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Preparing for assessment and rating

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When preparing for your service's assessment and rating process consider these tips:

The assessment and rating process is designed to be collaborative and empowering.

Undertake your own assessment of your service against the National​ Quality Standard (NQS) and linked regulations. Incorporate your findings in your Quality Improvement Plan. This will empower you to play an active part in the assessment and rating process.

Collaborate with your authorised officer. Ask questions, provide additional information, and showcase the features of your service.

Your service is assessed against the NQS and regulatory requirements.

Authorised officers must complete a national training program and pass a reliability test to ensure they are equipped to assess and rate services consistently and objectively.

There is a minor adjustments policy.

Providers may be given the opportunity to make minor adjustments to the service operation to address concerns the authorised officer identifies during the visit. These adjustments may be made within specified timeframes and taken into consideration before finalising the assessment report and overall rating.

Feedback on the draft report.

The approved provider has 10 working days to provide feedback on any factual inaccuracies in the report and provide evidence to support their feedback

First tier review.

An approved provider can apply to the department for a review of ratings, called a first tier review. Read more about the review of ratings.

Second tier review.

Following a first tier review, an approved provider can apply to ACECQA for a second tier review. This is conducted by a Ratings Review Panel and can only be sought after a first tier review has been completed. Read more about the review of ratings.

The NQS sets a high national benchmark.

The NQS is raising the quality of education and care in Australia to give all children the best start to life and learning. All services must meet minimum legislative requirements to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children and are encouraged to continually improve the quality of education and care provided.

The focus is continuous quality improvement.

The focus of the assessment and rating process is to ensure continuous quality improvement of services. All services, regardless of their rating, are required to regularly:

  • evaluate their service's operations
  • explore ways improvements can be made
  • update their Quality Improvement Plan​ (at least annually)
  • demonstrate how quality outcomes will be achieved and/or maintained.

Tips for the assessment visit

  • Read the Guide to the National Quality Framework for examples of what the authorised officer might observe, discuss and sight at your service.
  • Inform parents and educators of the assessment and rating process and the expected date for the visit.
  • Introduce the authorised officer to the children, educators and families or allow the authorised officer to explain why they are there.
  • Collaborate with the authorised officer on the best time for discussions to minimise any disruption to the learning program.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Your service's usual, everyday practice is often all that is required to demonstrate that the service is meeting many of the quality areas of the NQS.
  • To minimise disruption during the assessment visit, ensure documentation about the NQS and regulatory requirements is readily available.
  • The authorised officer will give you feedback at the end of the visit, however, they will not be able to inform you of the rating.
  • Read supporting materials on the NQF including the assessment and rating process, rating system, overview of approvals and reviewing your Quality Improvement Plan.

Stay up to date

Services regulated under the NQF can subscribe to the National Quality Framework e-bulletin – keep updated on the latest changes and updates to the National Quality Framework.

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Last updated 24 December 2018