Assessment and rating process

Our authorised officers will visit your service to do an assessment and rating. Find out what to expect before, during and after this visit.

The assessment and rating process allows services the chance to show how well they compare to the benchmarks set by the National Quality Standard (NQS).

We are the Regulatory Authority in Victoria. Our authorised officers undertake the assessment and rating visits.

Before the visit

You will receive a notification letter

At least four weeks before the visit you will receive a letter to let you know when your visit will take place.

This letter outlines how to prepare for the visit, and requests you to:

  • nominate a main contact to liaise with our authorised officer/s
  • submit your current Quality Improvement Plan within two weeks
  • provide any requested policies and procedures
  • family day care services must provide:
    • information from the register of family day care educators, co-ordinators and assistants
    • policies and procedures in relation to emergency management.
Submit your Quality Improvement Plan

Quality Improvement Plan is a requirement of all education and care services.

There are improvement plan templates on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority's (ACECQA) websiteto help you.

To assist with updating your Quality improvement Plan, we've enlisted the expertise of industry expert Heather Barnes to provide some advice for consideration.

Authorised officers will review your service's assessment and rating history

Our authorised officers will conduct an initial review of your service's:

  • current Quality Improvement Plan
  • previous rating assessment history
  • history of compliance
  • other relevant quality rating information.
Prepare for the visit

The assessment and rating process can be an anxious time for your staff and families of your service. It is important to prepare them for the visit. You should consider:

  • reviewing your quality improvement plan
    • make sure it’s up to date
    • list what your service does well and where you are improving
  • doing your own quality self-assessment. Use the NQS Assessment and Rating Instrument template
  • discussing the upcoming visit with your staff and families so they are prepared.

At the visit

During the assessment

We use a standard process to get all the evidence needed to assess and rate your service. This includes:

  • observing - what children, families, educators, co-ordinators and staff members are doing
  • discussing - why and how certain practices happen at the service with educators and staff
  • sighting - the documents that are in place to support the practices at your service required by the National Law and National Regulations

At the end of the assessment

At the end of the visit our authorised officer will discuss any extra requirements. They will also explain the next part of the assessment and rating process.

They might talk to you about any minor adjustments that you can make ​before the assessment and rating report is final. These are quick and easy things that you can fix. They will be things that do not have a serious on impact the quality of your service, or on the safety, health and wellbeing of the children in your care.

You can include the suggestions that our officers make at your visit back into your quality improvement plan.

After the visit

Draft assessment and rating report

You will receive a draft assessment and rating report after your visit. This includes:

  • an overall rating
  • ratings for each individual quality area
  • information about any elements of the NQS that were not met
  • any non-compliances with the National Law or National Regulations
  • improvement notes.

You then have ten working days to give feedback and any supporting evidence on any factual inaccuracies in the draft report.

We will consider your feedback before the assessment and rating report is made final.

Final report and rating outcomes

We will send you the final assessment and rating report and a notice of rating outcomes at the end of the process. 

Final rating report

Your final rating report is a useful resource for you to share with your staff and families. The report gives insights about:

  • service quality
  • where the service is performing well
  • and priority areas for improvement. 

The rating report gives an informative overview of:

  • the outcomes of the quality assessment undertaken by the Authorised Officer
  • supports services though a focus on improvement notes.

Each report includes a:

  • summary of ratings outcomes
  • ​notes and resources to support continuous improvement
  • an overview of service quality.
Notice of rating

The notice of rating records:

  • the service’s rating level for each quality area
  • and an overall rating for the service.

You must display the notice so that it is visible from the main entrance of the service premises. This includes at each family day care residence and venue.

Services will hold a status of 'Provisional Rating – Not Yet Assessed' until they have had their first assessment.

If a service transfers to a new approved provider it will keep the existing rating until the next assessment and rating visit and process is complete.

Review of rating

You can apply for a​ review of your service's rating. You have 14 days to do this from when you receive your final report.

This is the First Tier Review. Find out more about the review of ratings process at the ACECQA website.

Applications for making an review​ are lodged through the National Quality Agenda IT System Portal

Reassessment and rating of your service

Your service's current rating will determine the frequency of assessment visits.

If your service has a low rating, the assessment process will happen more regularly than for services with a higher rating.

A reassessment and re-rating of the service may occur at any time at the discretion of the authority.

Apply for reassessment and re-rating of your service

You can apply for reassessment at any time, but can only be reassessed once every two years. An application fee applies.

For more information, see apply for reassessment and re-rating and the Guide to the NQF.