As an organisation, you need to understand your obligations. You must:
- not engage or continue to engage anyone in child-related work who doesn’t have a valid Working with Children (WWC) Check, unless they are exempt under the (the Act) or have lodged an application for a Check that’s currently being assessed (subject to the below)
- not engage or continue to engage anyone who would otherwise be exempt from holding a valid Check, if they have received a WWC Exclusion and not subsequently received a Check
- not engage or continue to engage anyone in child-related work who is subject to obligations or orders specified in clause 1 of Schedule 5 of the Act
- not allow people who are charged with, convicted or found guilty of sexual, violent or drug offences specified in clause 2 of Schedule 5 of the Act to work with or care for children while their application is processed or their Check reassessed
- not offer the services of any person who doesn’t have a Check to another organisation if the work to be undertaken with that organisation is child-related work
- know how to check if a person is allowed to work with children while their application is processed by using
- know how to check if a person has a valid Check by using
- ensure paid workers doing child-related work have an Employee Check, not a Volunteer Check
- know when your workers’ Checks expire, and
- respect and protect workers’ privacy.
What happens if one of my workers fails the Check?
To keep children safe from harm, you must know what to do if one of your workers has their Check suspended or revoked, or is issued with a WWC Exclusion.
Revoked or suspended Check
If your worker’s Check is suspended or revoked, they won’t be able to legally do child-related work for your organisation. We’ll notify you in writing of the suspension or if their Check has been revoked, and advise you on the next steps you and your worker will need to take.
Failing the Check
Your worker will fail the Check if we determine, upon application, that they must be refused a Check in accordance with the Act, or if they pose an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children.
We’ll issue them with a WWC Exclusion, but must give the individual a chance to respond to the proposed WWC Exclusion before issuing a final decision. From there, they may have the opportunity to apply to VCAT for a review or to get a WWC Clearance.
A person cannot apply to VCAT to review the department’s decision if they have at any time been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a and were an adult at the time of the offence or alleged offence.
Receiving a WWC Exclusion
If your worker receives a WWC Exclusion, we’ll let you know. By law, they must also tell you in writing within seven days of the date they are given the Exclusion. Please note you won’t be told the reason for the WWC Exclusion. Once issued, they’re not allowed to do any child-related work effective from the date listed on the Exclusion.
If your worker isn’t granted a Check after applying to VCAT, they can’t apply for a Check again for five years after the date of the Exclusion, unless their circumstances change.
What if my organisation is non-compliant?
Your organisation has certain responsibilities under the Act, and if you don’t meet these responsibilities or don’t comply, there may be consequences and you might be subject to a penalty. This applies for both individuals and organisations who breach the Act.
Legislation for organisations
At a minimum, organisations must meet their legal obligations to ensure individuals are suitable for child-related work as determined under the (as outlined above in 'Your obligations'). If your organisation would like to have stricter rules in place, they have the right to add further regulations to internal HR policies at their own discretion, subject to other applicable laws.
Limitation of right to appeal
Under the Act, adults charged with, or found guilty of, the most serious Category A offences which include murder, rape and sexual offences committed against a child have a limited right to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for review of a decision to reject their Working with Children Check application.
Writing your own HR policy
As an employer, you may rely on our to determine whether your worker needs a Check. However, you can also create your own HR policy as long as the minimum requirements under the Child Safe Standards, obligations under the and any other applicable laws have been met.
Child Safe Standards
In line with your organisation’s legal obligations, you must also have sound practices in place to check a person’s job references and monitor employee behaviour around children in your care.
Organisations that provide services or facilities for children, or employ children to provide goods or services, whether paid or unpaid usually must comply with the that were introduced as part of the Victorian Government's response to the and have been recommended by the .
Reviewed 30 May 2023