Review of child care National Quality Framework performance underway
- Assistant Minister for Education
The first major review of the child care National Quality Framework (NQF) is underway to measure whether it is delivering on its objective to reduce regulatory burden whilst also improving quality standards.
Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said the review could not have come at a better time, with the national regulator reporting the average ongoing cost of administering the NQF was $140,000 per year for a Long Day Care service with 75 places and 15 staff.
Ms Ley said this was the result of unnecessary red tape created by the previous Federal Labor Government’s poor implementation of the NQF.
She said the review included extensive public consultation and encouraged services, educators and parents to have their say before online submissions closed July 4 (visit http://www.woolcott.com.au/NQFReview/).
“The Abbott Government is committed to the National Quality Framework and its values, but we’re also committed to dealing with the mountains of unnecessary red tape caused by Labor’s botched implementation,” Ms Ley said.
“I hear from educators and services all the time who just want to get on with the important job of educating and caring for our children instead of being locked in an office filling out unnecessary paperwork
“The National Regulator also found 97 per cent of services consider the National Quality Framework to be a burden, with almost 80 per cent rating it significant.
“Labor promised the National Quality Framework would only increase fees by 57 cents per week, but the evidence suggests this is closer to $5-$20 per day.
“These additional costs from Labor’s red tape are ultimately passed on to parents in the form of higher fees. I have no doubt this is a major factor in child care fees skyrocketing an average of 53 per cent during Labor’s six years in government.
“However, it’s also important we hear about what is working to ensure we build on the good work undertaken by services and educators so far and reduce red tape without reducing the quality of child care and early learning.
“I therefore encourage everyone to get involved and share their ideas on how we can reduce red tape and improve quality further.”
Ms Ley said the review was a requirement of the National Partnership signed between the previous Federal Labor Government and the states and territories and was being undertaken in consultation with all parties.
She said the NQF review would examine whether the NQF had improved efficiency and cost of regulation of services and reduced regulatory burden.
It will also look at whether the new processes introduced via the NQF are delivering the quality objectives of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care, she said.
The NQF review will hand its final report to governments later this year and will be considered alongside the current Productivity Commission Inquiry into making child care more affordable, flexible and accessible.
The Abbott Government has also already begun working with the states territories to implement a number of measures to cut unnecessary NQF red tape impacting assessment and ratings, supervisor certificates, ratios and regional and rural areas.
OTHER KEY EXAMPLES OF NQF RED TAPE:
• a 43 per cent increase in the number of services needing staff waivers because they could not meet NQF qualification requirements;
• one-in-five services risk not being able to hire an early childhood teacher to meet the NQF’s mandatory requirement due to a major skills shortage;
• Only about a third of child care services have been assessed for a quality rating after two years, with just 12 months left to have all services rated at least once.
A report by national regulator the Australian Children’s Early Childhood Quality Authority (ACECQA) also found services considered the following NQF activities as the most burdensome:
• Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs) (31 per cent)
• Documenting children’s learning (34 per cent)
• Notifications (32 per cent)
• Maintaining policies and procedures (32 per cent)
• Keeping records (31 per cent)
The ACECQA report also found the ongoing cost of revising QIPs was $4835 per year, while report cards to “document children’s learning’’ cost $690 — and 22 hours of paperwork — for each child annually.
The ACECQA Report on the National Quality Framework and Regulatory Burden: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/report-on-cutting-nqf-red-tape-published_1.