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What is a serious incident?

9 November 2021

The Education Standards Board must be notified of serious incidents within the scope of the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations.

But what is a serious incident? And how quickly must the notification be made?

Regulation 12 in the National Regulations lists what is prescribed as a serious incident. A large proportion of serious incident notifications we receive fall under Regulation 12(b):

  • any incident involving serious injury or trauma to a child occurring while that child is being educated and cared for by an education and care service:

(i) which a reasonable person would consider required urgent medical attention from a registered medical practitioner; or

(ii) for which the child attended, or ought reasonably to have attended, a hospital; for example, a broken limb.

For this type of serious incident, the approved provider must notify us within 24 hours of the incident. So if you consider that an injured or traumatised child requires medical attention, or ought to have reasonably attended hospital, you must notify us.

There is no need to wait for feedback from a parent on whether they sought medical attention for the child before you make a serious incident notification. Also you can always upload additional information to your notification later.

If approved providers make a serious incident notification outside of the legislated timeframes, they may receive a breach against them under Section 174 of the National Law: ‘Offence to fail to notify certain information to Regulatory Authority’.

On the ACECQA website, there is helpful information for approved providers and services about notification types and timeframes.