Tips to meet Quality Area 4 – Staffing arrangements

Have you ever considered using regulated staffing documents to gather data or inform quality practice?

A female educator working at a computer at an early childhood education centre. A female educator working at a computer at an early childhood education centre.
Image: Staffing records are an integral aspect of service delivery and can be utilised in many ways.

In our October 2022 ‘Tips to Meet’ article, we explored Standard 4.2 Professionalism – specifically, how ethics inform professionalism. In this edition, we take a deep dive into the importance of staffing documents and their impact on the provision of quality early childhood education and care.

Regulations 145-154, it’s just paperwork. Right?

Regulatory staffing records were among the most commonly identified breaches in NSW in 2022. These documents are an integral aspect of service delivery and can be utilised in many ways.

It’s an easy assumption to categorise staffing records as ‘just paperwork’. However, let’s consider the dynamic uses of these documents, which can inform continuous improvement and demonstrate service quality uplift.

If staff records are not completed accurately (including Regulations 145 through 149), the provider may need to reflect on induction and onboarding procedures. The safety of children at a service begins with this induction process. Verification of a working with children check is a simple and highly effective step in ensuring the new team member has been cleared to work with children in NSW.

Systematic reviews of staffing records ensure diligent record keeping, embedded risk mitigation and compliance. Providing opportunities for aspirational team members, such as a responsible person, to conduct this review offers mutual benefits. Educators learn the importance of compliance to regulations, while bringing fresh eyes to the document and review process. Once the review is complete, a reflective discussion between the service leader and the educator may highlight previously unrealised issues.

Considering current workforce challenges, a review of these records may provide insight into opportunities for sourcing new staff. An example might include noting training organisations where ongoing team members previously studied. This may present an opportunity for the provider to create ongoing pathways for students to volunteer and/or complete practicum placements with the service. Student volunteering and placements benefit both the student and the service. All parties are provided opportunity to reflect on and build their knowledge and expertise.

A provider may use the records of responsible persons or educators working directly with children (Regulations 150 and 151) to review incidents or near misses occurring at a service and identify specific periods or transitions where risk of harm may be heightened. If a pattern is identified, the provider may consult educators by highlighting the pattern and asking for their expertise and opinion on how best to provide ongoing support.

Whilst these records are a regulatory requirement, their relevance across broader areas of management, people development and quality improvement present great opportunities to apply the information in creative approaches.

Some reflective questions you may consider when exploring how your service may reimagine the possibilities of quality practice through compliance include:

  • How does our service use these records?
  • What data could these documents contain as insights to highlight or improve quality practices at our service?
  • Does our staffing policy include dynamic thinking, informing procedures?
  • How do our policies, procedures and service philosophy inform best practice risk-mitigation strategies?
  • Have we asked the educators and used their experience to inform our procedures around these documents?

Resources and supports for services

There are numerous resources available to assist services review and implement quality staffing practices.

  1. The final chapter of Phoenix Support for Educators online program ‘Understanding and Supporting Children’s Behaviour’ covers educator support and wellbeing. The content explores the creation of a supportive, understanding, and efficient team environment. This program is funded through the NSW Department of Education’s Sector Development Program, that is now known as the Safety and Quality Practice Program from financial year 2023/24. It is free of charge to educators in NSW.
  2. Reach out to the Continuous Improvement Team for 1:1 service support. Each service is provided consistent engagement from a dedicated officer who will assist in answering questions, discussing service practice, the service leader’s understanding of the NQF and engaging staff in the improvement journey. Contact the team at or by calling 1800 619 113.
  3. Be You is a national mental health in education initiative delivered by Beyond Blue, in collaboration with Early Childhood Australia and headspace. Be You has a range of tools, resources and free professional learnings to support the mental health of the early childhood education and care community. For a full introduction to Be You for educators, download Educators Handbook: early learning services (PDF 9MB).

If you have any questions about your service operation, you can contact the Information and Enquiries (I&E) team on 1800 619 113 or by emailing

Tips for providers and their services

  • Consider how your service reviews and meets compliance with these documents. Can your team suggest any changes to promote consistent completion?
  • Consider how the service’s community partnerships enhance outcomes for children.
  • Keep an open mindset. Think about what you might do differently based on this article to enhance the quality processes for your service. Ask probing questions and seek clarity where you might be unsure.
  • Seek information on the Australian Government Department of Education Early childhood workforce webpage regarding the National Workforce Strategy and accompanying initiatives. Supports available include wage support for trainees, relocation assistance and free or low-fee training courses.
  • Review responsibilities under the National Law and Regulations to ensure the service meets minimum staffing arrangements by using The Guide to the NQF, Section 4, Operational Requirements. This chapter sets out the requirements for operating an education and care service, including the responsibilities of approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators.
  • Your service may be eligible for a waiver. Waivers play an important role in helping providers maintain their level of service to families while dealing with external labour market conditions, special circumstances or unexpected events. Approved providers can submit a waiver application via the NQA IT System.
  • Access ACECQA’s website for resources regarding staffing arrangements.
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