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Leadership positions in centre-based education and care services

Last updated: 4/01/2016 6:45 PM
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Please note: this information sheet provides a simple interpretation of current legislation and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

This information sheet has been developed to provide some guidance about leadership roles defined in the Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012 (the National Law) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2012 (the Regulations).

Who are the leaders in centre based education and care services?

The leadership positions prescribed (written in the law) in education and care services in WA are the Responsible Person positions:

  • Approved Providers
  • Nominated Supervisors
  • Certified Supervisors.

The Educational Leader, which is not a Responsible Person position under the National Law, is a professional practice leadership role. There will also be other staff that provide leadership and support to colleagues and families. This work also provides a valuable contribution to the education and care of the children enrolled in each service, and is described in resources such as the Guide to the National Quality Standard.


Looking at the roles

The Education and Care Regulatory Unit has developed a 4-Step Process for understanding and applying the National Law and Regulations. It is an easy, systematic way of using the Services Guide, the Guide to the NQS, the National Law and Regulations to answer the questions you may have about your service or your responsibilities under the Law and Regulations.

Step 1: Start with the Services Guide and the Guide to the NQS
Step 2: Go to the National Law
Step 3: Clarify any terms
Step 4: Go to the National Regulations

For more information on the 4-Step Process, refer to 'How to use the National Law and Regulations in daily practice' webinar notes on the DLGC website.

Responsible Person

The role of the Responsible Person is set out in:

  • National Law: Sections 162 and 164
  • National Regulations: Regulations 168 (2) (i)(ii) and 173 (2) (d)

The Law requires that a responsible person be physically present at an Approved centre- based service at all times the service is operating. A Responsible Person is one of the following:

  • An Approved Provider
  • A Nominated Supervisor
  • A Certified Supervisor placed in day-to-day charge of the approved service.

This means that there is always someone in charge at the service who has been assessed as fit and proper by the Regulatory Authority.

An Approved service is required to describe in their policies how they determine the responsible person in charge. The name and phone number of the responsible person in charge at any given time must be displayed near the door of the service and a record must be kept in staffing records (a time sheet for example or other staffing record). There are differences in the regulated requirements for these roles. For example, a Certified Supervisor placed in day-to-day charge of an Approved Service does not have the same responsibilities under the National Law as the Nominated Supervisor. The differences between the roles are discussed below.

Approved Provider

The role of the Approved Provider is set out in:

  •  National Law: Sections 10–16, 21, 43, 55, 291(5)
  •  National Regulations: Regulations 14–16

Under the National Law, becoming an Approved Provider is a prerequisite to operating one or more Approved Services. Once granted, a provider approval is ongoing unless suspended, cancelled or surrendered. A provider approval is valid in all jurisdictions. This means that an Approved Provider will not have to apply for separate provider approvals in each jurisdiction in which they operate an education and care service. The applicant must apply in the jurisdiction in which he or she usually lives (or in the case of an entity, the location of the entity's principal office).

The Approved Provider must continue to demonstrate fitness and propriety to be involved in the provision of an education and care service. If the applicant is an entity, each person who will have management or control of an education and care service must demonstrate their fitness and propriety.

Further Resources

Nominated Supervisor

The role of the Nominated Supervisor is set out in:

  •  National Law: Sections 5, 44, 56, 161
  •  National Regulations: Regulations 35, 146

Approved Providers must not operate a service without appointing a Nominated Supervisor for the Approved Service. The Nominated Supervisor will be an approved Certified Supervisor with a certificate issued by the Education and Care Regulatory Unit who has consented in writing to taking on the role.

As the person with responsibility for the day-to-day management of an Approved Service, a Nominated Supervisor has a range of responsibilities including:

  • Educational programs
  • Supervision and safety of children
  • Entry to and exit from the premises
  • Food and beverages
  • Administration of medication
  • Prescription and non-prescription drugs and alcohol
  • Sleep and rest
  • Excursions

The Approved Provider must display the following information at the service:

  • the name of the Nominated Supervisor, or
  • if the Nominated Supervisor is a member of a prescribed class, the class (for example, a principal of a school).

The information must be displayed in a place where it is clearly visible to anyone from the main entrance to the education and care service premises. The Approved Provider is required to notify the Regulatory Authority if the Nominated Supervisor:

  • ceases to be employed or engaged by the service, or
  • withdraws consent to the nomination.

The Nominated Supervisor is in a leading position in the service. The person in the role (or people if they are job sharing on different days) is accountable for the actions taken relating to the regulated requirements.

Further Resources

Certified Supervisor

The role of the Certified Supervisor is set out in:

  • National Law: Sections 106–109, 114, 118, 291(5)
  • National Regulations: Regulations 46–49


A supervisor certificate allows a person to consent to be:

  • the Nominated Supervisor of an Approved Service, or
  • a Certified Supervisor placed in day-to-day charge of an Approved Service in the absence of another responsible person and who has accepted the designation in writing.

For certification, there are minimum requirements for qualifications, experience and management. The applicant must have:

  • adequate knowledge and understanding of the provision of education and care to children
  • the ability to effectively supervise and manage an education and care service

and have at least one of the following:

  • at least three years' experience working as an educator in an education and care service or children's service or school, or
  • an approved diploma-level education and care qualification, or
  • an approved early childhood teacher qualification.

This certification does not replace normal pre-employment checks. Certification is on-going unless it is relinquished or removed.

A Certified Supervisor may have conditions placed on their Certificate. For example, if the supervisor does not meet the qualification requirements for a supervisor to work with children under pre-school age, they may only be able to be in charge of a service that educates and cares for children over pre-school age.

A person who is under 18 years of age cannot be a Certified Supervisor. It is an offence to claim to be a Certified Supervisor without a current Supervisor Certificate.

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is responsible for maintaining a national register of Certified Supervisors.

Further resources

In addition to the Responsible Person positions described above, the role of the Educational Leader is a new leadership role in education and care services.

Educational Leader

The role of the Educational Leader is set out in:

  • National Law: Section 169
  • National Regulations: Regulations 118, 148

The Approved Provider of an education and care service must designate, in writing, a suitably qualified and experienced educator, co-ordinator or other individual as Educational Leader at the service to lead the development and implementation of educational programs in the service.
The Educational Leader will be a staff member in the service who is identified as being knowledgeable, able to lead and able to commit to the role. The Educational Leader may also be the Nominated Supervisor or may be an educator.

Further resources

For more information

Further information on specific issues related to leadership roles can be found through the National Law and the National Regulations (available through the State Law Publisher).

The Information Sheet 'Reading the National Law and Regulations' provides a simple guide on how to read the National Law and the National Regulations and find the information you need. This Information Sheet can be found on the NQF Resources page on the DLGC website.