Most educators and services working in Early Learning are aware of the tragic incidents that have occurred in centres offering Transportation for children. Incidents have occurred where children have been left unattended in parked vehicles and/or educators were unaware if a child had been in the vehicle following the child not arriving at the service.
In response to safety risks to children using centre based transportation services to leave or arrive in care, new transportation requirements will come into effect from 1 March 2023. These are changes have been applied to the Education and Care Services National Regulations which support the National Law.
In response, Butler Diaries has included a Transportation Log to support you in meeting these new transportation requirements.
The Purpose of the Changes to Transportation Requirements
The changes to Transportation Requirements are designed to outline the responsibility of approved service providers, nominated supervisors, educators, and drivers of centre based education and care services who are providing or arranging transport for children. The changes describe specific steps that need to be taken to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children during transportation to or from vehicles, services, or other premises.
The National Quality Framework Review identified in addition to existing ratios and risk assessment requirements, further steps were needed to protect children.
Who Do these Changes Impact?
These changes apply to centre-based services including;
- Approved Providers,
- FDC Coordinators,
- Nominated Supervisors,
- Educators and Staff, and
Your Responsibility as Approved Provider and Nominated Supervisor
Any centre based services that offer Transportation regularly for children in their care will have additional responsibilities under the new requirements. Approved providers and nominated supervisors must:
- Ensure an additional staff member or nominated supervisor who IS NOT the driver accounts for children that enter or leave the vehicle at a centre based education and care service and records must be kept of children accounted for,
- Ensure records are kept confirming the inside of the vehicle was checked at the centre based education and care service after all children exited to confirm no children remain inside the vehicle,
- Notify the regulatory authority (this can be done through NQA ITS) when they commence providing or arranging regular transport and when they have been finished.
This means the staff member or nominated supervisor (other than the driver) must be present for embarkment and disembarkment, they must account for each child, and they must complete an interior check of the vehicle after children have exited to ensure no children remain inside the vehicle.
It is the responsibility of the service to ensure active supervision through an adequate number of educators or responsible adults involved in transportation, embarkment and disembarkment. For further safety recommendations, visit the resources at the bottom of this article.
What Additional Documentation is Needed to Comply Under the Transportation Requirements?
You will have to keep a record of:
- The staff member or nominated supervisor (who is not the driver) who was present for children accounted for as they enter or exit the service premises,
- The children accounted for as they enter or exit the service premises,
- How the children were accounted for at the service premises,
- The check of the inside of the vehicle to ensure no children remain after they have exited the vehicle, and
- The mandatory notification to the regulatory authority of commencement, arrangement, or discontinuing of regular transportation.
The records must be completed immediately at the time of transportation and must include:
- The time,
- Full name, and
of the person(s) responsible for accounting for children and conducting the vehicle check. We have developed the Transportation Log Book to help you meet your compliance requirements, you can view it here.
Your Mandatory Reporting Requirements
Service providers who are providing or arranging regular transportation MUST notify the regulatory authority. This reporting is mandatory from 1 March 2023 through the NQA IT System.
- The approved provider must notify the regulatory authority through a service approval application within 7 days of regular transportation being provided or arranged,
- If the service is already approved, the service must notify the regulatory authority within 7 days of regular transportation being provided or arranged,
- The approved providers must notify the regulatory authority within 7 days if regular transportation has been changed or has ceased.
What Else is Required for the new Transportation Requirements?
It is encouraged that approved service providers review and update their transportation policies and procedures to reflect the new requirements and comply with the new regulations.
The policies and procedures for regular transportation (regulation 168(2)(ga)) includes:
- Procedures that address requirements for risk assessments (regulations 102B and 102C),
- written authorisations (regulation 102D), and
- record keeping requirements (102E and 102F).
It is recommended that all services apply these requirements to all transportation including single trips.
When do the Transportation Requirements come into effect?
The new Transportation requirements for Centre Based services come into effect as of 1 March 2023.