Complaints management and monitoring compliance under the Education and Care Services National Law

Version Number

1.0

Implementation Date

27/05/2014

Scope

All Early Years

Purpose

​The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate the following functions of the Regulatory Authority under section 260(c) and (d) of the Education and Care Services National Law (National Law):

a. Monitoring and enforcement of compliance with the National Law
b. Receipt and investigation of complaints arising under the National Law.

Overview

​The National Law requires the Regulatory Authority to regulate the provision of education and care services in Queensland.

As part of this role, the Regulatory Authority has functions under section 260(c) and (d) of the National Law which includes to:

  • Monitor and enforce compliance with the National Law
  • Receive and investigate complaints arising under the National Law.

This procedure outlines the processes undertaken by the Regulatory Authority in managing complaints and notifications, conducting investigations and the proportionate regulatory responses, if any.

Responsibilities

Chief Executive
Under section 14 of the Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) Act 2011, the chief executive of the Department of Education, Training and Employment is the Regulatory Authority and is responsible for approving, regulating and assessing education and care services in Queensland.  The chief executive’s powers under the National Law are delegated to appropriately qualified officers within the Regulatory Authority as detailed in Summary of Timeframes and Delegations under the National Law.

Delegated and Authorised Officers
Delegated and Authorised Officers approve, regulate and assess education and care services under the National Law. 

Delegated and Authorised officers must:

  • Receive, record and assess complaints and/or notifications and take action in accordance with this procedure
  • Refer complaints to the Queensland Police Service – Child Protection Investigation Unit, as appropriate
  • Refer complainants to other agencies to pursue their complaint, as appropriate
  • Monitor/investigate and respond to complaints and notifications
  • Ensure that procedural fairness is afforded
  • Ensure that the objectives of the National Education and Care Services Quality Framework is the primary consideration when deciding on the regulatory response
  • Seek legal advice from the Legal and Administrative Law Branch as necessary prior to making a decision about the regulatory response
  • Maintain accurate records of all actions and decisions
  • Communicate decision outcomes.

Regulation, Assessment and Service Quality
Regulation, Assessment and Service Quality must provide information, assistance, advice and training to Delegated and Authorised Officers on the implementation of this procedure.

Process

  1. ​Receive information
    Officers must:
    • Determine if the information is within the scope of the National Law and refer the matter to another agency if appropriate
    • Assess the risk associated with the information using a risk-based methodology in order to prioritise response
  2. Investigate
    Officers must:
    • Investigate the circumstances identified in the information using the powers available to the officer to gather evidence in order to substantiate or not substantiate the information received and make findings of fact.
    • Record actions taken in the investigation and the evidence uncovered in the investigation
    • Assess the evidence in order to determine if there has been:
      • Non-compliance with the National Quality Framework. And/or
      • A failure to meet a National Quality Standard.
  3. Act
    Officers must:
    • Determine the appropriate regulatory response by having regard to the department’s enforcement policy under the National Law.
    • Notify Regulation, Assessment and Service Quality of serious instances of non-compliance with the National Law and regulatory responses that may be subject to publication
    • Inform persons affected by the regulatory response of the outcome of the investigation to the extent permitted by law, including any avenues of review.

Online Resources

Review Date

31/01/2015
Attribution CC BY

Information
Information includes:

  • A complaint about an Approved Provider, an education and care service, an educator or any person involved in the provision of an education and care service
  • A notification from an Approved Provider in accordance with section 174(2) of the National Law
  • Any information which suggests that an education and care service/s are not complying with a provision of the National Education and Care Services Quality Framework

Regulatory response
The regulatory response is the decision or action taken by delegated officers in response to information received and investigated and may include:

  • If a complaint or notification is unsubstantiated - the regulatory response is to take no action
  • If a complaint or notification is substantiated - the regulatory response may  include one or more of the following:
    • additional monitoring of an education and care service
    • guidance provided to an Approved Provider or other responsible person
    • a Compliance Caution Letter sent to an Approved Provider
    • amendment to approvals/certificates
    • suspension of approvals/certificates
    • cancellation of approvals/certificates
    • section 92 Revocation of a service waiver
    • section 99 Revocation of a temporary waiver
    • section 171 Directions requiring an Approved Provider, Nominated Supervisor or Family Day Care Educator to exclude an inappropriate person from an education and care service premises
    • section 176 Compliance Direction
    • section 177 Compliance Notice
    • section 178 Notice to suspend education and care by a family day care educator
    • section 179 Emergency Action Notice
    • section 180 Enforceable Undertaking
    • section 182 Prohibition Notice
    • section 189 Emergency Removal of Children
    • section 283 Potential legal proceedings for an offence under the National Law
    • section 291 Infringement Notice.

Review of decisions
Sections 190 and 192 outline what decisions may be subject to internal and/or external review.  For further information, see the Internal Reviews under the National Law procedure.

Notification
For the purposes of this procedure, a notification is a:

National Quality Framework
The National Quality Framework comprises the:

Delegated and Authorised Officer
Delegated and Authorised officer means:

Persons affected by the regulatory response
Persons affected by the regulatory response includes:

  1. A complainant or other informant
  2. The subject of an investigation.

Procedural Fairness
Procedural fairness means:

  1. the opportunity to review relevant and adverse material which is before the decision-maker and the opportunity to present a case  before a decision is made
  2. the decision-maker is not biased and does not have the appearance of bias
  3. the decision-maker relies upon credible evidence to make their decision.
    For further information, see the Good Regulatory Practice chapter of the Operational Policy Manual for Regulatory Authorities