Any premises used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being the children of the person providing the care) under the age of 6 must apply to the Ministry of Education for a licence to provide the service (there are some exceptions like registered schools and children's health camps).
1. A current licence means that the person(s) who established the centre or is now the 'service provider' is deemed ‘fit and proper’ because they have declared they have no:
- Previous convictions involving harm to children, violence, or fraud.
- Relevant health problems.
- Outstanding debts.
- History of bankruptcy or limits on acting as a company director.
- History of refusal or cancellation of previous licences.
Note that a person’s declaration of not having relevant health problems, previous convictions, or poor performance in operating another ECE service, etc., is not legally required to be checked or verified by the Ministry of Education. Regulation 38 states any person who knowingly makes a false statement may be fined a maximum fine of $500. Under the Crimes Act 1961 (s 111) a person may face imprisonment of up to 3 years for false declarations and this is not mentioned in the early childhood regulations. The regulations do not say that a licence to operate an ECE service will be suspended or withdrawn should an ECE provider be found to have lied or subsequently experienced any of these problems.
2. All services must prominently display the following for all parents and visitors to see:
- It's current licence to operate certificate.
- A copy of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.
- A copy of the Licensing Criteria 2008 and updates.
Note that “prominently displayed” suggests high visibility and display where all parents regularly will see these. There is no requirement that centres must inform parents about the availability of a copy of the licensing regulations and criteria.
3. One of the following classes of licences to operate a centre is prominently displayed:
- Provisional – centre found or alleged to be non-compliant, specifies the requirements to be complied with and by when. (LEARN MORE)
- Suspended – centre must cease operation. (LEARN MORE)
- Transitional – centre is changing service type, e.g. session to all-day.
- Probationary – while a full licence application is processed and only if applicant is deemed ‘fit and proper’ and all requirements are met.
- Temporary relocation – for up to 10 months.
Note that centres are not legally required to explain to parents and visitors about their licence. A full licence once issued has no expiry date. When there is a change in owner or service provider the new service provider must apply for an amendment to the licence and the new service provider must satisfy the Ministry's Secretary for Education that he/she is a fit and proper person to hold a licence).
4. Any previous licence is immediately returned to the Ministry of Education and the new ‘class’ of licence prominently displayed.
5. A centre’s current licence states:
- Full name of the person issued the licence.
- The premises and centre’s name.
- Full name of the contact person.
- Date of issue.
- Licence classification, e.g. full, provisional, etc.
- Expiry date.
- Any conditions to comply with and by when to meet the regulations and criteria.
- Maximum numbers of children.
- That mixed ages of children can attend, that no under-2s can attend, or that no over-2s can attend.
- Hours and days.
- All day, sessional or mixed.
- Teacher led, parent led or both teacher and parent led during the week but must be only one kind on any one day.
- Any additional special conditions imposed by the Secretary of Education:
- To comply with any other enactment.
- To limit numbers or ages of children during all or specified times.
- Additional requirements of supervision of children.
- Limiting numbers of children using a defined activity space.
6. A service stating that it is fully licensed when it is not or knowingly making a false statement commits an offence that carries a maximum fine of $500.
7. A service has a continuing duty to advise the Ministry of Education of any change in circumstance.