Childcare service operators are being reminded of the importance of effective transportation policies, procedures and practices after a service provider faced disciplinary action by the Department of Communities.

The State Administrative Tribunal has found that Cachet Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Mulberry Tree OSHC – Leederville, breached Section 165 (1) of the National Law for an offence involving inadequate supervision, imposing a penalty of $15,000 and $1,000 costs.

A Department of Communities investigation found that a four-year-old child was found left alone unsupervised in a locked service vehicle, after being transported from school to the service premises. Educators did not realise that the child was left behind in the locked vehicle, until the child’s father arrived to collect him. The child was inside the locked vehicle unsupervised for about 11 minutes, according to the CCTV footage obtained.    

The maximum temperature on the day was 31.6°C and the vehicle was parked in direct sun.

Quotes from Catherine Stoddart, Deputy Director General, Governance Integrity and Reform

“This outcome should serve as a warning to providers in the childcare industry.

“Being approved to operate an education and care service in Western Australia carries significant responsibilities and obligations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children enrolled at the education and care service.

“It is important that service providers review their transportation policies, procedures, risk assessments and practices to ensure they are adequate, and that staff - including casual and relief staff- are frequently trained in following these policies and procedures.  

“The transportation practices put in place must be robust to protect against human error and to ensure thorough vehicle checks are undertaken every time.  

“Operators must also have systems in place to monitor that the staff follow the service policies and procedures.”  

 Media contact: Nick Butterly 0466 633 250