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Approvals for National Quality Framework services

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​​Most education and care services in Queensland are regulated under the National Quality Framework​ (NQF). These services include centre-based services (e.g. long day care, kindergartens and outside school hours care) and family day care services.

​The Queensland Early Childhood Regulatory Authority (Regulatory Authority) is responsible for approving early childhood education and care providers and services in Queensland under the NQF.

Individuals or organisations seeking to operate an education and care service in Queensland under the NQF must apply to the Regulatory Authority for both provider approval and service approval.​

Opening a new service​​

Visit the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) to read more about opening a new service.

View our animation​ (transcript) to learn about building plans and service approvals.

View the topics below to learn more about approvals.​

Provider approval

Before applying for approval to operate an early childhood education and care service, a person or entity (such as a corporation, eligible association or partnership) must first obtain a provider approval, which is ongoing and recognised nationally.

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

An individual applying for provider approval must satisfy the Regulatory Authority they are fit and proper to provide an education and care service (section 12​ of the Education and Care Services National Law).

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 or executive committee members as the controlling mind of the entity)

  • ​and

  • each person with management or control of 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 assessment process, the Regulatory Authority may request additional information and may ​interview the applicant.

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

More information

Service approval

To operate a centre-based or family day care service under the NQF, an approved provider must hold a service approval. An application for a service approval can be made at the same time as an application for a provider approval, but the service approval cannot be granted until the provider approval is granted.

To apply for service approval, an approved provider needs to:

  • complete an application with all prescribed information (regulation 24 or 26​ of the National Regulations)
  • pay the fee
  • have policies and procedures for the service ready to submit on request (regulation 168)
  • if applying for a family day care service, submit with the application copies of the additional policies and procedures required under regulation 169
  • if applying for a centre-based service, provide documentation relating to the service premises (regulation 25).​

When assessing the application, the Regulatory Authority will consider the range of matters outlined in section 47 of​ the National Law. This includes, but is not limited to, whether the applicant is capable of operating the education and care service, the adequacy of the policies and procedures of the service and the suitability of the service premises (centre-based services only).​

Policies and procedures

It is the approved provider’s responsibility to ensure the required policies and procedures, as outlined in regulation 168 and 169, are adequate.

Before applying for service approval:

  • ensure your policies and procedures are adequate by following the department’s policies and procedures guidelines
  • ensure they are effectively customised for your service's unique circumstances as required.

Inadequate policies and procedures may constitute an unacceptable risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children, which is one of the grounds for refusal to grant a service approval.​

Service premis​es

The service premises must meet the requirements of the National Regulations. If it does not, or the Regulatory Authority deems the proposed premises poses an unacceptable risk to children’s safety, health and wellbeing, the application may be refused. This is regardless of whether the local council has approved the proposed site and development.​

 

When establishing an education and care service, the Regulatory Authority expects approved providers to ensure the design of the service premises is in line with the requirements of the National Law and National Regulations, in addition to the requirements of the Building Code. Approved providers may apply for a waiver in certain circumstances where they are unable to meet the requirements, after all efforts have been made to meet the requirements.

The requirements for unencumbered indoor and outdoor space are important considerations when planning an education and care service. The Regulatory Authority has developed additional detailed guidance to help services plan and understand requirements for both indoor and outdoor space.​​

Waivers

After all efforts have been made to meet the requirements of the National Law and National Regulations, approved providers who are having difficulty meeting operational requirements may apply for a waiver. Waivers may be sought for:

More information

Transferring a service approval

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

More information​

  • Transferring a service approval
  • Service approval section in the Guide to the National Quality Framework​
  • Education and Care Services National Law
    • 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.
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations
    • 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.​

Help and support

If you have questions about provider and service approvals, please cont​act us ecis@qed.qld.gov.au.

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Last updated 02 November 2022