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Complaints

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If you are concerned about the quality or compliance of an early childhood education and care service, you may make a complaint to the department. Read more about making a complaint.

You may also request access to documents the government holds in relation to an early childhood education and care service (applies to long day care, kindergarten, outside school hours care, family day care, limited hours care, occasional care and specific funded services). Read more about accessing information the department holds.

Making a complaint​​​

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Is there anything I should do before lodging a complaint?

Yes. Before you lodge a complaint with the department, you are encouraged to first attempt to resolve the matter directly with the service’s approved provider or a person in a senior role at the service.

All services operating under the Education and Care Services National Law (National Law) or the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act) must have policies and procedures for dealing with complaints. Services must display at their premises the name and telephone number of the person with whom you may raise your complaint.

You may contact the department directly with your complaint if:

  • the matter is very serious or critical
  • you have tried to resolve the matter with the service but you consider it was not satisfactorily addressed
  • you do not feel comfortable raising the matter directly with the service.

Some matters are not within the scope of the National Law or the ECS Act and are not investigated by the department.

What complaints can the department investigate or not investigate?

The department may only investigate complaints that relate to the legal requirements of the National Law or the ECS Act. This includes complaints about educator qualifications, educator-to-child ratios, children’s supervision, and matters that impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of children at the service.

For other matters the following list of organisations may assist you with your complaint/concerns. This is not an exhaustive list.

Blue cards

Blue Card Services can assist with complaints or enquiries about obtaining working with children checks (blue cards).

Court orders

The approved provider is required to keep at the service information about court orders relating to a child. This is particularly relevant when the service must determine if a parent is authorised to collect their child, receive information about their child, or is allowed to attend the service. You should discuss any concerns about a court order with your approved provider.**

You should seek legal or family dispute resolution assistance for concerns or disputes about compliance with relevant court order matters relating to your child.

Child Care Subsidy (CCS)

Contact the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) for help with complaints about the CCS.

Discrimination

The Queensland Human Rights Commission can help with complaints about discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification, victimisation and other contraventions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

Education and care services outside Queensland

Contact the Regulatory Authority in the state or territory in which the service operates to make a complaint about services operating outside Queensland.

Employee/employer disputes

Contact the Fair Work Commission for help resolving disputes in the workplace.

Enrolments and waiting lists

Contact your service’s approved provider if you have a complaint about enrolment or the waiting list.**

Fees

Contact your service’s approved provider if you have a complaint or concern about fees.**

If your complaint is about consumer rights, contact the Office of Fair Trading.

You may wish to seek independent legal advice in relation to your complaint.

Unregulated services

Nanny, babysitter, hotel, resort, shopping centre, sporting facility and vacation care offered for fewer than four weeks a year is an unregulated service. You should contact the service operator if you have a complaint.

Adjunct care is defined under the ECS Act, however, it is does not require departmental approval. Read the department’s Adjunct care fact sheet (PDF, 1.5MB).

Contact the Office of Fair Trading for assistance with complaints about consumer rights.

You may wish to seek independent legal advice in relation to your complaint.

Wages or employee entitlements

Employers, employees, outworkers, outworker entities and organisations should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for advice or complaints about wages or employee entitlements.

Workplace bullying

Contact the service’s approved provider if you have complaints or concerns about workplace bullying.**

The Fair Work Ombudsman website has information about workplace bullying and harassment.

** Check National registers if unsure of contact details.

Is there a time limit or other limits on making complaints?

Yes. The department accepts complaints about conduct or incidents that have occurred within the past 12 months. If the complaint or incident happened more than a year ago, the department may not be able to investigate. This may be because the person is no longer employed by or involved with the service, or witnesses are no longer available to assist the department with inquiries.

How do I make a complaint?

To enable the department to effectively investigate the matter, please provide sufficient detail about the complaint. You can make a complaint in a variety of ways:

Phone your nearest regional office of the department. authorised officers have the power to investigate complaints and will answer your questions or concerns about the delivery of early childhood education and care.

Download a complaint form (PDF, 130KB) (DOCX, 24KB) fill in and email to your nearest regional office.

If you need an interpreter phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment:

  • TTY users phone 133 677, then ask for the nearest regional office of the department. Call charges and higher rates from mobile phones will apply.
  • Speak-and-listen users phone 1300 555 727, then ask for the nearest regional office of the department. Call charges will apply and higher rates from mobile phones will apply.
  • Internet relay users connect to the National Relay Service, then ask for the nearest regional office of the department.

What happens after I make my complaint?

The department will assess your complaint and contact you to acknowledge receipt and/or request further information if required. The nature of the complaint determines how the department will respond and investigate.

The department will contact you if your concern is outside the scope of its regulatory authority and explain why it cannot investigate the matter. The department may refer you to the relevant organisation to assist you with your concerns.

Will the information I provide with my complaint be kept confidential?

Some complaints may require referral to an external agency, such as the Queensland Police Service; Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women; or Blue Card Services. In these cases, the department may need to give your name, personal information and complaint details to any of these agencies.

Only departmental staff will have access to your information unless another use or disclosure is authorised or required by law.

If appropriate, the department will raise your complaint with the service, educator or person so they can respond. This is to ensure everyone involved receives a fair hearing and the service or educator can respond fully to the details of the complaint.

Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can discuss your privacy concerns with an authorised officer before making a complaint or outline your concerns on your written complaint form.

While the department will respect your wish to remain anonymous, your identity may become clear to the subject of the complaint because of its nature; however, once the regulatory authority has been provided with the information or allegation, action may need to be taken to protect children even if you do not wish your identity to be disclosed.

How long will it take for my complaint to be resolved?

The more complex or serious the complaint, the longer it may take to investigate. The department deals with all complaints as quickly as possible. You will receive advice if there is a delay. Most complaints are finalised within 30 days.

What happens once the investigation is finalised?

The department will decide if it can substantiate your complaint and will take action, if necessary and appropriate, to ensure compliance with the National Law or ECS Act.

The department will advise you of the investigation outcome.

The department takes all complaints seriously and will continue to monitor the service for compliance with the relevant legislation.

What if I am not happy with the investigation or outcome of my complaint?

The authorised officer managing your complaint will include their contact details in the outcome letter you will receive. You should discuss your issue with this officer in the first instance.

If you are still dissatisfied after your discussion with the authorised officer, you may request a review. Your request should include the reason for the review and any relevant information the department should consider. Email your request for review to the Regulation, Assessment and Service Quality Branch.

If you remain dissatisfied after this review, you may wish to contact an external agency, such as the Office of the Queensland Ombudsman or seek independent legal advice.

Complaints about the actions or conduct of the department and/or its staff are managed in line with its Customer Complaints Policy. Read more about the Customer complaints management policy (PDF, 363KB).

What if I have more questions about the department's complaints management process?

Authorised officers will answer your questions or concerns about the investigation of complaints and the delivery of early childhood education and care. Phone your nearest regional office.

Accessing information the department holds

A parent, educator, staff member or other member of the public may request access to documents held by the government in relation to an early childhood education and care service. If the early childhood education and care service is regulated under the Education and Care Services National Law, this request is made under the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

This would apply in the case of long day care services, kindergarten services, outside school hours care services and family day care services.

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Last updated 19 November 2020