Working with Children’s Check
You would have received in April advise of changes that commenced on the 1st August, to the Working with Children process that considerably widened the scope of who would be required to obtain a Working with Children Check.
There are two (2) major changes:
- Until 1 August, if a person working with children was supervised by a person who had a Working with Children Check, that person did not require a check themselves. This provision has been removed and all people working with children need to be checked;
- The Working with Children Act requires that people over 18 years of age who are working with children who have direct contact need the check. Before the amendment, “Direct contact” was defined as any contact between a person and a child that involves physical contact or face to face oral communication. Now it also includes any oral, written or electronic contact.
There has been much discussion of the requirements in the media and many enquiries made to Basketball Victoria. Much of this has centred around the question of whether scorers/score table officials are required to have a WWCC. Basketball Victoria’s view is that scorers are now caught by the Act.
In many cases, the scorers are parents on a roster scoring their own children’s games. Parents in this situation are exempted by the Act. Basketball Victoria has not recognised that exemption and requires parents to have the Working with Children Check and to sign the Member Protection Declaration. This is because the Government regards the Working with Children Check as a minimum standard and urges organisations to take other measures. The existing Basketball Victoria Member Protection By-laws now require updating to take into account the recent amendments to the Working with Children Act. This process will take some months. Until these amendments are put in place, parents scoring their own children’s games will not be in breach of the Act or Basketball Victoria By Laws.
Other positions in question include door keepers and canteen staff. These positions have previously required WWCCs, unless there was a supervisor on duty. The recent amendments now require these positions to have a WWCC regardless of whether there is a supervisor present or not. If door keepers and canteen staff are paid, there will be a fee charged to obtain their Working with Children Check. Volunteers do not pay a fee. Referees continue to be regarded as volunteers and are not required to pay a fee.
Furthermore, any person who takes telephone calls from children or sends out newsletters, fixtures or other electronic contact with children will also require a WWCC.
- Associations and clubs need to look at all appointed persons, staff or volunteers, and evaluate whether they need the Working with Children Check under the amended Act;
- Put in place procedures to ensure all of those people have had the check.