The New Zealand Herald
Complaints data due this week
An early childhood advocacy group says the Ministry of Education is “putting commercial interests first” by delaying a report on complaints against early childhood services.
Child Forum chief executive Dr Sarah Alexander says the ministry’s annual report on complaints in early childhood education, last published in December 2016, is overdue.
“A fortnight ago the ministry stated it would release the information that week which should have been released over a year ago, but it is yet to do so,” she said.
“It continues to put commercial interests first and deny parents their right to . . . be informed of any serious incident or problem that has occurred at their child’s service.”
But ministry deputy secretary Katrina Casey said the report on complaints in 2016 would be published this week with “additional information for the first time on how complaints have been actioned”.
“We absolutely refute Ms Alexander’s claim that we put commercial interests first,” she said.
“We take our role in early childhood learning seriously and every day our staff do the very best they can in the interests of each child.”
Child Forum campaigned for information on complaints to be made public for years before the ministry published the first of what were promised to be annual summaries in June 2014, with data for 2013.
The second report, with 2014 data, appeared in October 2015, and the third, with 2015 data, in December 2016. They recorded 246 complaints in 2013, 360 in 2014 and 342 in 2015.
— Simon Collins