Policy Review Routine

All tasks associated with the accuracy, relevance and delivery of your childcare service policies takes time…and a decent chunk of your sanity.

It’s one of those critical responsibilities that must be embraced – but – a multitude of priorities can get in the way of good planning so we decided help by providing our own monthly review process.

Here’s how it all works…

If you have just joined you’ll see that every policy within our library has been reviewed and updated during the previous year. We track this via a Policy Review Calendar…

  1. A selection of policies is scheduled for review each month. (As per the Policy Review Calendar)
  2. A regulation change will jump the queue otherwise we stick to the plan.
  3. During the first week of each month we research, review and update the documents. (2nd week in Jan)
  4. Any changes are highlighted in yellow.
  5. We send you an email which shows which policies have been reviewed and uploaded.
  6. You can then retrieve the related policies, make any adjustments of your own and efficiently complete your review.

Each year this gives us a planned opportunity to consider the structure and content of each document but most importantly guarantees you a current and effective policy library.


Your Regular Newsletter To Families Done For You

Our newsletter resource is the perfect ‘time smart’ solution to provide a relevant and informative publication to your families each month.

We’ve already researched and submitted 80% of the content for you, left space to submit service specific information and uploaded it to our newsletter library so you can download and publish at your convenience.

Each edition is professionally formatted in WORD. You can edit and add information at your convenience then save as a PDF for emailing or posting to your website.

Tick these five critical boxes using our newsletter resource and comply with 11 separate elements of the National Quality Standard

1. ASSESSMENT AND RATING
All inclusions in our newsletter resource are by design, not only to inform families but to help as a visual source of evidence for Assessors. Save hours every month, support compliance and increase family feedback.

2. LINK TO YOUR QIP
Continuity in practice can be easily supported through documentation linking. Showing evidence of a recognised ‘issue’ and the suggested solutions in the Newsletter with the aim of prompting feedback, further suggestions and community engagement. I.E: car park safety or policy review

3. REVIEW EACH EDITION
Archive a copy of each newsletter for the purposes of compliance. Record the links back to the NQF & NQS directly onto the copy to be filed.

4. KNOW YOUR FAMILIES
Newsletters are a comprehensive communication tool. In saying this, it is important that the information is relevant and interesting. Seek feedback from families and staff on what they want, not necessarily what you think they need.

5. DISTRIBUTION
Make sure families have access to your newsletter. Make it easy for them to access and if necessary, put it under their noses but don’t fall into the trap of just placing it into a pocket or sleeve with an attitude of; “it’s up to them to look”. Regularly review and update your families ‘preferred method of communication’ list and see if they would prefer a hard copy or email.

Always keep evidence of any improvement within easy reach. It will confirm your commitment to ‘continuous improvement’ and an organic approach to compliance.

  • OSHC EDITION ALSO AVAILABLE

FOR A SAMPLE OF OUR NEWSLETTER RESOURCEFOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE FREE RESOURCES PAGE.


Child Care Subsidy confusion

No doubt you will have discovered there still remains some confusion over the mechanisms & final steps to implement the new childcare subsidy package. The finer details of the CWA and changes to third party software (CCMS) still need to be ironed out so we have opted to wait rather than provide you with inaccurate instructions and resource adjustments.

 

In the interim ensure that you have:

  1. Read the ‘New Child Care Package’ PDF from the Department of Education and Training (download – New Child Care Package)
  2. Ensure staff members are aware of the changes
  3. Communicate with families – keep them informed
  4. Contact your CCMS provider – where are they up to?

NOTE: as soon as we know that all mechanisms and steps have been confirmed we will then update our Enrolment Pack module and all related forms.

OUR ABRIDGED OVERVIEW OF THE NEW CHILD CARE PACKAGE

In July 2018 the new child care subsidy (CCS) will be implemented, replacing the Child Care Management System (CCMS) in Centre-based Day Care (CBDC) Services, which includes Long Day Care and Occasional Care Services. Outside School Horus Care (OSHC) Services, which includes Before School Care, After School Care and Vacation Care Services. Family Day Care Services (FDC) and In-Home Care (IHC) Services.

