Providers’ views about governance and leadership in long day care

Lisa Keegan, Griffith University, Australia (

Background:  Research about providers’ capacities to meet the Australian National Quality Standard 7 (NQS 7) governance and leadership leading to sustainable quality practice in long day care (LDC) services is limited.  Gaining the perspectives of providers provides deeper knowledge about the functioning of LDC services across a range of sustainable quality practice contexts.

Aim: To gain knowledge about sustainable and unsustainable variables influencing provider governance and leadership that affects sustainable quality LDC.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 12 providers across a range of for-profit long day care services in South-East Queensland. Transcripts were analysed against a sustainable practice framework encompassing discursive, economic, moral, social, ecological, material and personal criteria and against NQS 7 to answer the overarching research question, “How does governance and leadership affect sustainable quality long day care provision in Queensland?” 

Results: Legislative economic variables were viewed as unsustainable and impacted operational decision making. Discursive influences (National Quality Framework, theoretical and legislative knowledge) were seen as imperative to providers’ governance and leadership generating sustainable quality practice.  Impacts of legislative governance and leadership on providers’ personal wellbeing were seen as most significantly unsustainable.

Conclusions: Legislative expectations influencing provider governance and leadership requires further examination and debate to identify legislative changes that deliver providers the financial and wellbeing support they require to provide governance and leadership engendering sustainable quality LDC provision.

Implications for children: The people who care for you want you to have a fun, loving, and safe learning space to play.  They need help to do this by the adults who make the rules.  You can help them by talking about the things you like and don’t like about childcare with your educators, teachers, families and other adults.

Implications for families: Providers are trying hard to provide sustainable quality care and education for your children.  This is a complex and demanding task made more difficult by established legislation, which affects accessibility and affordability for you.  Request better quality, affordable and accessible childcare for you and your children by talking to providers and practitioners and advocating for changes to the unsustainable aspects of legislation.

Implications for practitioners: Your work is demanding and stressful.  Sometimes you may not feel supported by your provider.  Know they are trying hard to provide a safe and collegial working environment within some very restrictive legislative expectations. Advocating for legislative change potentially brings positive change for providers, families, children and you.

Key words: Childcare, provider voices, sustainability, quality, workforce issues, wellbeing, education, policy, government, qualitative methods

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: