Speculation and confusion about ACECQA’s self-assessment tool

The Penelope team has the good fortune of speaking to hundreds of Educators each week. Many of these have reported that the ACECQA’s optional self-assessment tool has become a source of confusion, particularly for services preparing for assessment and rating in New South Wales.

Much of the confusion has stemmed from inaccurate or misleading press releases. Common misconceptions include that using the optional self-assessment tool would become mandatory, and that the tool would completely replace the need to submit a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) through the assessment and rating process.

Through direct correspondence with the ACECQA, we can confirm that:

  • The self-assessment tool will remain an optional resource. There is no obligation to use it.
  • The self-assessment tool prompts for the same information that the optional QIP template does. Therefore, completing the self-assessment tool also results in recording the Quality Improvement Plan within the same document.

Providers in New South Wales have received emails asking if they wish to opt in to using the optional tool. This has created additional confusion, as some services have interpreted this as implying that they have the choice to opt out of self-assessment completely.

The purpose of the optional tool, and related correspondence, is to reaffirm that self-assessment is a regulatory requirement in developing a QIP. The tool also states the following on page 7:

‘Choose a self-assessment documentation process that suits your context and planning approach. Every service context and community is unique. This tool is only one way to document self-assessment and inform your QIP. You may need to adapt the tool to suit your service type, for example, consider how family day care educators might access and use it.

 Self-assessment documentation is not required to be submitted to the regulatory authority. However, evidence must demonstrate that self-assessment has informed the service QIP.’

This is underpinned by the requirements of the National Quality Framework and is not a new or recent development.

The good news for the 2600+ Australian services subscribing to Penelope is that we have designed their quality program to step them through a comprehensive and collaborative ongoing self-assessment that automatically informs their real-time digital QIP. Our role is to simplify the 636-page Guide to the National Quality Framework and tailor self-assessment schedules to reflect the makeup of each subscribing service. Any changes to the requirements for assessment and rating are included in updates to the platform ahead of their implementation so that our partner services are always aligned with current regulations and accepted best practice. We streamline and improve on the format used by ACECQA’s optional tool and do the complex work of developing solutions to the challenges of transitioning through regulatory changes. With this in place, our members can simply log in on their computers, phones or devices and be guided through what they need to know and do.

To find out more, please phone us on 1300 435 962 or sign up for a free trial now at penelope.com.au.