1. Monitoring

1.1 What is monitoring?

Monitoring is a proactive way of assessing and influencing compliance with the National Law and Regulations. Monitoring activities can provide a strong incentive for providers to comply with their regulatory obligations and to improve the quality of education and care at their services.

Monitoring is a compliance tool regulatory authorities may apply to an individual person, a single service or service type as part of deciding whether further regulatory action is needed.

Regulatory authorities maintain oversight of providers and their services in a variety of ways to assess and promote compliance with the National Law and Regulations. These may include physical visits, interviews, phone calls, emails, video conferences, etc.

All of these forms of activity provide regulatory authorities with information about the quality of education and care provided to children, interactions with families and compliance. 

All types of visits may be organised at short notice or without notice and may focus on any aspect of service delivery under the NQF.

The form of activity is chosen by regulators based on an assessment of risk and the purpose of the contact, and may include a compliance visit, a partial assessment and rating, a full assessment and rating, or other regulatory activities.

There are several forms of monitoring activities, set out in the table below.

Monitoring activities




Targeted campaigns

Monitoring for a specific compliance issue, location or service type.

Encourages providers and others to ensure they are complying with a specific issue of concern to the regulatory authority. Focuses the regulatory authority’s resources on addressing a specific problem.

Assessment and rating

The process of assessing and rating a service against the NQS, including by conducting a service visit, interviews, phone calls, emails and video conferences.

Encourages continuous improvement by engaging the approved provider and the service in a process of self-evaluation, as well as providing a detailed report of their performance against the NQS.

Short notice or unannounced visits

Visiting services without prior notice or on short notice.

Encourages providers and others to comply with their obligations at all times.  Short notice or unannounced visits are particularly useful when there is reason to believe the provider may be non-compliant and misrepresenting its self-reported data, or is likely to destroy evidence if an inspection is organised with a longer lead in time.

Providers are expected to maintain quality practices at all times, and assessment and rating visits with short notice provide a more accurate picture of usual service quality.

Longer notice visits

Visiting services with greater prior notice.

Encourages providers and others to comply with their obligations and provides preparation time for compliance visits, for example, ensuring certain paperwork is readily available or particular staff members are present. Also facilitates logistical arrangements (such as organising travel) and relevant cultural considerations. 

Choosing a monitoring activity

Regulatory authorities determine the frequency and focus of monitoring activities based on risk and with reference to the principle of earned autonomy (see Good Regulatory Practice for more information about these concepts).

To help assess risk, regulatory authorities may need to collect and analyse information about a service or a service type. Some of the sources of information to assess risk are set out in the table below. Many will come from existing regulatory actions.

Sources of information to help assess risk

The service’s quality improvement plan

The provider and the service’s history of compliance

The service’s quality rating

Characteristics of the provider (length of time in the industry, service types, etc.)

Information obtained from other sources, such as complaints or notifications

Information gathered from other monitoring activities or regulatory activities, including investigations

Analysis of broader sector or regional compliance trends

Other regulatory systems with relevant or overlapping requirements and/or compliance monitoring.

Regulatory authorities should obtain the required information at the least possible cost or burden to the regulatory authority and the service provider.

Regulatory authorities must comply with the National Law when undertaking any monitoring activities (see Powers of authorised officers and Powers of regulatory authorities).

Intelligence gathered through monitoring activities may lead to further compliance action. This information can also be used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, concerns, map sector development and understand broader regulatory trends or issues.