Policy and Procedures are an integral part of the documentation that is required to meet legislative requirements. They prevent uncertainty about how particular situations are handled and support staff to understand their roles and responsibilities.
What is a Policy?
A policy describes the guideline or rule to be followed. A policy states your agreed beliefs on a range of topics relating to the service provided, gives a framework for decision making and ensures consistent practice.
What is a Procedure?
A policy details the action to be taken to address the policy and outlines the implementation process. It facilitates decision making, provides consistency and independence and enhances effective management and teamwork.
Why are Policies and Procedures Important?
Policies and procedures are important in Education and Care settings because they:
- are a legal requirement under the National Quality Framework.
- identify and minimise risks.
- establish the service as a professional and effective organisation.
- enable consistent practice to support staff, families and children.
- provide information for families to prevent uncertainty about how particular situations are handled in the Service. For example, if behaviour guidance differs between home and the Service, families understand the Service’s practices.
- Support staff to understand their role and responsibilities in the Service. This can be particularly useful for new and recently qualified staff members and leads to more efficient and effective service delivery.
- Provide ongoing working documents to guide high-quality practice across all aspects of service provision.
Policies in the Educations and Care Service National Regulations
Approved providers of centre based services and family day care services must ensure that the service follows the policies and procedures required under the regulations 168 and regulation 169 - 170.
Required policies and procedures for all service types:
Health and Safety, including matters relating to:
- nutrition, food and beverages, dietary requirements; and
- sun protection
- water safety, including safety during any water-based activities; and
- the administration of first aid; and
- sleep and rest for children;
Incident, Injury, Trauma and Illness Procedures, including:
- dealing with infectious diseases
- dealing with medical conditions in children
- emergency and evacuation
- delivery of children to, and collection of children from, education and care service premises
- a code of conduct for staff members; and
- determining the responsible person present at the service; and
- the participation of volunteers and students on practicum placements
Policies and Procedures, relating to:
- excursions, including procedures
- providing a child safe environment
- interactions with children
- enrolment and orientation
- governance and management of the service, including confidentiality of records
- the acceptance and refusal of authorisations
- payment of fees and provision of a statement of fees charged by the education and care service;
- dealing with complaints
Additional Policies and Procedures—family day care service
In addition to the policies and procedures set out in regulation 168, the approved provider of a family day care service must ensure that the family day care service has in place policies and procedures in relation to the matters set out in the following:
- assessment of proposed family day care venues and proposed family day care residences and reassessment of approved family day care venues and family day care residences,
- engagement or registration of family day care educators;
- keeping of a register of family day care educators, family day care co-ordinators and family day care educator assistants
- monitoring, support and supervision of family day care educators, including how the service will manage educators at remote locations;
- assessment of family day care educators, family day care educator assistants and persons residing at family day care residences,
- visitors to family day care residences and venues while education and care is being provided to children as part of a family day care service;
- the provision of information, assistance and training to family day care educators;
- the engagement or registration of family day care educator assistants.
Policies and Procedures To Be Followed
- The approved provider of a centre-based service must take reasonable steps to ensure that nominated supervisors and staff members of, and volunteers at, the service follow the policies and procedures required.
- The approved provider of a family day care service must take reasonable steps to ensure that nominated supervisors and staff members of, and family day care educators engaged by or registered with, the service follow the policies and procedures required.
Policies and procedures To Be Kept Available
- The approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that copies of the current policies and procedures required under regulation 168 and, in the case of a family day care service are readily accessible to nominated supervisors and staff members of, volunteers at, and family day care educators engaged by or registered with, the service.
- The approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that copies of the current policies and procedures required under regulation 168 and, in the case of a family day care service, are available for inspection at the education and care service premises at all times that the service is educating and caring for children or otherwise on request.
Notification Of Change To Policies or Procedures
The approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that parents of children enrolled at the service are notified at least 14 days before making any change to a policy or procedure that may have a significant impact on—
- the service’s provision of education and care to any child enrolled at the service; or
- the family’s ability to utilise the service
The approved provider of an education and care service must ensure that parents of children enrolled at the service are notified at least 14 days before making any change that will affect the fees charged or the way in which fees are collected.
If the approved provider considers that the notice period would pose a risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of any child enrolled at the service, the approved provider must ensure that parents of children enrolled at the service are notified as soon as practicable after making a change.
It is important that all Educators know and understand your policies and procedures, put them into practice and can describe them effectively for families. Ensuring that the whole staff team understand your policy framework underpins the provision of high quality inclusive early education and care.
Note: This is to be used as a general guideline only, please refer to the Educational ansd Service National Regulations, Chapter 4 Part 4.7 Division 2 for more detailed information.
Education and Care Services National Regulations, Division 2 Policies and procedures, NSW Government, NSW Legislation, Current Version 1 July 2018.
Developing and Updating Policies Successfully, PSC National Alliance