The Department of Education (the department) is the Regulatory Authority for Victoria and is responsible for:
- granting provider and service approvals
- carrying out the quality assessment and rating process
- ensuring education and care services meet the requirements of the National Law and National Regulations.
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the national, independent statutory authority governing the National Quality Framework (NQF).
ACECQA’s role includes:
- ensuring the consistent application of the NQF
- publishing guides and resources for education and care services
- maintaining public registers and lists of approved qualifications.
Provider approval is granted under Part 2 of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and, if granted, enables an approved provider to apply for one or more service approvals. A service approval authorises an approved provider to operate an approved service.
Obtaining provider approval is the first step toward operating an approved family day care service. An application for provider approval can be made by either an individual (e.g. sole proprietor) or a non-individual (e.g. a company, incorporated association or partnership).
An approved provider may apply to the Regulatory Authority for a service approval to operate a family day care service (section 43). The approved provider may only apply for a service approval if they will be:
- the operator of the family day care service
- responsible for the management of the staff members and nominated supervisor of the service (section 43(2)).
The approved provider of an approved family day care service is responsible for:
- ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of the children being educated and cared for by the service
- meeting the educational and developmental needs of the children being educated and cared for by the service
- ensuring sufficient persons are appointed as family day care co-ordinators
- ensuring each family day care educator is monitored and supported by a family day care co-ordinator.
The Regulatory Authority must not grant service approval unless the provider approval application has been granted.
As such, it is recommended that an applicant waits for the outcome of their provider approval application before submitting an application for service approval.
Before applying for provider approval
Prior to applying for provider approval a number of decisions need to be made. These being:
- the type of legal entity you make an application under
- the name of the legal entity
- the nomination of at least one ‘person with management or control’ (applies only if the applicant is not a sole proprietor (section 12)).
Type of legal entity
An applicant must make a decision before applying for provider approval regarding the type of legal entity they intend to apply under.
Any changes to the legal entity type (e.g. changing from an sole proprietor to a company) will require a new application for provider approval and for the application fee to be paid again.
An applicant should seek their own professional advice regarding which legal entity is appropriate for their circumstances. The Regulatory Authority cannot provide advice on these matters.
Name of the legal entity
If an applicant has submitted, or will be submitting an application to the Commonwealth Government for the purpose of seeking Child Care Benefit they must ensure that the legal entity name and type is consistent with the application for provider approval.
Persons with management or control
An applicant for provider approval must nominate person(s) to be a ‘person with management or control’.
Each person with management or control must demonstrate that they are a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service (section 12). I
f you are a sole proprietor; you are the only person who can be listed as a person with management or control).
Applying for provider approval
Applying for provider approval and establishing a family day care service is an important decision that comes with the responsibility of ensuring that the service and each educator engaged or registered by the approved provider is compliant with the National Law and National Regulations.
As an applicant, the following questions may assist you in determining if you are ready to apply for provider approval:
- Am I familiar with the National Law and National Regulations?
- What is my legal entity and how will I ensure there are appropriate governance arrangements in place?
- What is my service philosophy and how am I committed to operating a quality education and care service?
- How will I engage, monitor, assess and support my educators?
- What is the National Quality Standard and how will I develop a Quality Improvement Plan?
- How will I ensure that my educators can plan and deliver an educational program to children?
If you cannot confidently answer all the above questions you may need to undertake further research before applying for provider approval and establishing a family day care service.
The following information must be submitted for an application to meet the minimum requirements of the National Regulations (regulation 14 and regulation 15):
- a complete application for provider approval (form PA01)
- a complete declaration of fitness and propriety for each ‘person with management or control’ and each person listed as a company director (form PA02)
- a current criminal history notification (not more than 6 months old) for each person with management or control and each person listed as a company director
- copy of a current Working with Children Check or details of a current Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) Registration for each person with management or control and each person listed as a company director
- ASIC statement (where relevant)
- resume and qualifications
- payment of the prescribed fee.
The ACECQA website provides information on prescribed annual and transaction fees.
When submitting the application online, the applicant will be prompted to pay the invoice. If payment is not made online, an invoice will be generated and emailed to the applicant.
An application for provider approval will not be assessed until payment is received.
If an application is incomplete, the Regulatory Authority will issue a letter to the applicant. This letter will contain details about the information required to complete the application. An applicant must respond to this letter and provide all the requested information in order for the application to progress.
Assessment of fitness and propriety
An applicant for provider approval must demonstrate they are fit and proper to be involved in the provision of an education and care service. The application must include each person who will have management or control of the education and care service.
The matters the Regulatory Authority may take into account in assessing the fitness and propriety of a person are set out in section 13 of the National Law, and include:
- the applicant's history of compliance with the National Law and other relevant legislation
- any previous adverse decision under the National Law and other relevant legislation
- the criminal history of the applicants to the extent that the history may affect the person's suitability for the role of a provider of an education and care service
- any check of the applicants under a working with vulnerable people law of a participating jurisdiction whether the applicants are bankrupt, or have applied to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors
- whether the applicants have a medical condition that may cause the person to be incapable of being responsible for providing an education and care service in accordance with the National Law
- the financial circumstance of the applicants in so far as they may significantly limit the person's capacity to meet the person's obligations in providing an education and care service in accordance with the National Law
- any other circumstances the Regulatory Authority may consider relevant to the assessment of fitness and propriety of an applicant to be involved in the provision of an education and care.
In Victoria, this includes the assessment of written responses to scenario questions and referees’ assessments of each person who will be involved with the management or control of the education and care service.
This is to evaluate a person’s competence and experience relative to the duties and responsibilities of an approved provider or person with management or control. This includes whether a person possesses the necessary skills, knowledge, expertise and soundness of judgement to undertake and fulfil their roles.
Information and Assessment session
All individuals nominated as a person with management or control are required to attend an information and assessment session.
The Regulatory Authority will invite an applicant to attend an information and assessment session when the application for provider approval meets the minimum requirements of the National Law and National Regulations. The assessment sessions are designed to evaluate a person’s fitness and propriety to manage or control an education and care service.
Each applicant is required to provide a written response that demonstrates their understanding of the National Law, National Regulations and the National Quality Standard. More detailed information is provided to the applicant when they are invited to attend the session.
Conditions on provider approval
Conditions may be applied to provider approvals when they are granted and at any other time by the Regulatory Authority. A provider approval is granted subject to conditions that (section 19):
- are prescribed in the National Regulations or that are determined by the Regulatory Authority
- the approved provider must comply with the National Law.
An approved provider must comply with the conditions of the provider approval.
Notification of decision
The applicant will be notified of the decision on application within seven days of the decision being made. If the decision is to grant provider approval, the approved provider will receive a provider approval certificate via email.
Contacting the Regulatory Authority
When contacting the Regulatory Authority regarding a current application please have the application reference numbers ready. These numbers begin with either ‘APP’ or ‘PR’ and will assist in identifying the application.
When submitting further information the applicant must submit all relevant information through the National Quality Agenda Information Technology System (NQAITS). The Victorian Regulatory Authority only accepts applications and documents via NQAITS.
The Regulatory Authority can only discuss an application with the, primary contact or a person(s) with management or control of the proposed provider.