Working with children check guideline
The purpose of the working with children check guideline is to assist applicants new to RMIT and current staff members who are required to undertake a Working with children check (WWC) as a condition of their employment.
1. What is a working with children (WWC) check?
In 2006, the Victorian Government introduced a new checking system to help protect children under 18 years from harm. The WWC check helps to keep children safe by preventing those who pose a risk to the safety of children in either paid or volunteer work.
2. Why do certain staff require a WWC check?
Staff members require a WWC check if they are working in regular direct contact with children aged under 18 years and that contact is not directly supervised. Undergraduate teaching is seen to pose limited risk and therefore these lecturers will not require a WWC check. The WWC check impacts certain areas of RMIT, for example, TAFE staff delivering VCAL and VCE programs, RMIT Childcare, Counsellors, etc. It may be useful to discuss the nature of your particular requirements and type of work with Human Resources to determine whether the risk is significant enough to warrant a WWC check.
3. How will the WWC check be conducted and managed?
- The Department of Justice will search for the following offences or findings: serious sexual offences, serious violence offences, serious drug offences, relevant findings from prescribed professional bodies.
- If a negative notice is issued for incoming (new) staff, Human Resources will provide assistance and provide advice to the hiring manager about how to deal with the issue, including allowing natural justice and a right of response for the candidate.
- If a negative notice is issued for existing staff, the Executive Director, Human Resources will exercise natural justice in determining the appropriate action.
- Security of information and confidentiality will be maintained.
4. What happens when a staff member passes the WWC check?
Applicants who do not have a relevant record or finding from a relevant professional body will pass the WWC check and be issued with an assessment notice and a WWC check Card. Once issued, the WWC check card is valid for five years providing it is not revoked or surrendered within that time.
5. Can a staff member use a volunteer WWC check?
No. A Volunteer WWC check cannot be used for paid “child-related work”. Whereas, a Staff member WWC check can be used for both paid and volunteer “child-related work”. If you move from a volunteer to a staff member status in child-related work you will need to obtain another WWC check. It is an offence to use a volunteer application receipt, assessment notice or volunteer WWC check card for paid child-related work.
6. How will information collected be used?
The Department of Justice will only use the information obtained through these checks as permitted by law. The Department of Justice is bound by Victorian Privacy Laws (Information Privacy Act 2000 and Health Records Act 2001).
Under the WWC check 2005, it is an offence to disclose any information acquired during a WWC check.
The Department of Justice will not disclose the details of any criminal record to RMIT. If the staff member is issued with an interim negative notice or negative Notice, RMIT will also receive a copy of the notice. This copy will not include any information about the criminal record.
7. Do staff, who have had a Police Records check, have to undergo a WWC check?
Yes. Unlike a police check, the WWC check only considers some offences and is valid for five years (unless revoked). During this period, cardholders continue to be checked for new relevant offences or disciplinary findings by professional registration bodies.
As the WWC check is different to a police records check, you will still need to apply for a WWC check even if you have already had a police records check in the past.
8. Who would require a WWC check?
Anyone who engages in relevant child-related work must have a WWC check. This means that all staff members, volunteers and self-employed individuals and other relevant persons (e.g. those doing practical training, ministers of religion etc) doing child-related work (whether in a paid, voluntary or training capacity) are required to apply, whether or not they have already had a police records check.
- Heads of School will need to identify staff members that require a WWC check according to the nature of their programs or client needs. Once staff are identified, Heads of School should contact Human Resources Consultancy for assistance to organise the WWC check
- Human Resources can also provide advice and assist Heads of School to identify who would require a WWC check
- Schools will fund WWC check as required. Each check costs $79.60 per person (current at February 2012). Payment will be required at the point of lodging the application with Australia Post.
Staff members can pay and seek reimbursement of costs through standard finance (staff reimbursement) process.
- During the recruitment process, Human Resources will work with managers to determine if the new staff member will require a WWC check. If so, the requirement will be built into the position description, the advertisement, the selection process, and incorporated as a condition of employment in the letter of offer and the staff member’s contract.
- New staff will be required to arrange and pay for their own WWC check.
- Staff will be able to commence with the University prior to the findings of the WWC check. However, confirmation of their appointment through probation may be conditional upon a satisfactory WWC check. In the interim, staff need to provide a copy of the application receipt that they retain when they lodge their application with Australia Post. This receipt will need to be submitted on signing of an offer of employment.
- Individuals are expected to pay for their own WWC check
- TAFE teachers undertaking teaching of VCE and VCAL subjects, who have a current Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration and have not had any findings made against the staff member by VIT, will pass the WWC check. If this applies to any staff in your area please provide Human Resources with a copy of the VIT registration.
A staff member cannot work in or apply for child-related work while their application is being processed if they:
- are subject to reporting obligations under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004; or
- are subject to an extended supervision order under the Senior Sex Offenders Monitoring Action 2005;
- have previously received a negative notice without having subsequently received an assessment notice
9. What happens if a staff member does not pass the check?
If the Department of Justice believes an staff member should not pass the WWC check, they will issue an interim negative notice to the staff member, informing them of:
- the intention to issue a negative notice
- the reason for issuing an interim negative notice, including information about the person’s criminal record that has been considered their opportunity to make a submission to explain to the Department of Justice why they should pass the WWC check WWC check. If a submission is not received within the required time, the staff member will automatically be issued with a negative notice.
RMIT, will also be advised that the staff member has received an interim negative notice and will be given a copy of the notice but will not be provided the details of staff member’s criminal record.
10. What happens if circumstances change and the staff member has already passed a WWC check? Does the staff member need to contact RMIT?
If a relevant change occurs, the suitability to hold a WWC check card will be reassessed.
If the staff member has applied for or passed the WWC check, the staff member must notify the Department of Justice and RMIT within seven days of the relevant change in circumstances.
A relevant change is:
- a charge or conviction or final determination (even if you are acquitted) in relation to a relevant offence; or
- becoming subject to reporting obligations under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004; or
- becoming subject to an extended supervision order under the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005; or
- a relevant finding from the Victorian Institute of Teaching made against the staff member
The staff member only needs to provide RMIT with a written notice which states that a relevant change in their circumstances has occurred.
11. WWC check requirements in recruitment processes
When considering the requirements of the position, determine whether the incumbent will require a WWC check. If so, include the following in the key selection criteria.
- Satisfactory WWC check
If the incumbent for the position requires a WWC check include the following text in the advertisement.
“Appointment to this position is subject to a satisfactory WWC check .”
Letter of Offer
Where a WWC check is required the letter of offer will include the following statement.
‘This offer of appointment is made on the condition that a WWC check is provided and a negative notice has not been issued against you. For this purpose please find attached a WWC check application form. If you do not have a current WWC check you are required to obtain one at your expense. Failure to provide results of your WWC check to Human Resources may result in your appointment not proceeding.
In the event that a satisfactory WWC check is not provided your employment may be terminated’[Next: Supporting documents and information]