With the renewed focus on Risk assessment and Management in mind FDSee, in conjunction with some of the leading FDC Services in Australia, has developed a range of over 30 new Educator Safety and Practice checklists for Coordinators and Service Staff.
More details to come soon. In the meantime check out this from the latest ECEC Connect Newsletter:
Approved providers and service personnel are responsible for ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of the children under their care. This means doing everything possible to protect children from harm and hazards at all times.
The majority of services are compliant with the National Quality Framework; however, the latest data shows there are some opportunities to improve how the sector manages risk, including:
• a greater understanding of how to identify, minimise and critically reflect on risks in the service environment when transporting children and during excursions
• increased oversight and ongoing support from approved providers in ensuring educators understand risk and how to manage risk effectively
• a renewed focus on ensuring that emergency and evacuation procedures are rehearsed every 3 months in recognition that this is an essential risk mitigation strategy
• additional efforts to ensure all staff are aware of risk minimisation plans for children with medical conditions and allergies.
It is an offence under regulation 100 of the National Regulations to fail to conduct a risk assessment before an excursion. Similarly, under regulation 102B, it is an offence to fail to conduct a risk assessment before a service transports a child. These are crucial activities that help prevent harm and hazards to children. Approved providers, nominated supervisors, and family day care educators are all responsible for ensuring these risk assessments are completed.
Most harms can be prevented by ensuring risks are properly identified, recorded, assessed, mitigated and continuously monitored. Part of this is having clear and comprehensive policies and procedures, but this alone is not sufficient.
Approved providers must proactively ensure that their staff understand what risk means and why it is important. They must always be vigilant to new risks and minimise the likelihood of harm to children. Even minor changes to the service environment can lead to major risks and activities such as transporting children and taking children on excursions are inherently risky and need particularly consideration.
Approved Providers and service leaders should consider the following reflective questions:
• How do we ensure that all staff can confidently identify and respond to risk?
• What strategies do we have in place to manage and identify risk?
• Are all staff trained to complete risk assessments adequately?
• What review mechanisms are in place for risk assessments or safety checklists?
• Are risk assessments service specific?