Approvals and certificates

Supervisor certificates will no longer be required after 1 October 2017. For information about the changes, see: ACEQA

This fact sheet outlines the requirements for Victorian education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework (NQF).

The role of the Regulatory Authority   

Each state and territory has its own Regulatory Authority, in Victoria this is the Department of Education and Training. The Regulatory Authority has primary responsibility for the administration of the NQF including, but not limited to, the following:

  • issuing approvals and supervisor certificates
  • conducting assessment and rating visits
  • monitoring service compliance and enforcing the National Law
  • receiving and investigating complaints and notifications.

Display of information

Services yet to be assessed under the NQF are required to display a provisional rating certificate in accordance with the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) (section 172). The National Law (section 172) also prescribes information that must be displayed at the service including details of:    

  • the nominated supervisor 
  • the educational leader
  • the service approval
  • any service waivers or temporary waivers held by the service
  • the provider approval.

Associated services

The National Law contains provisions for associated services. Where a provider is operating a range of services at one location (for example, a preschool which must adhere to the National Law and an occasional care service to which the Children’s Services Act 1996 applies) only one service approval under the National Law is required. In this example, the occasional care service would be an associated service.

For more information, see: Operating an approved associated children’s service

The approval system under the National Quality Framework

The approval system comprises two inter-related approvals: provider approval and service approval. Once granted, approvals are ongoing unless suspended or surrendered by the approved provider or cancelled by the Regulatory Authority.

Provider approval

The Regulatory Authority will assess and grant provider approval to the legal entity and/or the person(s) with management or control that will operate the education and care service. Once granted, this approval will be nationally recognised and enable a provider to apply for service approval(s) in any Australian state or territory.

An applicant for provider approval must (section 11):

  • apply in the jurisdiction in which they ordinarily reside (or in the case of an entity, where the principal office is located)
  • provide prescribed information set out in regulation 14 and regulation 15 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) and any other information requested by the Regulatory Authority under section 14 of the National Law
  • pay the prescribed fee.

Fit and proper person requirements:

The applicant of a provider approval must meet fitness and propriety requirements, which include the following:

  • if an applicant for provider approval is an individual they must satisfy the Regulatory Authority they are a fit and proper person (section 12(1))
  • if the applicant is not an individual (for example a company or incorporated association), the Regulatory Authority must be satisfied that the applicant and each person who will have management or control of the service is a fit and proper person (section12(2)).

In determining fitness and propriety, the Regulatory Authority must have regard to:   

  • history of compliance with any current and previous education and care services law or education law (section 13(1)(a))
  • working with children check (regulation 16)
  • criminal history record check (regulation 16)
  • whether a person is bankrupt or insolvent (section 13(d)).

In determining fitness and propriety, the Regulatory Authority may have regard to (section 13(2)):

  • information relating to medical conditions
  • other financial circumstances of the applicant
  • management capability to operate a service.

When assessing fitness and propriety, the Regulatory Authority may undertake inquiries in relation to that person and ask the applicant to provide further information (section 14).

For more information, see: Applying for provider approval - family day care     

Service approval

Service approval authorises an approved provider to operate an education and care service. There are two types of service approvals:

  • centre-based: where an assessment of premises and policies is required
  • family day care: where an assessment of the family day care service and their policies is required.

When applying for service approval, the approved provider must:

  • apply to the Regulatory Authority in the jurisdiction in which the service is located (section 44)
  • only apply for a service approval for an education and care service if the approved provider is or will be the operator of the education and care service and is or will be responsible for the management of the staff members and nominated supervisor of that service (section 43)
  • provide the information set out in regulations 24, 25 and 25A for centre based services and regulation 26 for family day care services.
  • nominate one or more individuals to be the nominated supervisor and include each person's written consent to the nomination (section 44(d))
  • pay the prescribed fee.

If a swimming pool or other water hazard is situated on the proposed centre based education and care service premises, a copy of the proposed water safety policy must be provided to the Regulatory Authority (regulation 25(1)(c)).

If a family day care service will permit a family day care residence or venue with a swimming pool or something that may constitute a water hazard, a copy of the service’s proposed water safety policy must be provided to the Regulatory Authority (regulation 26(1(1).

The Regulatory Authority may grant a service approval subject to conditions (section 51). The following conditions apply to all education and care services and include:   

  • the service must be operated in a way that ensures the safety, health and wellbeing of the children being educated and cared for at the service
  • the service must meet the educational and developmental needs of each child
  • the service must commence operation within six month of being granted service approval
  • the service must hold the prescribed insurance (regulation 29 and regulation 30)
  • the approved provider must ensure a current ‘quality improvement plan’ is kept at the service and is made available upon request to the Regulatory Authority and/or parents of a child enrolled at the service (regulation 31).

