Comment below and have your say on the proposal for the ministry to use written directives for health and safety breaches.
The current process for dealing with any regulatory non-compliance, of a minor or serious nature, is restricted to following the formal licensing interventions, and may necessitate a full investigation.
The Ministry would like to have the power to require a service provider to address one or more health and safety issue quickly, without or before following the formal licensing intervention process.
This means that services that breach health and safety regulations for children may not experience a licensing sanction – or any penalty - for doing so.
Currently some regional offices have been issuing written directives as opposed to a licensing sanction. The Ministry is worried of the risk of legal challenge concerning this.
It is intended that findings of non-compliance for child health and safety will have less impact on the business of the service if remedied by the service via a written directive. This may reduce the number of services placed on official notice, by having their licence downgraded or suspended.
It is not clear if the Ministry intends that information on non-compliance dealt with through a written directive/s will form part of the licensing history of the provider, or if the slate will be wiped clean when the directive/s is met.
The Ministry has not yet explained if it will communicate the contents of the written directive to families at the service, or if will even require the service provider to prominently display a copy of the written directive.
The Ministry may open itself up to legal challenges by services whose licence is downgraded instead of being given the opportunity to improve via a written directive.