Australian employers must ensure that potential hires and staff who work with children and vulnerable people, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity, have the appropriate and valid accreditation according to specific, strict, State-based criteria.
These checks form a critical part of compliance and onboarding processes. If your organisation fails to comply with legislation surrounding working with children or vulnerable people, there may be consequences for both the individual and the organisation, including fines and imprisonment. If you’re seeking to improve and simplify this complicated background screening obligation, then WorkPro can assist.
Who needs a check?
Depending on the Australian State in which the person is working or volunteering, Working With Children and Vulnerable People Checks can be mandatory for many occupational fields, including but not limited to aged care services, child care services, educational institutions, teacher’s aides, counselling or support services for children, paediatric wards, nurses, emergency services personnel, services for addictions and mental health, respite care services, disability services, sporting, recreational or cultural clubs, coaching or tuition services, youth remand, residential, or justice centres, services for homeless people, victims of crime and services for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
What are the complications of requesting, tracking and monitoring these checks?
Implementing a program to administer these checks within any business is not a straight forward process:
- There is no single, national check that covers an individual worker for all Australian States and Territories
- States and Territories have different names for their checks
- States and Territories have their own application processes
- States and Territories may have different checks for both paid and volunteer workers
- Some States provide a physical card, while others supply online recognition only
- Individual registration status may be updated (that is, revoked) at any time throughout the currency period
Why this check is important for business
These types of checks have received increasing attention over the last few years due to a number of Australian Royal Commissions, including The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Working With Children or Vulnerable People Checks are important not only to address current compliance obligations, but also to mitigate risk as it relates to protecting the most vulnerable members of the community. You need to be confident that you are making hiring decisions based on a complete, compliant and independent view of a candidate’s history, and to ensure that their check status remains current while they are engaged by your organisation.
WorkPro can help
WorkPro’s online Working with Children and Vulnerable People Check service allows customers to request candidates to either upload or apply for the relevant State-based check. After “acknowledging” the check as a compliance record, WorkPro can transparently and automatically track expiries, and set auto-reminders for periodic re-checks.
However, checking and acknowledging the card – once – is a gap in any compliance program. On this basis WorkPro also provides the option for employers to formally “verify” the check with the relevant Australian State or Territory authorised body, in a timeframe to suit the business. Verification confirms there has been no change to the card status, ensuring the check hasn’t been revoked or expired, and remains valid for continued currency and compliance.
Finally, WorkPro’s Customer Care Team provides live, Australian based phone and email support, to ensure the rapid resolution of any issues.
With a range of diverse background checks, the ability to collect licences, tickets and documents, and monitor currency and expiry dates, WorkPro is designed to make workforce compliance simple. To find out more, click here.