to be missing or cannot be accounted for at the service, a child appears to have been taken or removed from the service in a manner that contravenes the National Regulations or a child is mistakenly locked in or locked out of the service premises or any part of the premises.

Circumstances at the service which pose a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of children (Regulation 175(2)(c))

You are required to notify the regulatory authority within 7 days of becoming aware of a circumstance arising at the service that poses a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child. An example of this could be when there are changes within the environment that could pose a risk such as damage caused by natural disasters, like flooding.

When determining whether a circumstance or incident needs to be notified to the regulatory authority, consider whether there was/is a risk to a child or children were directly impacted by the circumstance/incident. Focussing on what impact the incident or risk has/had on the child, will help you determine whether it needs to be notified.

Complaints (National Law Section 174(2)(b))

You must notify the regulatory authority within 24 hours of any complaint alleging that a serious incident has occurred or complaints alleging that the Law has been contravened.

What to include in your incident/risk or complaint notification

To ensure all the relevant and required information is included in your notification, use the following questions to guide you:

  • What happened? Explain the details of the incident, risk or complaint including any injuries sustained.
  • Who was involved? Include child, staff or complainant details.
  • Where did it occur on the service premises? Provide details as to the exact location of the incident or risk.
  • When did the incident occur? Provide details such as what time of day or during what routine/activity it occurred. Include number of children and staff in the direct area of the incident.
  • Why did it happen? (e.g. was a procedure not followed correctly? Was there a supervision issue?).
  • How have you addressed the issue, risk or complaint to minimise the risk of it happening again?

ACECQA has developed a useful guide to notification types and timeframes. Further information about reporting requirements is also available on the ACECQA reporting requirements about children webpage.

Additional Tips
  • It is important to keep your service details up to date in the National Quality Agenda IT System to support timely and effective communication about incidents or complaints.
  • Remember to complete all sections and provide thorough and relevant information.
  • After submitting your notification, and you need to add further information or supporting documents, you can open the original notification and add this information. You do not need to start a new notification.
  • If you are unsure whether you need to notify the Regulatory Authority about an incident, risk or complaint, or if you require support, please contact our Information and Enquiries team on 1800 619 113.
Where to lodge a notification about an incident, risk or complaint

Long day care, family day care, preschool and outside school hours care services can use the National Quality Agenda IT System.

Mobile, occasional care, Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services (MACS) services should use the notification forms available on the department website.

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