Operational Policy Manual for regulatory authorities

This manual is designed to help authorised officers and regulatory authorities apply the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations consistently.

The manual is not legal advice and should be read in conjunction with the National Law and Regulations, which take precedence over any guidance in the manual.

Within the manual are references and links to other resources which may be helpful. These are suggested resources and are not endorsed by ACECQA and regulatory authorities.

Please do not print this manual. It has been designed as an online document and will be regularly updated. A list of changes to the manual since October 2016 is available. 

Download your copy:

·       Full version of Operational Policy Manual

·       Individual chapters in the table below.

IntroductionGives a brief overview of the contents of the manual and how it is intended to be used

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Good regulatory practiceSets out the objectives of the National Law. It includes good practice regulation principles and the principles of administrative decision-making which regulatory authorities have agreed will guide their work.View chapter
Applications and approvalsProvides information about processing applications for provider approval, service approval, waivers and supervisor certificates. It also includes information about processing applications to use indoor space as outdoor space, and to include verandahs as indoor space.View chapter
Operational requirementsSets out the requirements for operating an education and care service, including the responsibilities of approved providers, nominated supervisors, and family day care educators. It includes guidance for regulatory authorities to help determine whether operational requirements are being complied with.View chapter
Monitoring, compliance and enforcementProvides information and guidance about monitoring for compliance with the National Law and Regulations. It also includes guidance about using the compliance tools and powers available under the legislation.View chapter
FeesDescribes fees payable to regulatory authorities.View chapter
ReviewsProvides information about decisions that are subject to internal review by the regulatory authority, or external review by a court or tribunal. It also provides broad guidance about administrative review by an Ombudsman, and a person’s right to judicial review.View chapter

Assessment and Rating

Provides information about the assessment and rating process.

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Defines key terms used in this manual.

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Appendix One

Family Day Care Protocol

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Changes to the Operational Policy Manual for Regulatory Authorities
This manual is regularly updated with additional advice and improved guidance.

Changes to the manual since October 2016 are recorded below.


Change dateChapterSection/sSummary of changeParagraphs affected
Oct-16Chapter C: Application and Approvals1. Provider approvalUpdate to details of the National Personal Insolvency Index Update to paragraph 1.42
Oct-16Chapter C: Applications and Approvals2. Service approvalNew information about management companies engaged by an approved provider.New paragraphs 2.52-2.58
Oct-16Chapter H: Assessment and Rating8. Review of service rating against the National Quality Standard (‘first tier review’)A link to a new template: Sample First Tier Review Decision Notice, which may assist regulatory authorities during the first tier review process.Update to paragraph 8.17
Nov-16Chapter D: Operational Requirements2. Children’s health and safetyNew guidance for the management of firearms in family day care services.Update to paragraph 2.12 and new paragraphs 2.14-2.17.

Chapter H: Assessment and Rating

2. Frequency of the assessment and rating cycle

Update to guidance on the assessment and rating cycle.

Update to paragraphs 2.1- 2.2 and new paragraphs 2.3-2.4.


Please do not print this manual. It has been designed as an online resource and will be regularly updated.