Changes to the National Quality Framework – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the changes and how will they affect me?

Changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF) were made following consultation with the sector as part of a broader review of the NQF.

Key changes include:

  • A revised National Quality Standard (NQS) to strengthen quality through greater clarity by removing conceptual overlap between elements and standards, clarifying language and reducing the number of standards and elements from 18 standards to 15, and 58 to 40 elements.
  • Improved oversight and support within Family Day Care to achieve better compliance and quality across the whole sector.
  • Removing supervisor certificate requirements so service providers have more autonomy in deciding who can be the responsible person in each service, and to reduce red tape.
  • Introduction of a national educator to child ratio of 1:15 for services providing education and care to school age children. Transitional arrangements and saving provisions apply in some states and territories.

Why was a review of the National Partnership Agreement conducted?

Under the 2009 National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda governments committed to review the National Quality Framework (NQF) to ensure the objectives and goals of the NQF are being met in the most efficient and effective way. 

The review also focussed on improving the NQF to continue to drive quality outcomes for children while balancing the need to reduce red tape and unnecessary administrative burden for educators, approved providers and regulatory authorities. 

The review found the NQF is an important and successful reform with strong stakeholder support, and some technical and operational improvements are required after five years of operation. 


When do the changes come into effect?

After passage through the Victorian Parliament, legislative changes will come into effect:

  • 1 October 2017 – National Law and Regulations changes commence in all states and territories, except Western Australia. In Western Australia changes will commence by 1 October 2018 to allow for the legislation to pass through that parliament.
  • 1 February 2018 – Revised National Quality Standard commences in all states and territories, including Western Australia.

Some transitional and savings provisions apply, for example a 12 month transitional period will apply to NSW outside school hours care services to allow the sector time to prepare for the introduction of a 1:15 educator to child ratio. Visit your regulatory authority website for state and territory specific requirements.


Will there be more changes announced?

The Decision Regulation Impact Statement (Decision RIS) explains key changes to be made to the National Law and Regulations. You can find a summary of all decisions outlined in the Decision RIS . New and updated guidance materials and resources will be available to explain changes made to the National Law and Regulations.


How can I stay informed about the changes?

The best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to the ACECQA email newsletter and check your regulatory authority website.


What support and guidance will be developed?

All governments and ACECQA are committed to supporting the sector to understand and prepare for these changes. The ACECQA website has a summary of the changes and how they will impact education and care providers across all service types. This page will be updated as more information and guidance is developed over the coming months.

Authorised officer training and guidance materials will also be delivered to support regulatory authorities to implement these changes.


Our service hasn’t been rated yet; does this mean we won’t until the changes come into effect?

State and territory regulatory authorities will continue assessing and rating services up to and following the revised NQS starting in February 2018. Please contact your regulatory authority if you have any queries.


What happens if our assessment and rating visit takes place before 1 February 2018?

If a quality assessment visit takes place before 1 February 2018, the full assessment and rating process will be completed against the current NQS. Governments acknowledge it is likely that some assessments completed prior to 1 February 2018, with rating conducted against the current NQS, may be issued after 1 February 2018.


What happens if our assessment and rating visit takes place after 1 February 2018?

If a quality assessment visit takes place after 1 February 2018, it will be conducted against the revised NQS. 


Do we need to do another Quality Improvement Plan?

Services should maintain or develop their QIP in line with current legislative requirements until further guidance and information is released in September.


When will I have a copy of the National Law and Regulations?

The Education and Care Services National Law Amendment Act 2017 is available and can be read in conjunction with the current law.

Updated National Law and Regulations will be made available closer to 1 October 2017. You will be notified when these updates are made available.


Who do I talk to if I have questions?

The ACECQA website has a summary of the changes and how they will impact education and care providers across all service types, this page will be updated as more information and guidance is developed over the coming months.

You can also contact ACECQA or your state or territory regulatory authority.