How we will approach compliance and enforcement of the new Child Safe Standards from 1 January 2023.
Quality Assessment and Regulation Division (QARD) is the Regulatory Authority for early childhood services in Victoria.
QARD works with early childhood services (services) to help them understand and comply with the Child Safe Standards (Standards).
Our role is to:
- monitor services’ compliance with the Standards, and
- take enforcement action when we detect serious non-compliance.
From 1 January 2023, every service in Victoria will have a new condition imposed on its service approval that requires approved providers to ensure their service complies with the new CSS.
We motivate services to comply using a range of encouragement and deterrence.
- support providers and services to comply
- monitor compliance
- encourage continuous improvement
- enforce the law and Standards
Read QARD’s Regulatory Framework at: How we regulate early childhood services.
We monitor compliance with the Standards
QARD uses a variety of methods in our daily work to monitor compliance with the Standards.
Our Authorised Officers (AOs) will look at how services are meeting the Standards at the same time as they check compliance with other legislation:
- the National Law
- the National Regulations
- the Children’s Services Act (CS Act)
- the Children’s Services Regulations (CS Regulations)
Our approach is to inform and educate, and to encourage continuous improvement over time.
In addition to other monitoring activities, we may visit a service:
- as a result of a notification
- in response to a complaint
- because of information received from stakeholders
- as part of an investigation.
This information alerts to us potential risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of children. These visits may also form part of an investigation.
Read more about how we do this in QARD’s Monitoring Compliance Policy at: How we regulate early childhood services.
We enforce the Standards
We take a risk-based approach to enforcement of both the Standards and other legislation. Our response depends on what non-compliances our AOs detect at the service.
We analyse each case, and decide on the appropriate enforcement action based on:
- the risk to children’s safety, health and wellbeing
- the type of non-compliance we find, and
- the number of non-compliances at the service.
We will take stronger enforcement action if the non-compliance(s) are:
- more serious, or
- when the service continues to fail to comply.
As an integrated sector regulator we can take enforcement action for non-compliance with the Standards using our powers under the National Law or the CS Act.
Usually, we begin with less serious enforcement action and move to more serious options as shown below. However this depends on the seriousness of the situation. Our options include:
- providing education and support to help services comply with their obligations
- taking administrative actions (eg. regional meeting, warning notice, formal meetings, additional monitoring)
- imposing statutory sanctions (eg. imposing conditions on service or provider approval, cancelling service or provider approval, notices, amendments)
- taking civil or criminal court action including (but not limited to) prosecution.
Read about how we regulate the Child Safe Standards in early childhood service.