The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) will replace Child Care Rebate (CCR) and Child Care Benefit (CCB) and will be paid directly to the Service on behalf of families. Factors that determine a family’s level of Child Care Subsidy include: Combined Family Income, outcome of the family activity test and the service type. The activity test refers to the amount of work, training, study, volunteering or other recognised activity, paid and unpaid leave (parental leave), exceptions, casual/irregular hours of paid work. The activity test will determine the hours of activity families are entitled to.

Families will receive a letter from the Australian Department of Human Services explaining what the changes are and how they can claim the single means-tested Child Care Subsidy (CCS). Once Services receive their new CCS approval number, they can work with their childcare software provider to ensure their software is set up with the new Child Care Subsidy requirements.

The final stage of the Child Care Subsidy Transition will be to create new enrolments for each child who are in care from July 2018. New enrolments are required due to legislative changes to Child Care Subsidy payments. Software providers will be streamlining the enrolment process and can assist with enrolment activity.

There are 2 main types of Arrangements under the Child Care Subsidy legislation.

  • Complaint Written Arrangements (CWA) for eligible families claiming Child Care Subsidy
  • Relevant Arrangements (RA) for families who are not eligible or will not be claiming the Child Care Subsidy.

Compliant Written Arrangements is like the current ‘informal’ enrolment and can be modified to change Child Care Subsidy status at any time. CWAs need to be approved by families via the MyGov website before they are activated. Information required for Complying Written Arrangements (CWA) must contain the following

  • Child Name
  • Child Date of Birth
  • Child CRN
  • Start Date of Enrolment
  • Parent Name
  • Parent Date of Birth
  • Parent CRN
  • Notice Type
  • Enrolment Arrangement
  • Session Time
  • Fee’s per Session
  • Educators
  • Late Submission Reason
  • Signing Party

Moving forward with the Child Care Subsidy, Session Reports must be submitted within 14 days, and can only be amended up to 21 days from the end of the reporting week.


Self Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning

It’s been a year since releasing System7 (Pre-assessment Rating program) as well as a year of learning and ‘course correction’.

The full upgrade is now complete including the Quality Improvement Planning function.

Pictures tell a thousand words – here’s how it looks:

System7 Dashboard page – enter each Quality Area by selecting a panel. If a Quality Area is yet to be started it remains white, orange for ‘in progress’ and green for ‘completed’. At the top-right of the page you can create accountability by submitting a forecast submission date and at the bottom right is an overall progress measure as well as the button for generating the actual QIP in PDF format.

Quality Area Dashboard – each module represents an Element of the NQS. Some Elements require more than one Module to cover what’s required. You can move back & forth through these Modules via a button at the bottom of the page. (Not seen here)

Module page – includes the Concept, Standard Element, Regulations, what needs to be seen by an Assessor, the possible location, Pre-assessment notes area, Quality Improvement Plan area and Suggestions. We will also be adding links to required resources so if you have any gaps in your operations/compliance you can review & rectify in real time.

Generate Report function – this is where you can select between a Self-Assessment Report or your Quality Improvement Plan. Once you begin System7 and the QIP process it becomes an organic document which can be amended, archived as a PDF or printed. Your QIP will always be ready for inspection or submission.

Joining System7 is Risk Free – you receive a 21 day full money back guarantee so you have plenty of time to trial the program.

For further details follow this link to the System7 website.


Become a ‘time-smart’ childcare service

Tick these five critical boxes using our regular ‘do-it-with-you’ Newsletter to Families and comply with 11 separate elements of the National Quality Standard

1. ASSESSMENT AND RATING

All inclusions in our newsletter resource are by design, not only to inform families but to help as a visual source of evidence for Assessors. Save hours every month, support compliance and increase family feedback.

2. LINK TO YOUR QIP

Continuity in practice can be easily supported through documentation linking. Showing evidence of a recognised ‘issue’ and the suggested solutions in the Newsletter with the aim of prompting feedback, further suggestions and community engagement. I.E: car park safety or policy review

3. REVIEW EACH EDITION

Archive a copy of each newsletter for the purposes of compliance. Record the links back to the NQF & NQS directly onto the copy to be filed.

