Regulatory priority 4
Early childhood services must have policies and procedures to meet their legislative requirements under the National Quality Framework or the
Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act). Approved providers are responsible for ensuring adequate policies and procedures are developed, implemented and regularly reviewed.
Well-developed and implemented policies and procedures help to ensure children’s health, safety and wellbeing.
It is a requirement under regulations 168 and 169 of the National Regulations for approved providers to ensure that services have in place a range of
policies and procedures. It is an offence under regulation 170 for an approved provider to fail to take reasonable steps to ensure that the nominated supervisors, staff members, family day care educators (if applicable) and volunteers at the service follow these required policies and procedures.
Robust policies and procedures set the expectations of staff and the families who attend the service. They help new and existing staff to understand the service’s processes and practices, aid in decision-making and ensure consistency across all areas of service delivery.
The department, as the Early Childhood regulatory authority, will assess a service’s policies and procedures at the service approval application stage. If assessed as ‘adequate to ensure the safe operation of the service and best possible outcomes for children’, approved providers have the ongoing responsibility to ensure:
- services are actively implementing their policies and procedures through systems that ensure staff are regularly trained (this includes induction) and follow the service-specific policies and procedures
- an ongoing review of policies and procedures as part of quality improvement at least annually or to meet new legislative requirements and the National Quality Framework, as well as ensuring the information is current and up to date. A review of policies and procedures is also good practice following an incident, complaint or event.
Approved providers and educators should regularly reflect on their approach to implementing and reviewing policies and procedures and ask themselves:
- What steps have I taken to ensure all staff at my service have a good understanding of the policies and procedures?
- Am I confident all staff practices are in line with the policies and procedures? How do I know this?
- When did we last review the policies and procedures for our service?
- Have there been any incidents at the service to instigate a review of our practices?
- National Regulation 168 Education and Care Service must have policies and procedures
- National Regulation 169 Additional policies and procedures – Family day care service
- National Regulation 170 Policies and Procedures to be followed
- National Regulation 171 Policies and Procedures to be kept available
- National Regulation 172 Notification of change to policies or procedures
- Element 7.1.2 Systems are in place to manage risk and enable the effective management and operation of a quality service
- Element 7.1.3 Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, and understood, and support effective decision-making and operation of the service
- Element 7.2.1 There is an effective self-assessment and quality improvement process in place