Meet the regulators: Child Safe Standards to have new regulators from 2023

From 1 January 2023, CCYP may not be your regulator of the Child Safe Standards (CSS). What does this mean?

The relevant regulator of the CSS for your organisation will depend on your sector. Amendments to the Child Wellbeing and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic) will come into effect on 1 January 2023 and empower other regulators to enforce the CSS and help organisations follow the rules and guidelines.

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is now the sole regulator for all child safe standards applicable to education entities (as listed below) and has additional powers of enforcement, including a “name and shame” power in relation to court orders or convictions.

The VRQA has already been enforcing the child safe standards for schools contained in Ministerial Order 1359 (and its predecessor 870), and will continue to do so, ensuring that registered schools continue to meet these critical conditions of ongoing registration.

The change in regulator should act as a prompt for organisations to ensure they meet the new child safe standards (and new Ministerial Order 1359) which took effect in July 2022. It is expected that regulators will now in 2023 issue notices to produce with the expectation of compliance with the new standards, given that over six months has passed.

Meet the regulators

Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA)Schools and education providers:
• Registered schools
• School boarding premises
• School-sector organisations providing courses to overseas students
• Student exchange organisations
• Non-school senior secondary providers (NSSSP)
• Some registered training organisation (RTOs)
Department of HealthHealth services:
• Hospitals
• Community health services
• Mental health services
• Drug and alcohol treatment services
• Maternal and child health services
Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH)Social and human services:
• Disability services
• Housing services
• Family violence and sexual assault services
• Support services for parents and families
• Out of home care services
Department of Education (DET)Early childhood education and care approved providers of:
• Long day care
• Family day care
• Outside school hours care
• Vacation care
• Limited hours care
• Occasional care
Wage Inspectorate VictoriaEmployers of children
Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP)Other Victorian organisations, such as:
• Organisations providing coaching or tuition, or counselling services specifically for children
• Youth organisations
• Recreational organisation, such as a sports club or that provides overnights camps to children
• Religious bodies
• Charities
• Local councils
• Schools other than registered schools (e.g. swimming and dance schools)

Further guidance on coverage is available here.

What does this mean in practice?

For registered schools

Schools will be familiar with the VRQA regulating Ministerial Order 1359 (and previously 870) as part of its 5-year audit cycle. This will not change.

For Schools that operate an ELC, DET is the relevant regulator for the ELC’s compliance with the CSS as part of quality assessments. Specifically, the Quality Assessment and Regulation Division (QARD) of DET enforces compliance.

For family violence service providers

Organisations who provide family violence relief services will be regulated by DFFH for their compliance with the CSS. These organisations will likely already work closely with DFFH for their service delivery and funding arrangements. The changes to CSS regulators are intended to streamline operations for organisations and reduce the number of government departments they are required to deal with.

For organisations who offer tutoring, camps, recreational activities to children

The regulator of the CSS will remain CCYP.

For churches and other religious bodies

The regulator of the CSS will remain CCYP.

What about the reportable conduct scheme?

The CCYP will continue to regulate the Reportable Conduct Scheme, meaning heads of entities subject to the Reportable Conduct Scheme will continue being required to report reportable allegations to the CCYP within three days and meet the other obligations. Consequently, independent schools will be subject to multiple regulators: the CCYP for the Reportable Conduct Scheme, and the VRQA for the CSS.

How we can help

We work closely with you to support you in proactive implementation of the CSS in your organisation. In the event of regulatory review and compliance action, we can help you navigate this process and understand the regulatory approaches of different regulators. Please contact our child safety or education teams with any enquiries.

Contact us

Please contact us for more detailed and tailored help.

Subscribe to our email updates and receive our articles directly in your inbox.