Child care supervisors relieved of red tape

Media Release
  • Assistant Minister for Education

Child care supervisors will be given relief from Labor red tape that is seeing some wait over a year for a certificate permitting them to continue doing their job.

Federal Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley and her state and territory counterparts have all agreed to remove the requirement for child care services to apply for supervisor certificates to cover staff employed in management, leadership or supervisor positions. This also removes the need to pay a $30 application fee.

Ms Ley said the decision followed a report into cutting child care red tape by the national regulator ACECQA, which found the certificate process was “slow, inefficient and inconsistent” and recommended compliance and delay costs be reduced:

“Given that services are required to have at least one certified supervisor on the premises at all times, these delays have put significant strain on some services and staff… Some of the services interviewed reported waiting over a year for individual certificates to be issued,” the report said.

Supervisor certificates were a brand new requirement introduced under the previous Labor government as part of the National Quality Framework and require at least one staff member with an approved certificate to be onsite at all times. This meant services had to lodge individual applications at $30 each on behalf of any staff they required to act as supervisors, even if they were already employed as supervisors.

Ms Ley said this “common sense” decision would deliver a fair balance between reducing Labor’s excessive red tape and retaining high-quality education and care.

“This is about ensuring the objectives of the National Quality Framework are genuinely achievable and not lost under a mountain of paperwork,” Ms Ley said.

“The Coalition is committed to delivering more-affordable, accessible and flexible child care and cutting red tape will in turn reduce pressure on fees for parents. This is essential after long day care fees skyrocketed 50 per cent under Labor.”

Ms Ley said it was another example of Labor “over-promising and under-delivering”.

“The result - states and territories are struggling with massive backlogs forcing child care services to wait up to a year for approval. It’s meant to take 90 days maximum.

“This means services have had to sideline experienced staff while they wait for their piece of paper to arrive or face operating outside the law, which generates serious cost and legal implications. It was a lose-lose; now it’s a win-win.”

Ms Ley said staff not employed in a supervisory role would still have to apply for a certificate if their service wanted the option for them to “step up”, however she said today’s announcement would help speed up the application process for them.

“This is another step in our plan to address the unnecessary Labor red tape strangling child care centres and state and territory governments alike.

“I’d like to thank the states and territories for their cooperation in addressing this issue and will continue to work with them to cut red tape.”

Ms Ley said today’s announcement would give child care centres relief while the Productivity Commission continued its Inquiry into the entire system.

The decision was made at Friday’s Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood and accompanies an agreement to streamline the ratings and assessment process for child care services.

The changes will come into effect June 1 2014.

Other Key Quotes from the ACECQA Report:

  • “The process of applying for supervisor certificates was one of the most commonly cited areas of difficulty.” (p216)
  • “Services reported that the approval process at present is slow, inefficient and inconsistent.” (p216)
  • “Although completing the forms themselves was not burdensome, most services noted severe costs associated with inefficiencies and errors at the authority level, particularly with regard to supervisor certificates.” (p20)
  • “…the regulatory authorities in the jurisdictions examined have been unable to process these applications in a sufficiently timely manner.” (p217)
  • “In one of the regional services surveyed, following the resignation of two supervisors, one director was forced to remain in the service for 11 hours daily while she waited for other educator applications to be approved.” (p217)
  • “(Heading) Benefits of removing operational impediments: Reduce compliance and delay costs associated with supervisor certificates.” (p273)

A copy of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority Report on cutting National Quality Framework red tape is available here.

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