There’s been a recent rise in the number of complaints received by ECE Centres and, according to a Ministry of Education report, a regulation overhaul is needed. Let's explore:
Complaints are normal in any business. But it doesn’t mean they're something you want to receive!
If you have seen an increase in the number of complaints received at your Centre then you're not alone.
Concerns and official complaints about early childhood centres have been steadily increasing in recent years. The 2019 annual report from the Ministry of Education shows a 26% increase in the last year alone.
Of the 430 complaints made last year:
- Over half (221) were upheld and 73 of these upheld complaints were specific to H&S matters. These included complaints about hazard management and safe food practices.
- 5 services lost their licences due to complaints about child safety.
- 6 services had licences suspended, and another 34 were put on provisional licenses.
What Do All These Complaints Mean?
Political and media interest in early childhood Health & Safety has increased as a result of these climbing statistics. A new independent report for the Ministry of Education was released in July 2019 which has found that out-of-date regulations are prohibiting quality and Health & Safety in early childhood centres. The regulations have become outdated following the increase of children entering early childcare (and often at younger ages), as well as the larger centre sizes and the more complex nature of some services.
The report contained a suite of recommendations for the Ministry to consider, including:
- Ensuring all centre staff who are responsible for complaint and incident reporting have proper training for identifying risks
- Ensuring responses to complaints are consistent across different Ministry offices
- Considering using the existing power of unannounced visits as part of monitoring and evaluating centres that have consistent poor performance.
The report also urged faster responses to serious complaints, including closing centres while they are subject to a serious complaint investigation. It also acknowledged that suspending a licence during an investigation could prevent children accessing education, creating work and pressure for staff who would have to find other services for the children to attend.
A Change In Regulations?
Following the release of the report, the Ministry of Education has stated that it is acting on all of the recommendations made. This includes a review of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. There is sure to be a lot more activity and change in this space in the near future, which could also mean changes to compliance and Health & Safety requirements.
A Lifeline For You
Our CloudmyCentre software is an industry leader in cloud-based Health & Safety management. Our tools have been developed alongside Health & Safety and early learning professionals. This makes CloudmyCentre a trusted compliance and record management system.
With CloudmyCentre you can use real data and information to identify health and safety and human resourcing issues that require resolving. We also offer a range of training options for staff so that everybody can be properly informed about the health and safety framework and requirements. Training can be delivered by online video, onsite training seminars, or as printable documents for people to learn at their own pace.
In this time of pending change, it is important to remain informed so that your centre is future-proofed for legislative compliance. No matter what the requirements are, CloudmyCentre will be ready, willing, and able to help!
If you are interested in knowing more about how CloudmyCentre could work at your facility Click here to find out more about it now.