Starting a centre-based ECE service

This is a guide for service providers interested in establishing a licensed early childhood education (ECE) and care centre. Please make sure you read the whole document before taking further steps to establishing your ECE service.

Licensing Criteria Cover

Roles and responsibilities in a centre-based education and care service

The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 define three distinct positions of responsibility in a centre-based ECE service: service provider, contact person and person responsible.

A service provider is a body, agency, or person who or that operates the centre.

  • The service provider is the holder of the licence and is legally responsible for meeting regulatory requirements
  • An application for a licence made on behalf of a service provider must be made by a fit and proper person to be involved in the management of the service as described in the regulations.

The contact person is a person nominated by the service provider to represent its management, and this person’s name is displayed on the Certificate of Licence. The contact person must:

  • be able to respond to the Ministry of Education as soon as practicable on any issue relating to licensing;
  • have authority to act on behalf of the service provider; and
  • reside locally.

A person will generally be considered to ‘reside locally’ if they live or work within the geographical boundaries serviced by the local Ministry of Education office. Contact your local Ministry of Education office if you are unsure whether the contact person would meet this requirement.

The Person responsible

The person responsible:

  • is one or more persons nominated for the purpose by the service provider;
  • is directly involved in, and primarily responsible for, the day-to-day education, care, comfort, health and safety of the children
  • must supervise the children, and the adults providing education and care, at all times while children attend the service
  • holds an early childhood education teaching qualification recognised by the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ) for certification purposes. The ECE Funding Handbook requires persons responsible to hold a current practicing certificate.

There must be one person responsible for every 50 children. ECE centres will also employ a number of teachers or educators to care for the children attending.