You could create a system of different coloured highlighters to support different Quality Areas for quick reference, again for Assessment & Rating and for you to be assured that your information is of high quality. Once you get in the habit of seeking outcomes, you’ll be surprised how many ‘boxes’ you are ticking each month!

4. KNOW YOUR FAMILIES

Newsletters are a comprehensive communication tool. In saying this, it is important that the information is relevant and interesting. Seek feedback from families and staff on what they want, not necessarily what you think they need.

5. DISTRIBUTION

Make sure families have access to your newsletter. Make it easy for them to access and if necessary, put it under their noses but don’t fall into the trap of just placing it into a pocket or sleeve with an attitude of; “it’s up to them to look”. Regularly review and update your families ‘preferred method of communication’ list and see if they would prefer a hard copy or email.

Always keep evidence of any improvement within easy reach. It will confirm your commitment to ‘continuous improvement’ and organic compliance.

FOR A SAMPLE OF OUR D.I.W.Y NEWSLETTER – FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE FREE RESOURCES PAGE.


How will we be supporting members into 2018 and beyond?

Our journey into the New Year begins with three major announcements for System7  subscribers:

A. We are adding a fully compliant Quality Improvement Plan function – this will be an organic process so you can update at your convenience and generate a complete Q.I.P. at any stage.

B. We are currently aligning the existing Pre-assessment & Rating tool with the revised National Quality Standard – ready January 1, 2018.

C. And, if you have a current childcare Service [Annual] subscription to the Childcare Centre Desktop you will receive the 10% loyalty discount off System7 and the Desktop, ongoing.

Further:

1. We have completed the adjustments required to our LDC Policy Library regarding recent regulation updates and the revised National Quality Standard. [Available from 06-11-17]

2. We are in the process of adding the FDC and OSHC Policy Libraries. These will be completed by Jan 1, 2018. [Primary policies are available now]

3. All Policy Libraries will be subject to our monthly Policy Review Routine. In essence, we will alert you when the change is required. We also highlight the adjustment.

4. Quality Control Table – On January 1, 2018 we begin utilising a quality control methodology across all policy support documents such as: Procedures, Forms, Audits, Letters and Checklist. Our aim is to consolidate into only what you need and remove additional paperwork.

5. The above Quality Control process will extend across all sectors so we can supply specific policy support documents for Long Day Care, Family Day Care and Out of School Hours Care Services.

6. The ‘do-it-with-you’ Newsletters, Flyers and Announcements will continue to evolve and improve as ‘time-smart’ resources.

7. There will also be a major focus applied to the Human Resource Modules to support you further in enhancing your own teams engagement and performance.

8. Fees will not increase. Our aim has and always will be to provide a childcare service support program that you can afford irrespective of location and financial situation.

If you’re not a member and giving it some consideration follow this link to read our guarantee. Membership is risk free!


Merging existing policies with the new & revised National Quality Standard

I have been asked by our subscribers and guests “What’s the best way to merge existing policies with the new & revised National Quality Standard?” as well as “What additional support are you providing in 2018?”

I have answered these important questions below BUT if you feel you need further information please message me via the Contact page here.

Q. What’s the best way to merge our existing policies with the new & revised National Quality Standard?

Firstly, if you have been using our policy drafts and updates throughout the year you will have a current and operationally compliant policy library. No doubt each of your own documents will have been adjusted to match your own philosophy, physical environment and identity.

If this is the case, you will only need to change the referencing to the National Quality Standard which is located on the first page. A simple cut & paste will suffice. See the following images:

EXISTING POLICY DRAFT

NEW & REVISED POLICY

My advice beyond this step is to submit an item into your Quality Improvement Plan indicating that all policies have been adjusted to align with the revised NQS and throughout 2018 you will be adjusting operational statements to improve understanding and implementation.

To keep tabs on adjustments watch for alerts related to our monthly ‘Policy Review Routine’ and apply if required. Note: our adjustments will relate to regulation updates and any content adjustments that will improve delivery.

