The National Regulations require approved services to have a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). The aim of a QIP is to help providers self-assess their performance in delivering quality education and care and to plan future improvements. The QIP also helps the regulatory authorities with their assessment of the service.
The QIP is a tool which facilitates the service to engage in continual improvement and assists the service to document the strengths and to recognise areas for improvement.
At Abacus Kindergarten and Learning Centre, we take the QIP seriously and make conscious efforts to update, critically reflect and work towards achieving intended goals. Families have ease of access to the QIP and are welcome to provide feedback to add value to the improvement process.
Self-assessment is an essential step in identifying and moving towards quality improvement. Self-assessment affects the overall experience and outcomes for children and families at the service.
Who will lead the self-assessment process?
Various factors affect who is selected as the most appropriate person to lead the self-assessment process in the service. These factors include:
- service type (long day care, preschool, family day care or OSHC)
- leadership attributes
- enthusiasm for the role
- knowledge of the process.
Develop and implement a QIP
A Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) is a document that identifies the service's goals for quality improvement and notes some strategies for achieving those goals. It helps everyone at the service to stay focused on the improvements and on implementing the strategies needed to achieve the goals.
Process for developing and implementing a QIP
The following diagram shows the process for developing and implementing a QIP, including:
- identifying strengths and improvements needed
- planning improvements and including them in the QIP
- implementing improvements
- reviewing progress
Each part of the process is detailed below.
Assessment and rating
Under the National Quality Framework, services are assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard.
Assessment and rating visit
The approved provider will be given notice that the assessment and rating visit will take place. Before the visit, the approved provider should choose a key contact person to have conversations with the authorised officer.
The length of the rating and assessment visit will depend on:
- the approved capacity of the service
- the type of service
- the number of educators at the service
- the number of different age groups at the service
- whether the service is session-based or provides whole-day care.
Authorised officers follow a uniform process when gathering the evidence required to assess and rate a service. They use 'observe', 'discuss' and 'sight' techniques to assess the service against each element of the National Quality Standard and the National Regulations. (For more information, see Guide to National Quality Standard.)
The authorised officer should conduct the visit in a way that minimises disruption to the service's practice as much as possible. The only exception would be if the authorised officer considered there to be an unacceptable risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of any child or children being educated and cared for by the service.
At the end of the visit, the authorised officer provides broad verbal feedback about the visit, explaining that no indication of the rating can be given until all components of the process have been drawn together. Feedback may include the opportunity to make minor adjustments to the service's operations within specified areas and timeframes, to address concerns identified at the visit.
For further information on the minor adjustments policy, refer to the Operational policy manual for Regulatory Authorities.
After an assessment and rating visit, the Regulatory Authority undertakes activities to prepare the draft assessment report and the ratings. These activities include:
- analysing the information gathered during the assessment and rating process
- considering the consistency of practice and the experience for each child
- considering evidence provided by the service if the service were given the opportunity to make minor adjustments
- deciding on the ratings for each standard and quality area.
The service receives a draft report and is given opportunity for feedback
The approved provider is sent the Draft National Quality Standard Assessment and Rating Report, including the proposed rating for each standard and quality area and the overall rating. The approved provider has the opportunity to supply comments, discuss the report and seek further clarification if necessary.
If no feedback is submitted the report is confirmed and ratings are issued
If no feedback is provided, the report is final and the notice of final ratings is issued to the approved provider.
If feedback is provided, it is considered, then the report is confirmed and ratings are issued
If feedback is provided on the draft report, this is considered by the Regulatory Authority. The report is then finalised and the notice of final ratings is issued to the approved provider.
Information about the ratings
There are five rating levels within the national quality assessment and rating process.
Following the assessment and rating visit, the service will receive a rating for each standard and quality area and an overall rating from one of these four rating levels:
- Significant Improvement Required
- Working Towards National Quality Standard
- Meeting National Quality Standard
- Exceeding National Quality Standard.