Frequently asked questions
What powers do authorised officers have?
One of the key powers Authorised Officers are given is the power to enter the premises of an education and care service at any reasonable time, with or without the consent of the occupier of the premises, where they reasonably suspect that an offence may have been or may be being committed against the National Law or Regulations (section 199).
Under the National Law the Department has a number of functions:
- monitoring compliance with the National Law and National Regulations
- undertaking assessments and ratings of education and care services
- investigating offences that may have been committed against the National Law and National Regulations.
In order to undertake these functions Department officers may be appointed Authorised Officers under the National Law. The National Law gives Authorised Officers a number of powers (under Part 9, National Law). Authorised Officers are located in four regions.
What are they authorised to do while at an education and care service?
When entering services under s199 (for investigations), Authorised Officers are given authority, amongst other things, to:
- search the premises
- inspect the premises or anything at it
- photograph or film, or make audio recordings of, any part of the premises or anything at the premises
- copy, or take an extract from, a document, at the premises
- require a person at the premises to give the Authorised Officer information to help the authorised officer in conducting the investigation
A similar power of entry to services exists for the purposes of monitoring compliance and undertaking rating assessments (section 197). Powers of entry are slightly modified in the context of a residence.
What happens if authorised officers are prevented from exercising these powers?
In order to support Authorised Officers exercising their powers under the National Law, a number of offence provisions exist, including:
- Offence to obstruct Authorised Officer (section 207)
- Offence to fail to assist authorised officer (section 208)
- Offence to destroy or damage notices or documents (section 209)
- Offence to give Authorised Officer false or misleading information or documents (section 295)