Reminder: We will be uploading the new and revised policy library on Monday, 6th November 2017. [An archive of the existing library will be kept until February 1, 2018]

If you are not a member and would like to sample a few of our resources follow this link to the FREE RESOURCES page. [Also includes a policy already aligned to the new & revised National Quality Standard]

  • How will we be supporting members into 2018 and beyond? READ MORE

Prescribed Information to be displayed

Display of information required at a Service (Source: ACECQA)

An Approved Provider must ensure that a range of prescribed information is displayed at the entrance of the service, including:

  • The name of the Approved Provider and the name of the education and care service
  • The provider approval number and service approval number
  • Any conditions on the provider approval and service approval
  • The name of the Nominated Supervisor or, if the Nominated Supervisor is a member of a prescribed class, the class
  • The service’s current rating level for each Quality Area and the overall rating
  • Details of any waivers held by the service, including elements or regulations waived, duration of the waiver and whether the waiver is a service or temporary waiver
  • The hours and days of operation of the service
  • The name and telephone number of a person at the service to whom complaints may be addressed
  • The name and position of the responsible person in charge at any given time
  • The name of the educational leader
  • The contact details of the Regulatory Authority
  • If applicable, a notice stating that a child who has been diagnosed as at risk of anaphylaxis is enrolled at the service
  • If applicable, a notice of an occurrence of an infectious disease at the service.

If you’d like more details on our ‘Prescribed Information’ template send us a note via the Contact page.

If you’d like information about membership – follow this link.


Your Assessment & Rating Visit

Is your Assessment & Rating visit due this year?

We’ve created the organised approach to get “rating ready”.

Take 5 minutes and watch the video:

If you are interested in utilising System7 follow the instructions below. You will receive a 20% reduction to the listed subscription fee. (20% discount reducing the annual fee from $197 to $157.60)

System7 Contact Page Here – please include all contact details + write YES TO SYSTEM7 in the comments area. We will then send you your instructions and unique code. (No obligation to proceed)

“It has always been my obsession to supply effective yet very affordable online resources so childcare services, no matter what their location or financial position, are not shut out. I believe we’ve reached this objective. I also know…it’s just the beginning”. Mark Evans-Director

 


Selecting staff that go the distance!

EducatorsRecently I was asked by a few Desktop member’s if I had a tried & proven set of questions to support staff selection.

 

As far as I know a set of ‘tried & proven’ interview questions does not exist – but it presented itself as a great opportunity to do some research and attempt to create a simple Interview Questionnaire for Early Childhood Services that will help extract all of the critical information and attributes you need to know.

For me, over & above experience & technical knowledge, I want answers or responses that will help me find out the following critical attributes of a candidate; [FREE RESOURCES LINK]

  1. Presentation & self-respect: grooming, clean & pressed clothes, the appropriate outfit for the occasion, politness, poise & confidence.
  2. Strong work ethic: the sense that they will finish what they start, be on time and do what they say they are going to do.
  3. Respect for others: the sense that they will listen, be patient and think about their own response. That they can show empathy, be courteous and when required say please and thank you.
  4. Technical experience required for the role: that they have a true understanding of the role & responsibilities they are about to apply for – and if not, the willingness and passion to learn.
  5. Longevity & career aspirations: the sense that they are moving into a position that they feel they were destined to belong.
  6. That extra 10%: that they are resourceful, think on their feet and are good problem solvers.

Those who frequently interview potential staff know this is much easier said than done. To get the desired result you need to be armed with the right questions and…not be in a hurry.

The late Steve Covey said;

“With people, if you want to save time, don’t be efficient. Slow is fast and fast is slow. Ultimately meaning, take your time! The desired result and future investment warrants a good decision, not a hasty one.

REMEMBER – it’s not always the most academic candidate but the candidate with an ability & willingness to learn.

After careful deliberation the ‘Interview Questionnaire’ has been added to the Childcare Centre Desktop’s Human Resource area. This section also includes the following documents to support your recruitment process;

  • Interview Questionnaire [As described above]
  • Code of Conduct Statement
  • Confirmation of Employment Draft
  • Employment Application plus Application Checklist
  • Employee Induction Checklist
  • Staff Handbook [Detailed]

Free Resources – this link will take you to a page where you can register for a series of our free documents and templates.