Family day care service approval is subject to additional conditions under section 51(2) of the National Law. The approved provider must ensure that:

  • sufficient persons are appointed as family day care co-ordinators to monitor and support the family day care educators; and
  • each family day care educator is adequately supported by a family day care co-ordinator.   

In Victoria the following conditions are imposed on all family day care service approvals;

  • the approved provider must identify family day care educators operating in a family day care residence or approved family day care venue in Victoria at particular risk of bushfire and ensure that these family day care educators do not operate on a declared Code Red day in their Bureau of Meteorology district.
  • where a family day care residence or approved family day care venue is identified as being at particular risk of bushfire, policies and procedures relating to emergency and evacuation must incorporate policies and procedures for monitoring bushfire risks and informing families of service closures resulting from bushfire risks.

Responsible persons

A responsible person must be present at all times a centre-based service is educating and caring for children. A responsible person can be one of the following (section 162):

  • the approved provider or a person with management or control of the provider if the approved provider is not an individual
  • the nominated supervisor of the service
  • a person in day-to-day charge of service.

The approved provider of a family day care service must ensure a support person is available at all times that the service is delivering education and care (section 164).

A support person can be:

  • the approved provider, or a person with management or control of the family day care service, if the approved provider is not an individual
  • the nominated supervisor of the service
  • a person in day-to-day charge of the family day care service.

The support person may provide support to family day care educators by phone.

Nominated supervisors and persons in day-to-day charge

The approved provider must not operate a service without at least one nominated supervisor for that service (section 161). The nominated supervisor must meet minimum requirements (section 161A) and consent to be nominated in their role in writing (regulations 24).

Similarly, a person in day-to-day charge must meet minimum requirements and consent to be placed in their role in writing (regulations 117B and 117A).

Minimum requirements include (regulations 117A and 117B):

  • be 18 years or above
  • have adequate knowledge and understanding of the provision of education and care
  • have the ability to effectively supervise and manage a service.

In relation to a nominated supervisor and person in day-to-day charge, the approved provider must have regard to their history of compliance with any current and previous education and care services law or education law.

All approved providers must keep a record in relation to each nominated supervisor and any persons in day-to-day charge of a service (regulation 177(1)(n)).

Working with children check requirements

In Victoria it is a requirement that the approved provider of an education and care service must read, or ensure that the nominated supervisor or person in day to day charge of the service has read a person’s working with children check (regulation 358) before that person becomes either:   

  • an educator at a service
  • a family day care educator
  • a volunteer at a service.

Approved providers must ensure the identifying number and expiry date of an individual working with children check, along with the date sighted are recorded in accordance with the following regulation:

  • centre-based services – regulations 146 and 147
  • family day care services – regulation 153 (register of family day care educators) and 154 (record a staff)

Limited exceptions to the requirement for a working with children check

If a working with children check cannot be issued to an employee or volunteer of an education and care service because of their age (for example, if they are under 18 years old), they are not required to have a working with children check. In this circumstance, the employee or volunteer must be under the immediate supervision of an educator who is over 18 years old (regulation 358(2) and (3).

Teachers registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) are not required to have a working with children check, The approved provider, nominated supervisor or person in day-to-day charge of the education and care service must ensure the VIT registration is current (regulation 358(4)).

Criminal history record check requirements

A ‘criminal history record check’ is a full disclosure of the Australia-wide criminal history of an individual, issued by a police force or other authority of a state or territory.   

The Regulatory Authority must have regard to any matters in a criminal history record check for applicants for provider approval (regulation 16).

An approved provider of a Victorian family day care service must read, or ensure that the nominated supervisor or person in day to day charge of the service has read a person’s criminal history record check before that person is engaged or registered as a family day care educator (regulation 359).   

The fee structure

The fee structure provides certainty for services, sets a nationally consistent fee structure and streamlines all fees to make it simpler and easier for services.   

Fees can be grouped into two categories:

  • the annual fee, applies to all services regulation under the National Quality Framework and is payable by 1 July each year
  • transaction fees, individual fees that apply to specific transactions, e.g. application for a service approval.

For more information, see: ACECQA

More information

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority is the national, independent statutory authority governing the National Quality Framework.
Phone: 1300 422 327
Email: enquiries@acecqa.gov.au  
Web: ACECQA

The Department of Education and Training is the Regulatory Authority in Victoria.
Phone: 1300 307 415
Email: licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au  
Web: Regulation and Quality Assessment