Do you know all your obligations as a children’s activity provider and the Working with Children Check (WWCC)?
If you are a children’s activity provider and/or an employer in NSW who has staff members (including volunteers) who interact with children you are legally responsible for ensuring all staff have obtained Working with Children Check (WWCC) clearance. The Office of the Children’s Guardian also requires you to perform other compliance tasks around the WWCC, including registering your business, verifying your employees and record keeping.
This article is an overview of these obligations, with guidance how to register and verify your staff.
- If your business has staff who work or volunteer to provide services to children or young people you are considered an ’employer’ and must register.
- Here is where you register your business with the Office of the Children’s Guardian.
- All businesses who use workers or volunteers must verify them in the WCCC portal.
- Here is where you verify your employees as an employer.
What is the Working With Children Check?
In NSW WWCC registration and verification is administered by the Office of the Children’s Guardian, who ‘promote and regulate the quality of child safe organisations’.
The WWCC is a process of screening an applicant to determine their suitability for working with children. Here a child is defined as a person under 18 years of age, and child-related work is defined as:
- providing services for under 18s
- where the work normally involves being face to face with children, including ‘music teachers, extracurricular coaches, instructors, dance teachers, tutors’.
- where contact with children is more than incidental to the work.
The law in NSW has also been amended to include interactions over video, such as online lessons or children’s activities conducted over Zoom or other video conferencing tools/apps.
I am an employer, what are my obligations?
In NSW if your organisation has staff – paid or volunteer – who provide services to children then you are considered an ’employer’.
Initially you are required to register your organisation with the Office of the Children’s Guardian, which creates an online profile. This portal also allows you to verify workers and volunteers WWCC or application numbers online.
In terms of your child safety obligations, it is an offence to engage anyone who has not received a WWCC clearance. As an employer you are also responsible for ensuring worker/s or volunteer/s – who have direct contact with children – have WWCC clearance.
NSW also has further requirements, including that:
- Employers cannot self-verify
- Records of employees who require a check must be kept, including when they were verified
- Two people from the organisation must be nominated to receive confidential information
Current employees or volunteers who become barred must also be removed immediately from all child-related work. Reportable allegations or a reportable conviction, must also be reported to the Office of the Children’s Guardian within seven business days, who will then conduct an investigation into the allegations.
How to verify an existing WWCC?
If you want to verify if a new employee or volunteer has WWCC clearance, you can do so online. This ensures you meet your legal obligations. You will need:
- their name
- their date of birth
- their WWCC number, or
- application number (if applicable)
- your name
- your email address
Applying for a NSW Working With Children Check registration
You can apply for a Working With Children Check (WWCC) or registration via the Office of the Children’s Guardian, which consists of a two step process:
- A National Police Check, or criminal history record check, is conducted.
- Their employment record is reviewed to see if there are any ‘reportable workplace misconduct’.
If an applicant does not obtain WWCC clearance they are barred against working with children. Cleared applicants are subject to ongoing monitoring and relevant new records may lead to the clearance being revoked. In NSW once you have a WWCC clearance the check lasts for five years, and can be transferred if the holder moves jobs.
How much is a WWCC check?
The cost of a WWCC check is $80 for paid workers and is free for volunteers.
If you have any questions regarding WWCC or your obligations as a business get in touch directly with the Office of the Children’s Guardian for advice.
*The information in this article does not constitute legal advice and Kidsbook recommends you seek professional advice in this regard.