Important Changes to the WWCC
There have been some recent changes to Working With Children legislation which may impact you and your workers and volunteers. Please see a summary of these changes below.
So what are the changes?
Updated definition of child-related work
The definition of child-related work has been changed to clarify that contact with children must be a usual part of, and more than incidental, to child-related work.
The Regulation now provides guidance to help determine when direct contact by a worker with children is a usual part of, and more than incidental, to their work.
Offence for Employers to fail to verify workers
It is now an offence for an employer to fail to verify workers in child-related work without reasonable excuse. This carries a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units for corporations ($11,000), 50 penalty units in any other case ($5,500) and/or up to 2 years imprisonment.
Similar sanctions now also apply for failure to keep proper records of the verification process.
Non-government Organisations required to provide information for risk assessments
Another important change is that non-government organisations (NGOs) are now compelled to provide information to the Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) if requested, to assist them assess whether a person poses a risk to the safety of children.
Until the recent changes were introduced, NGOs were authorised to provide information to the OCG, however they were not required to. Fines of up to $550 (five penalty units) can now be enforced for non-compliance.
Requirement for personal details to be updated
If you hold a clearance or have a current application for a Working With Children Check, you are now required by law to notify the OCG of any change to your personal details within 3 months of the change occurring.
If you fail to comply without reasonable excuse, you will have committed an offence, which carries a maximum penalty of five penalty units ($550).
Parents on overnight camps require a valid Working With Children Check
Under the new changes, all parents volunteering on overnight camps are now required to hold a Working With Children Check, whereas previously parents with children in the camp were exempted.
If you think this may affect you, are unsure as to how to meet your obligations regarding Working With Children Checks or need assistance with a child protection matter, please contact us and we can provide further advice for your organisation.