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Authorisations policy in early childhood services

Requirements of the acceptance and refusal of authorisations policy required under the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011.

Authorisations required under the National Quality Framework (NQF)

Authorisation must be obtained for:

  • administering medication to children (except in anaphylaxis or asthma emergencies)
  • obtaining medical care for children (including ambulance transport)
  • children leaving the premises in the care of someone other than the parent
  • children to be taken on excursions
  • transportation of children provided or arranged by the service.

Authorisations can be given by parents, or others nominated on the child’s enrolment form to consent on parents’ behalf and must be kept on the child’s enrolment form.

These authorisations must be confirmed by the service:

  • annually by the service (medical care, medication)
  • once for every 12 months for ‘regular transportation'
  • once every 12 months for regular outings
  • each individual occasion an excursion is organised.

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority's (ACECQA) Guide to the NQF has detailed information on:

  • medication record
  • self-administration of medication
  • medical conditions policy
  • transportation
  • excursions.

Refer also to Managing children's medical conditions.

Refusal of authorisations

Services must have an Acceptance and Refusal of Authorisations Policy which sets out when the service will accept or reject an authorisation. This is one of the policies and procedures that all NQF services must have in place.

When services may consider denying an authorisation

In some situations, the service may decide to refuse an authorisation that has been given in the child’s enrolment form, or ask for more information before making a decision.

Administration of medication

Considerations for the service before accepting or refusing an authorisation.

Circumstances when an authorisation might be refused if:

  • someone who has not been listed as authorised to authorise administration of medication to a child, asks the service to administer medication to the child.
  • the service is asked to administer medication to a child that is not in accordance with the requirements of regulation 95 such as, being administered from its’ original container.
    • National Regulations: regulation 92.

Self-administration of medication

Considerations for the service before accepting or refusing the authorisation:

  • Is the child capable of self-administering?
  • Will the service allow all school age children to self-administer?
    • National Regulations, regulation 96.

Children leaving the education and care service premises

Considerations for the service before accepting or refusing the authorisation.

Circumstances where an authorisation might be refused:

  • if the parent or any other authorised nominee or person as listed in regulation 99 does not appear to be fit to take care of the child (for example, they are affected by alcohol)
  • the sibling or older child authorised to take another child out of the service does not appear to be capable
  • the child has been given authorisation to leave the service alone, however they do not appear to be capable or the environment they would be in alone is unsafe.

Does the service want to consider consulting the school about their process (if providing education and care on a school site)?

  • National Regulations: regulation 99

Authorisation for excursions

Considerations for the service before accepting or refusing the authorisation.

In what circumstances might an authorisation be refused? For example:

  • if an authorisation received by the service for an excursion does not meet the requirements of regulation 102, such as it appears to not have been signed by a person authorised to sign.
    • National Regulations: regulation 102.

Recording when authorisations are refused

If a service refuses an authorisation, the decision should be documented carefully by noting:

  • the details of the authorisation
  • why the authorisation was refused
  • the actions taken by the service.

For example, if the service refused an authorised nominee named in the child’s enrolment record to collect the child from the service as they were under the influence of alcohol, what action was taken to ensure that the child was collected.

Policy documentation

The service’s acceptance or refusal of authorisations policy can be a stand-alone policy, or it may be incorporated into other relevant policies required under regulation 168, National Regulations.

Not all of the authorisations will apply to all service types:

  • if the service does not allow self-administration in their medical conditions policy then no policy in relation to the acceptance or refusal of self-administration of medication is not required
  • services that do not have children over preschool age would not be expected to have a policy in relation to the acceptance and refusal of authorisations to self-administer medication, however a service with school age children may consider including one.
    • National Regulations: regulation 9.

For more information required under the NQF refer to Policies and Procedures.

Reviewed 04 April 2023


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Quality Assessment and Regulation Division (QARD)

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