Monday, 31 January 2011

INDEPENDENT INDUSTRY ARTICLE

What does the review of the Children’s Service Regulation 2004 mean for NSW?

Well what a busy start to 2011 for NSW Service providers. An amendment to the regulation came through at the end of the 2010 with very little notice or time to prepare. The key change which was predicted was the 0-2 ratio decreasing to 1:4.

Childcare Sales Australia is proud to publish yet another article from Succeed Consultancy. This article is a one off article on the amendment of the Children’s Service Regulation 2004.

As usual it is sound practical information for owner operators, investors and new buyers alike. You can contact Succeed Consultancy on the numbers provided below or visit the Succeed Consultancy website for more information at:

www.succeedconsultancy.com.au

 
Why the change, when the industry is preparing for a National Review?

The Department of Human Services-Community Services states the changes are in line and are in preparation with the National Quality Framework and will assist services to minimise disruption to the

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industry whilst transitioning to the National Quality Framework.

The National Quality Framework will commence from 1st January 2012, so ensure you continue to stay updated with the finer details throughout 2011.

Visit www.community.nsw.gov.au and follow the links to “Children’s Services” to gain further information on the amendments to Children’s Services Regulation 2004.

Remember to print a copy, become familiar with the

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amendments and ensure your staff are familiar and confident with the changes.

Purchasing or developing a new service

Licensees will hold a single provider licence and a separate service approval for each service they operate. At any stage if you are new to the industry and or create a new company you can apply for your provider licence and use this in the future when you acquire a

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service. This approval will carry over if more than one service is purchased. It is not necessary to advertise a “notice of intention” in the newspaper any more.

Six weeks notice is to be given that the service approval is being transferred to a new licensee by both parties and confirmation that the transfer took place is to be communicated to the Department within one week.

Appointing a new Authorised Supervisor will require notifying the Department of the Authorised Supervisor within two weeks as long as they hold a AS number. All in all, purchasing a service is now a lot smoother, less paper work, more time efficient and less expensive.

No more waiting up to four to eight months

for your license application to be approved, no more frustrations with waiting to get into your new business or getting out! – whichever the case may be…

The changes are positive for all involved including the Department. The Department can concentrate more on their role; regulating children’s services rather than pen pushing through mountains of paperwork.

Licences will be granted with no fixed terms, therefore there will be no expiry date. No more re-licensing applications; again a positive approach to minimise paperwork work for licensees and the Department.

Building a service will require a service approval. There is no limit on the numbers of children’s services anymore. Prior to 2011 Children’s Services could not be greater than 90 places, this is now unlimited as long as new services meet all space requirements within the regulation and receive an approved Development Application via their local council.

Facilities and Equipment

Key changes in the amendments to the regulation are that cots may comply with AS/NZ Standard 2172: 2010, Cots for household use-safety requirements or AS/NZ Standard 2195: 2010. The previous standard was set in 2003. Most services will have cots that comply with the 2003 standards this is still acceptable and you will be compliant. Any new services from 1st January 2011 will need to comply with the amended regulation.

First aids kits are to be suitably equipped and well stocked; First aid kits no longer need to meet work cover approval.

Records of testing fire equipment are to be maintained for two years. The information that is to be kept is the date and the person who carried out the fire testing. A suggestion is to keep these records with your fire drill records or in a file that is easily accessible. Don’t file these away under your invoices that end up being archived, as you will not be able to get your hands on these records easily and the last thing you want to do is be stressed and in a panic looking for such records on a Department visit.

1: 4 Ratio

The 1:4 ratio came into affect on 1st January 2011 as part of the amendments in the regulation. This means one staff for every four babies or part thereof.

All services are mandated to comply with all amendments of the regulations from the day they came into affect which was 1st January 2011 including the 1:4 ratio. Succeed was confident that this amendment would come through and had the pleasure of assisting many centres last year in preparation for the 1:4 ratio.

If you are still struggling and need a cost analysis; don’t hesitate to contact Succeed Consultancy for assistance. It’s never too late to get it right…

The cap of 60; 2-5 year olds is lifted and there in now no limit of children attending the service in this age bracket, remember The chips are placed to the right side of the online roulette table, in one of the three boxes labelled "2 to 1". if you feel your service can

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increase numbers more than what you are currently licensed for you will need to submit an “application for variation of children’s service license”.

The cap for 0-2 year’s olds is lifted from 30 to 40. Children in this age bracket must be supervised in groups of not more then 12; this has been increased from 10. This means you can still have greater then 12 babies in one room; however they must be supervised in groups of no more than 12. Need help in clarification or are confused just ring Succeed Consultancy…

Operational Requirements

With unfortunate tragedies in the industry and the latest occurring in Family Day Care with a child drowning, there has been an amendment to excursions in the regulations. This is that excursions must have had a risk assessment carried out prior to any excursion taking place. The risk assessment is exactly the same actions we do daily in respect to our OHS obligations; use your OHS hazard matrix to complete the below risk assessment.

1. Identify the hazard
2. Assess the risk
3. Eliminate or control the risk
4. Judge how dangerous the risk may be
5. Identify how serious someone could be affected
6. Identify how likely the risk is to occur

Policies

There has been no changes to the policies that are required under the regulation; however you must develop, maintain and implement these policies. A new word has been added into the regulation and this is “implement”.

You now need to demonstrate that you are implementing the required policies and this includes all your staff. It is not good enough for licensing anymore to have the policies in place. A sad fact that most centre’s policies sit on a shelf, the Director or manager updates them when validation is looming and generally staff don’t even know where the policies are kept in the centre let alone know and implement the content of these.

A few tips to assist you and your team ensuring you are implementing your policies

• Get all staff to read and sign off each and every policy every year, the beginning of the year is a good time.
• Ensure all new staff including casuals read and sign off on the centre policies prior to commencing as part of the induction process.
• Really get your staff and families involved with policy review, do not simply update these yourself and pretend everyone was involved in the process.
• Have policies down as a static agenda item for your monthly staff meeting.
• Role play appropriate policies in your staff meetings e.g. food handling, nappy change, interactions etc. Make it fun and interactive!
• Do tests at staff meetings either verbally or written on your policies, give a small prize for the staff or room who demonstrate the most policy knowledge.

Compliance Notices

A person who has been served a compliance notice may request a review of the compliance notice through the Director-General. Penalty notices may be issued for failure to comply with a compliance notice. This is new in the regulation and is around the regulations not being met or “breached” as the industry knows.

Remember the amendments to the Children’s Service Regulation are the law!
If you don’t implement the regulations you will be breaking the law…

National Quality Framework Summary on Staff to Child Ratios

Staff: Child Ratios

Age Group Staff to Child Ratio Implementation Date

Birth to 24 months 1 staff member to 4 children 1 January 2012
25 to 35 months 1 staff member to 5 children 1 January 2016
36 months to school age 1 staff member to 11 children 1 January 2016
Mixed age groups A proportional formula will be 1 January 2012
applied based on the above ratios

1. A staff-to-child ratio of 1:4 for children 25 to 35 months will be retained in Victoria where this ratio currently applies, instead of 1:5 under the National Quality Standard.
2. A staff-to-child ratio of 1:10 for children 36 months to school age will be retained in New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania where this ratio currently applies, instead of 1:11 under the National Quality Standard.

Proudly brought to you by industry expert; Erin Allen from Succeed Consultancy.
Email:
enquiries@succeedconsultancy.com.au

Erin Allen
Managing Director
Succeed Consultancy.
Phone us on: 1300 077 248
Or visit us at: www.succeedconsultancy.com.au

Date: January 2011

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