Thank you for your feedback on the draft Terms of Reference
We published the draft Terms of Reference on our website and the NSW Have Your Say website on 5 December 2022. We emailed a large number of stakeholders to let them know about our review and the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft Terms of Reference. We gave stakeholders until 10 January 2023 to make submissions and complete the Have Your Say survey.
We received 17 submissions to our draft Terms of Reference and 38 responses to the Have your Say survey. We thank the community and sector for their active engagement with IPART in this first stage of the review, and for providing us with valuable feedback and suggestions. We have published submissions we received on our website.
Stakeholders were broadly supportive of the draft Terms of Reference, but proposed some changes
The overall response to the Terms of Reference was positive. The majority of survey responders indicated that the Terms of Reference were clear, and most submissions expressed support for the general direction of the review.
Some stakeholder submissions proposed changes to the Terms of Reference including to:
- elevate service quality as a key priority for investigation
- include more explicit reference to children experiencing vulnerability and children with disability
- reconsider the task of estimating benchmark prices, as this might fail to account for the diversity of situations and circumstances in the sector
- add clarifications and details on workforce supply issues, data collection, competitive neutrality, regulatory burdens, and potential overlap with concurrent reviews.
The Terms of Reference have been changed in response to feedback
We carefully reviewed all submissions and survey responses received. In consultation with the Minister for Customer Service, the Terms of Reference have been changed to mention quality as an important consideration for service costs and outcomes. The final Terms of Reference also explicitly include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and NSW local government in the list of stakeholders to consult.
We consider there is sufficient scope in the Terms of Reference to allow us to consider many of the issues raised in feedback, so further changes are not needed:
We agree that quality is an important element to consider in our review. Any assessment of affordability, accessibility and consumer choice necessarily includes considering quality as an important factor. We will be able to consider affordability, accessibility and consumer choice with regard to quality within the scope of the Terms of Reference. We will also consider the impacts of any recommendations we make on quality of services. We also note that the National Quality Framework (NQF), which provides a national approach to the regulation of the quality of education and care services across Australia, was recently reviewed with changes to improve it due to be brought into effect in 2023.
We also agree that our review should consider the differential impact of accessibility, affordability and choice on children experiencing vulnerability and children with disability. There is sufficient scope in the Terms of Reference to explore the diversity of groups, situations and circumstances in the sector.
We also recognise that diversity in the sector is a challenge to benchmark design, and we will be able to consider this in our review under the Terms of Reference.
We will also be able to consider issues raised relating to workforce supply issues, data collection, competitive neutrality and regulatory burdens as we progress the review under the Terms of Reference.
In areas where there are potential overlaps, we will work with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to share review findings and minimise burden on the sector, as mentioned in the Terms of Reference. We also note that the ACCC is conducting a review at the federal level specifically on pricing, while IPART’s review is specific to NSW and will be mainly looking at affordability, accessibility and choice.
Next steps for the review
Feedback on issues raised in submissions and survey responses was informative and useful and we will consider it further as we progress with the review.
We are keen to continue engaging with the sector as the review moves forward. Our review process will involve ongoing engagement with the sector and the community, including opportunities to provide feedback on our Issues Paper and Interim Report, and at our public hearing as the review progresses.