Summary of “Key Points” and changes in the New Early Years Services Regulations 2016

We are glad to say that for those who have been on the compliance journey with us will have most of these areas addressed within their services. Many of the new regulations are already requirements under the various standard operations guides and focused inspections that have been released over the last few years and there is a high emphasis on governance, risk assessment at all levels and staffing & management structures.

These requirements are now enshrined in this statutory instrument. Some requirements are actually legal requirements under other pieces of legislation (like the requirement to have a Health & Safety statement).The key development, of course, is that we now have a registration system which means newly opened services will need to fulfill these requirements prior to opening. Existing services will be inspected under the new regime.


Registration and Register- Part II

An application under section 58D(2) in respect of the pre-school service must be made at least 3 months before the person proposes to commence the service.

An application for a temporary service must be made at least 21 days before the person proposes to commence the service.

The following are required with the application

1. Garda Vetting and References

Garda vetting and 2 references will be required for all owners/Managers and BOM/ directors. Police clearance from other countries is required for all owners/Managers and BOM/ directors if resided outside Ireland at anytime for more than 6 consecutive months

2. Floor Plan

A floor plan for both internal and external areas with all dimensions to demonstrate the amount of clear floor space is required

3. Policies and procedures

The following policies are required

  • statement of purpose and function
  • complaints policy
  • administration of medication
  • infection control
  • managing behaviour
  • safe sleep
  • fire safety policy
  • inclusion policy
  • outings policy
  • accidents and incidents
  • authorisation to collect children
  • healthy eating
  • outdoor play where such play is provided to children attending the service
  • policy on overnight services where the service is an overnight preschool service
  • staff absences
  • use of the internet and photographic and recording devices
  • recruitment policy
  • risk management policy
  • settling-in policy
  • staff training policy
  • supervision (of employees/volunteers) policy

NB details of what should be considered/included in a policy is in Schedule 5 of the regulations

4. Safety Statement

A safety statement (within the meaning of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005)

5. Companies registration

Evidence of registration from Companies Registration Office, where applicable

6. Insurance

Copy of the Certificate of Insurance or written confirmation of insurance cover

7. Proof of identity

Proof of identity of the proposed registered provider (copy of passport or driving licence are the only acceptable documents)

All information supplied will be assessed and the premises visited.

Following are changes now enshrined in the Regulations but have been implemented through operational procedures

Management and Staffing – Part III

Garda vetting

There is a clear management structure in the service that identifies the lines of authority and accountability in the service and the specific roles and responsibilities of each employee and unpaid worker.

Garda vetting and suitable reference checks MUST be completed PRIOR to any person being appointed, assigned or allowed access to or contact with a child attending the pre-school service.

Police clearance (for ALL persons that have lived outside Ireland for more than 6 consecutive months)


From Dec 31st 2016 for all services registered before June 30th 2016 and services registered after this date each employee working directly with children attending the service holds at least a major award in Early Childhood Care and Education at Level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework or a qualification deemed by the Minister to be equivalent.

NB this will not apply before 1 September 2021 to a person who—

(a) has signed a declaration on or before 30 June 2016 to the effect that he or she intends to retire from employment in a pre-school service before 1 September 2021, and (b) is in possession of a letter from the Minister confirming that this shall not apply to him or her before that date.


Employees, unpaid workers and contractors should be appropriately supervised and provided with appropriate information, and where necessary training, including in relation to the following:

(a) the policies, procedures and statements of the service specified in Schedule 5; (b) Part VIIA (inserted by section 92 of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (No. 40 of 2013)) of the Act, and (c) the new Regulations.


  • For sessional services the ratio for 2.5 to 6 years is now 1:11
  • Ratios as outline in the regulations will apply to IMEB accredited services from 1 September 2016
  • Unpaid workers may not be taken into account when assessing ratios

Information and records -Part IV

Retaining Records

Records must be retained for a period of 2 years from the date on which the child to whom it relates ceases to attend the service

Care of Child in Preschool Service-Part V

Internet Access, Photo or Recording

A registered provider shall ensure that a pre-school child shall not be—

(a) permitted access to the internet, (b) photographed, or (c) recorded, while attending the pre-school service other than in accordance with the terms of the consent of a parent or guardian given in the form specified in the service’s policy on the use of the internet and photographic and recording devices.

Outside Facilities

Services registered for the first time after 30th June 2016 or services that move premises after 30th June 2016 will be required ensure that a suitable, safe and secure outdoor space to which the preschool children attending the service have access on a daily basis is provided on the premises.

A registered provider of a full day care service, a part-time day care service or a childminding service, other than such a service as above, shall ensure that—

(a) a suitable, safe and secure outdoor space to which the pre-school children attending the service have access on a daily basis is provided on the premises, or

(b) where no such space is provided, the pre-school children attending the service have access on a daily basis to a suitable outdoor space.

Safety- Part VI

Checking in and out and record of attendance

Preschool children must be checked in and out by an employee or unpaid worker

Visitors and people on the premises

A registered provider shall ensure that— (a) no person other than— (i) a pre-school child attending the service, (ii) a person dropping or collecting such a child, (iii) an employee, or (iv) an unpaid worker, can enter the premises without his or her entry being approved by an employee, and (b) a daily record in writing is kept of the entry on the premises of any such person.

Visitor records should be kept for one year from the date of entry

Fire safety

Records of drills and maintenance of equipment must be kept for five years

Premises and Space requirements- Part VII

Floor Space

A registered provider of a sessional pre-school service or a pre-school service in a drop-in centre shall ensure that a minimum of 1.818 square metres (was 2 sq mtrs) of clear floor space is available for each child attending the service.

Group Size

A registered provider of a sessional pre-school service shall ensure that there are no more than 22 children in a room in the service at any time. This does not apply to a service that provides full and part time care in addition to sessional services.

Notifications and Complaints -Part VIII

Accidents and Incidents

Incidents are to be reported to Tusla within 3 days including:

(a) the death of a pre-school child while attending the service, including the death of a child in hospital following his or her transfer to hospital from the service;

(b) the diagnosis of a pre-school child attending the service, an employee, unpaid worker, contractor or other person working in the service as suffering from an infectious disease within the meaning of the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 (S.I. No. 390 of 1981);

(c) an incident that occurs in the service and that results in the service being closed for any length of time;

(d) a serious injury to a pre-school child while attending the service that requires immediate medical treatment by a registered medical practitioner whether in a hospital or otherwise;

(e) an incident in respect of which a pre-school child attending the service goes missing while attending the service.


A policy should be in place to include

  • the procedure to be followed by a person for the purposes of making a complaint in relation to the service,
  • the manner in which such a complaint shall be dealt with, and
  • the procedures for keeping a person who makes such a complaint informed of the manner in which it is being dealt with.
  • Records in writing must be retained for a period of two years, of any complaints including any outcomes and should be available for inspection

Inspection and Enforcement-Part XI

  • Information should be available and presented in a way specified by the inspection agency
  • The Agency shall take such steps as are necessary to enforce these Regulations in relation to the pre-school service concerned.
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