New Working With Children Check to begin June 15
The new NSW Working With Children Check will begin on June 15 2013 and be phased in over a five year period. This new check applies to all those directly working with children, both paid workers and volunteers. The clearance numbers issued through this check are valid up to 5 years.
From June 15 2013, this new legislation puts the onus on individuals to apply for their own working with children clearance, and then employers/organisations must verify an individual’s clearance number. An individual cannot begin in a new role until clearance has been received.
All new employees to be engaged on or after June 15 2013 will need to apply for a clearance number under the new working with children check BEFORE commencing in child-related work.
New volunteers will continue to use the existing manual ‘Volunteer declaration’ (unless deemed high risk volunteer circumstances) until their existing counterparts are phased in. In the majority of cases this will be during 2014.
For existing employees and volunteers, you may not need to apply straight away. The new check will be phased in over 5 years, by sectors. For religious organisations such as the UnitingChurch, Ministers and Pastors are to be phased in during 2013, while other employees and volunteers working with children are to be phased in during 2014.
Applying for clearance under the new Working With Children Check is a two step process. The first step of application can be completed online, or over the phone (where the phone operator will complete the online form on your behalf). This system will not be operational until June 15 2013. You cannot apply before that date, or before your sector is phased in.
For example, a volunteer SRE teacher will not be able to apply for clearance under the new check until on or after January 1 2014, when “Religious Services (children’s services)” sector begins phase in. Whereas a Minister can apply on or after June 15 2013 but NO later than December 31 2013, as this is the required phase in period for “Religious Services (Ministers, etc).
The second step is to take the application number to a motor registry or government access centre, pay the fee (if applicable) and have your identity confirmed (you will need to take appropriate identification with you). The new check will be free for volunteers and cost $80 for paid workers and self-employed people. A volunteer Check cannot be used for paid work with children.
The Synod is currently formulating a “Background Check” Policy that will have application to all UnitingChurch organisations within the bounds of the Synod. This policy will be released shortly. Further advice will also be given before June 15 as to the process of registering as a child-related employer, if applicable, for the purpose of verifying clearance numbers.
Commission for Children and Young People is offering local briefing sessions on the new working with children check – face-to-face briefing and Q&A sessions as well as online ‘webinars’. Those who have already attended the briefing sessions across the state have found them very useful clarification. There are also a collection of helpful Downloadable Fact Sheets from the Commission website.
Any further questions?
Vicki Roper – Employment & Industrial Relations Manager (Uniting Resources) – 02 8267 4365; firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Parr – SafeChurch Training Coordinator (Uniting Mission & Education) – 02 8267 4290; email@example.com
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