Page 723 - Week 02 - Thursday, 20 February 2020

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(5) Are any checks or assessments in the ACT completed in between the issuance of published ratings; if so, what and how frequently.

(6) What is the exact nature of the Regulatory Authority’s oversight between updates to a provider’s ratings.

(7) If an issue arises in the period between when ratings are issued but is solved before a ratings update, would clients of a childcare centre know about this in any way.

(8) Does any legislation, regulation or policy govern the lodgement and/or release of bonds paid to childcare providers as the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 governs the lodgement and release of rental bonds.

Ms Berry: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The Early Childhood Strategy for the ACT will be released in the coming months.

(2) Under the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011 (The National Law) early childhood education and care services establish their own policies and it is at the provider’s discretion as to the content within these policies. However, providers are not able to include anything in their policy that is a breach, or would support a breach, of any law.

(3) Sections 227 and 228 of the National Regulations are currently under consideration in the National Quality Framework Review. This review will consider current approaches to publishing compliance and enforcement actions across Australia, the impacts of making this information publicly available, and opportunities for greater consistency between jurisdictions on this issue.

(4) Authorised officers from within the ACT Regulatory Authority conduct a risk assessment to determine the schedule of Assessment and Rating cycle. Further details about the Assessment and Rating process are outlined on pages 216-218 of the Education Directorate Annual Report 2018-2019 (the Annual Report).

(5) As well as Assessment and Rating the ACT Regulatory Authority conducts compliance audits, risk assessment audits and investigations. These functions are outlined in pages 216–220 of the Annual Report.

(6) Please refer to pages 216-220 of the Annual Report.

(7) The ACT Regulatory Authority has a range of powers in responding to breaches of the National Law. The National Law is focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of children, their developmental outcomes and the quality of service provision. Decisions to communicate information regarding compliance action to families, or to direct a provider to communicate information to families, are made on a case by case basis. As noted in response to question 3 the publication of compliance and enforcement actions is under consideration in the National Quality Framework Review.

(8) The keeping of bonds by early childhood education and care services is a contractual arrangement between services and families. Issues related to contracts between consumers and providers fall within the scope of Australian Consumer Law (ACT) (the ACL) which is regulated by the Fair Trading and Compliance team in Access Canberra. The ACL provides protection for consumers in the Territory. While the

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