Preparing for assessment and rating


​​​​​​​​​​​​​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 minor quality issues 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. When a minor adjustment is offered, it is recorded in the assessment and rating report. For more information on minor adjustments, please refer to the ACECQA Guide to the NQF.​

Non-compliance identified during assessment and rating

A range of actions may be taken when non-compliance is identified during assessment and rating, depending on the type of breach and the level of risk to children’s health, safety or wellbeing. When non-compliance is identified during an assessment and rating, it is recorded in the assessment and rating report.

  • Offer to remedy a breach—Authorised officers may give an approved provider an offer​ to remedy a breach of the legislation during assessment and rating when they identify any non-compliance issue that can and should be quickly and easily corrected.
  • ​Compliance action—​Compliance action may be taken by an authorised officer during assessment and rating when they identify non-compliance at a service that is not minor and cannot be quickly and easily remedied. Compliance action most commonly involves the authorised officer issuing the approved provider with a Compliance Direction, Compliance Notice, or Emergency Action Notice. Depending on the stage of the assessment and process when non-compliance is identified, the assessment and rating visit may be re-scheduled or temporarily suspended under Section 137 of the Education and Care Services National Law. Please see the Compliance and enforcement​ page for further information about regulatory actions that may be taken against service when non-compliance is identified.

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. Second tier review—​putting your best case forward​ contains important information about preparing a review application.

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.​

Last updated 28 August 2023