Incidents and complaints

This page outlines the regulatory requirements for approved providers to notify the Department, as the Regulatory Authority, of:

  • serious incidents
  • any circumstance arising at the service that poses a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child or children attending the service
  • any incident where the approved provider reasonably believes that physical and/or sexual abuse of a child has occurred or is occurring while the child is being educated and cared for by the service
  • any allegation that sexual or physical abuse of a child has occurred or is occurring while the child is being educated and cared for by the service
  • complaints that allege a serious incident has occurred or is occurring while a child was or is being educated and cared for by the approved education and care service or alleging the National Law or National Regulations have been contravened.

In addition, approved providers must take reasonable steps to ensure that these incidents and complaints are adequately addressed.

Notification requirements

The notification requirements are outlined in the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations).

The following table provides an outline of these notification requirements:

​References​Type of notification​Timeframe
​Section 174(2)(a)​Serious incident​In writing within 24 hours of the incident or the time the person becomes aware of the incident
Regulation 176(2)(a)
​Section 174(2)(b)Complaints alleging that a serious incident has occurred or is occurring while a child was or is being educated and cared for by the approved education and care service, or that the National Law has been contravened ​In writing within 24 hours of the complaint
Regulation 176(2)(a)
​Section 174(2)(c)
Regulation 175(2)(c)
Circumstance at the service that poses a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child or children attending the service.
​Within 7 days of the relevant event or within 7 days of the approved provider becoming aware of the relevant information
Regulation 176(2)(c)
​Section 172(2)(c)
Regulations 175(2)(d) and (e)

Incidents where the approved provider reasonably believes that physical abuse or sexual abuse of a child or children has occurred or is occurring while the child is or the children are being educated and cared for by the education and care service.  ​

Allegations that physical or sexual abuse of a child or children has occurred or is occurring while the child is or the children are being educated and cared for by the education and care service (other than an allegation of a complaint alleging a serious incident or the National Law and/or the National Regulations has been contravened).

​Within 7 days of the relevant event or within 7 days of the approved provider becoming aware of the relevant information.

Regulation 176(2)(c)

Any person can complain directly to the Quality Assessment and Regulation Division.

Serious incidents

A serious incident includes (defined in regulation 12):

  • the death of a child while being educated and cared for by the education and care service or following an incident occurring while being educated and cared for by an education and care service
  • any incident involving serious injury or trauma to, or illness of, a child while being educated and cared for by an education and care service which a reasonable person would consider required urgent medical attention from a registered medical practitioner; or for which the child attended, or ought reasonably to have attended, a hospital
  • any emergency for which emergency services attended 
  • any circumstance where a child being educated and cared for by the service:
    • appears to be missing or cannot be accounted for
    • appears to have been taken or removed from the service premises in a manner that contravenes the National Regulations
    • is mistakenly locked in or out of the service premises or any part of the premises.

More information on serious incidents can be found in the Guide to the National Quality Framework.

Complaints

An approved provider must notify the Department of any complaints alleging that:

  • a serious incident has occurred or is occurring while a child was or is being educated and cared for by the approved education and care service; or
  • the National Law and/or National Regulations have been contravened.

Direct complaints can also be made to the Department by anyone other than the approved provider.

More information on complaints can be found in the Guide to the National Quality Framework.

Circumstances that pose a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child

There are specific circumstances that the approved provider must notify the Department of, including:

  • occurrences of problem sexual behaviour between children ;
  • where children are being, or may be at risk of being subjected to, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, including instances where children are observed displaying concerning behaviour that may indicate they are being subjected to abuse;
  • occurrence of inappropriate discipline (section 166);
  • where the service premises is in a state of disrepair or there has been a natural disaster, such as flooding, which has damaged the premises in such a way that it poses a risk to children.

Incidents and allegations of physical and sexual abuse

Approved providers must report incidents and allegations of physical and sexual abuse of a child that occurs at the service to the Department (regulation 175(2)(d) and 175(2)(e)).

  • Incidents where the approved provider reasonably believes that physical abuse or sexual abuse of a child or children has occurred or is occurring while the child is or the children are being educated and cared for by the education and care service.
  • Allegations that physical or sexual abuse of a child or children has occurred or is occurring while the child is or the children are being educated and cared for by the education and care service (other than an allegation of a complaint alleging a serious incident or the National Law and/or the National Regulations has been contravened).

These notifications are only required where the incident or allegation relates to a child or children being educated and cared for by the service.

Reporting requirements for education and care services

Current reporting requirements for early childhood education and care services are outlined in: Reporting requirements for early childhood services (docx - 92.09kb)

Notification requirements include to:

  • the Regulatory Authority (Quality Assessment and Regulation Division)
  • Child Protection
  • Victoria Police
  • the Commission for Children and Young People
  • the Victorian Institute of Teaching.

Notifying the Department of an incident or complaint

Notification of incidents and complaints should be submitted online by the Approve Provider via the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS).

For more information, see ACECQA.

Family day care educator requirements

Family day care educators must notify their approved provider of:

  • a serious incident
  • any complaint alleging a serious incident has occurred or is occurring at the service
  • any complaint alleging the National Law or National Regulations have been contravened.
  • information in respect of any other prescribed matters.

There are no legislated timeframes for educators to notify approved providers. Approved providers must comply with timeframes to notify the Department.

Investigation of incidents or complaints

The Department may investigate notifications of incidents or complaints.

There are some instances where a detailed investigation may not be required, such as where:

  • there is minimal or no impact on the safety, health and wellbeing of a child or children being educated and cared for by the service
  • there has not been a contravention of the National Law and/or National Regulations.

In these instances the notification will be recorded against the service record and no further action taken.

Examples of notifications that may not be investigated by the Department include where:

  • routine medical attention is provided by a qualified staff member for a small cut after a child trips over their own feet. Parents are appropriately notified of the injury.
  • medical attention is provided by a registered medical practitioner after a child known to have epilepsy has an epileptic seizure. Parents of the child are notified, management plans followed and relevant authorisations are in place.
  • emergency services are called to the service following an altercation between parents of children who attend the service, at the service.

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