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Approvals for National Quality Framework services

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The Chief Executive of the department is the Regulatory Authority in Queensland responsible for approving early childhood education and care providers and services under the National Quality Framework (NQF).

Education and care services to which the NQF applies include family day care services and centre-based services (e.g. long day care, outside school hours care and kindergartens).

The following approvals are required to operate a service in Queensland under the NQF.

Provider approval

A person or entity (such as a corporation, eligible association or partnership) must first obtain a provider approval, which is ongoing and recognised nationally, before applying for service approval to operate a service.

The approved provider is legally responsible for ensuring any service they operate complies with the requirements of the NQF.

An individual (a person) applying for provider approval must satisfy the Regulatory Authority they are fit and proper to provide an education and care service.

If the applicant is not an individual, the Regulatory Authority must be satisfied as to the fitness and propriety of:

  • the applicant (e.g. board members as the controlling mind of the corporation), and
  • each person who will manage or control the service that the applicant is to operate (this may include all or some of the board and potentially other key officers of the corporation).

As part of this process, the Regulatory Authority may interview the applicant.

Read more about fitness and propriety and management capability, including about persons with management or control.

If granted, a provider approval allows the approved provider to apply for one or more service approvals.

Note that the Regulatory Authority may cancel a provider approval if the approved provider has not operated any education and care service for a period of more than 12 months (refer to section 31(f) of the National Law).

Authorisation to act on behalf of approved providers

Approved providers may wish to authorise another person/s to act or communicate on their behalf with the Regulatory Authority. Read more about acting on behalf of an approved provider.

Service approval

To operate a centre-based or family day care education and care service under the NQF, an approved provider must hold a service approval.

Service approvals relate to the individual site/premises and the nature of care provided.

The approved provider must demonstrate their capability to operate the service in compliance with the National Law and National Regulations.

As part of this process, the Regulatory Authority may interview the approved provider.

The adequacy of the proposed policies and procedures for a proposed service will be assessed as part of a service approval application process. Under regulation 168 of the National Regulations, an approved provider must ensure the service has in place certain policies and procedures. An approved provider of a family day care service must have additional policies and procedures set out in regulation 169 of the National Regulations.

Read more about Service policies and procedures—applying for a service approval and Emergency and evacuation policies and procedures under the National Law.

The Regulatory Authority may refuse to grant a service approval if the service poses an unacceptable risk to children's safety, health and wellbeing. This is regardless of whether the local council has approved the proposed site and development.

Read more about building approval requirements and facilities and building requirements.

Addendum to service approval application

To submit a service approval addendum for the rest period condition (centre-based service), download, complete and email the service approval form to the department. This is an interim measure until Queensland-specific forms can be included on the National Quality Agenda Information Technology System (NQA ITS). Find out how to contact us via email or post.

Nominated supervisor

As part of an application for service approval, an approved provider must identify the nominated supervisor for the service and provide evidence of that person's consent to fill the role. Visit the ACECQA website to read more about nominated supervisors including their responsibilities and obligations under the National Law.

Waivers

Approved providers who have exhausted all other available options and are having difficulty meeting operational requirements such as the following may apply for a waiver as a last resort:

Read more about the above types of waivers and other waivers under the NQF.

Transferring a service approval

Under the National Law an approved provider may seek the consent of the Regulatory Authority to transfer a service approval to another approved provider.

Read more about transferring a service approval.

Submitting applications or information

Applications for provider or service approval, amending an approval; notifying of transfer of a service approval or notifying of changes must be submitted through the NQA ITS. Note there is a PDF version of the provider approval application (PA01 form) on ACECQA’s website but the Queensland Regulatory Authority will only accept applications submitted via the NQA ITS.

To use NQA ITS, the approved provider account needs to be linked to an individual who is authorised to complete the notification and other actions on behalf of the approved provider.

Please note only one person can link to the approved provider account. This person can give other users access to the account but the approved provider is legally responsible for all information and submissions on NQA ITS.

For help with this and other NQA ITS processes, read the getting started online guidance (PDF, 274KB) or a more comprehensive user guide (PDF, 12MB) on the ACECQA website.

How long does it take to assess an application?

Under the National Law, the Regulatory Authority must decide applications for:

  • provider approval within 60 days after receiving a complete application which includes all documentation and information set out in section 11 of the National Law and regulations 14-15 of the National Regulations
  • service approval within 90 days after receiving a complete application which includes all documentation and information set out in section 44 of the National Law and regulations 24-25 (for centre-based services) and regulation 26 (for family day care services) of the National Regulations.

Note if the Regulatory Authority requests more information to assess an application, applicants should provide this as soon as possible because this response time is not included in the above decision-making timeframe.

It is an offence to knowingly provide false or misleading information or documents.

Certificates are issued for provider and service approvals granted by the Regulatory Authority. Approved providers must display approval certificates at the premises.

If the application is refused, applicants will receive this decision in writing. Applicants may apply to have an internal review within 14 days of the day on which they were notified or became aware of the decision. Find out more and download the AR01 form (Application for internal review of reviewable decision) on ACECQA applications and notifications.

Related information

Learn more about approval requirements for NQF services:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act (2010)
    • Sections 10 and 11—Provider approval requirements
    • Sections 43 and 44—Service approval requirements
    • Section 49—Grounds for refusal to grant service approval
    • Sections 58–69—Transfer of service approval
    • Sections 81–82—Application for transfer of cancelled service.
    • Regulations 14 and 15—Provider approval requirements
    • Regulations 24 and 25—Service approval requirements for centre-based services
    • Regulation 26—Service approval requirements for family day care services
    • Regulations 36-38—Transfer of service approval
    • Regulation 168—Education and care service must have policies and procedures
    • Regulation 169—Additional policies and procedures—family day care service
    • Regulation 184—Storage of records after service approval transferred.

Read more about specific approval considerations and other regulatory requirements for different services including:

Help and support

If you have questions about provider and service approvals, please contact us.

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Last updated 19 December 2019