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Working with Children Check FAQs

<p>Working with Children Check, WWCC</p>

On 1 July 2019, a Working with Children Check (WWCC) became a mandatory requirement for anyone in South Australia who works with children.

Teachers due to renew 

Teachers who are due to renew by 31 December 2021 should consider applying for a WWCC now as they can take more than 6 weeks to be issued. Teachers will not be able to lodge their renewal application form without a current WWCC.

You will need to apply for a WWCC through the Central Assessment Unit of the Department of Human Services before you lodge your renewal application.

Holders of a current DHS Child-related Screening Clearance

You are deemed to hold a WWCC for the period the DHS Child-related Screening Clearance (DHS Clearance) is valid. Prior to the expiry of this check, you will be required to apply for a WWCC.

If you have a valid working with children check or a DHS child-related screening clearance that you obtained as a student or for volunteering purposes, it can be used for teacher registration.

However, if you start paid work that requires a working with children check, you need to apply for a new working with children check within 28 days of starting the paid work. You only need to do this if the paid work with children will be for more than seven days in a calendar year.

Before you start your application, check with your organisation if they are paying for the new check or if it is your responsibility.

You must apply for a WWCC through the Central Assessment Unit of the Department of Human Services. WWCC are valid for five years from the date of issue. Please contact the CAU with all enquiries about applying for a WWCC.

The Working with Children Check is a new requirement under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 Act to further improve checks on people who work or volunteer with children.

A WWCC is an ongoing assessment of a person's eligibility to work or volunteer with children and involves a check of person's national criminal history (including all spent convictions, pending and non-conviction charges) and other disciplinary and police information.

It is a prevention and monitoring system of people working with children in South Australia and enables immediate action to be taken if a person is charged with a concerning offence.

As a result of the 2016 Nyland Royal Commission into child protection, the South Australian Government introduced the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016. The Working with Children Check (WWCC) is a new requirement brought in under this Act, to further improve checks on people who work or volunteer with children.

The purpose of the WWCC is to contribute to the creation of safe and supportive environments for children and young people when receiving services and participating in activities which are essential to their development and wellbeing.

You will not be required to have a WWCC while your DHS clearance is valid. Prior to the DHS clearance expiring you will need to apply for a Working with Children Check.

Yes. A requirement for teacher registration under Part 5, section 21 of the Teachers Registration and Standards Act 2004 (the Act), is that an applicant is a fit and proper person to be registered as a teacher. In fulfilment of this duty the Board has been given the ability to screen, monitor and assess the suitability of people to be, or continue to be, registered teachers.

A Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (police check) is conducted as part of the Board’s duty to ensure that only fit and proper persons are, and continue to be, registered as teachers.

The Board will continue its current assessment processes which are in addition to the WWCC, such as offences such as fraud, drug related; incapacity or health concerns; teaching incompetence.

A Police Check is a collation of police and conviction history information about an individual that has been determined releasable by Australia’s police agencies. The police check involves processing an individual’s biographic details, including name and date of birth, against information held by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) through the National Police Checking Service Support System.

The Board is an accredited body pursuant to its Agreement with ACIC. This means that police check information is disclosed directly to the Teachers Registration Board by the (ACIC).

Police checks are important because they help protect the community by providing accredited bodies like the Teachers Registration Board with information to inform decision making. They are used by the Board to ensure applicants are of good character and they minimise the risk of granting registration to an unsuitable person.

Police checks are valid at the time the information is released by police.

The Working with Children Check and a Police Check are two different checks.

Part 2 – Objects, principles and guidelines of the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016, Section 3 – Object and principles, part 4 (c) states:

 (4) The following principles must be taken into account in connection with the administration, operation and enforcement of this Act:

        (c) a working with children check is not a determination of a person's suitability to work with children and                   cannot be relied on as such, and in particular—

                         (i) a working with children check that does not result in a person being prohibited from working                                 with children is not proof of good character; and

                        (ii) a working with children check that does not result in a person being prohibited from working                                 with children is not proof that the person does not pose a risk to children;

Question

Working with Children Check

Police Check

How does it work?

The Working with Children Check is an ongoing assessment of a person’s eligibility to work or volunteer with children based on their known past police and disciplinary information.

A Police Check is only current at the time of issue and is a list of offences from a person’s criminal history which can be disclosed.

There is no assessment or investigation made by a government agency.

What does it check?

The WWCC involves an assessment of information to ensure a person’s fitness to work with children. For example:

  • child protection information
  • disciplinary action
  • spent convictions
  • information sourced from professional registration bodies
  • pending charges
  • findings of guilt as well as non-conviction charges
  • the context and circumstances of any offending
  • the seriousness and relevance of any conviction(s).

 

The WWCC also includes a check of a person’s national criminal history (including withdrawn, spent1, non-convictions), charges (including pending2, withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted) and non-conviction3 charges), and other disciplinary and police information. This information is collected from sources in Australia.

This information is only disclosed to the Board if it relates to a person’s fitness to work with children. Under the CAU agreement with ACIC, matters relating to fitness and probity revealed in this check are not disclosable to any other organisation including the Teachers Registration Board.

For example, if a teacher who applies for a WWCC has been charged with defrauding a school, the CAU would not be able to disclose this to the Board and the person would still be issued a WWCC as this charge does not relate to the person’s fitness to work with children. However, the Board does need this information as this is a matter of fitness and probity concerning their suitability to be a registered teacher, therefore, the Board conducts their own police check.

To find out further details on what the WWCC assesses, visit the DHS website here.

The Police Check helps the Board ensure that only fit and proper persons are, or continue to be, registered as teachers.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and other Australian Police Agencies will disclose to the Board, police history information that pertains to you from their own records including some spent convictions.

How far back does the check go?

The check considers all relevant offences across a person’s lifetime.

Some offences cannot be disclosed, depending on when they were committed.

How long is it valid?

A Working with Children Check is valid for five years unless suspended or cancelled.

Only current at the time of issue.

Are criminal records monitored?

Yes. Ongoing monitoring of WWCC holders and applicants is conducted which enables action to be taken to protect children and young people if the person is charged with a concerning offence, including the cancelling of a check.

No. A police check is a point of time check. A new police check will be needed to show any new offences.

Notes:

A spent conviction is one that does not need to be ordinarily declared.

A pending charge is a charge that has not yet been decided by a court.

A non-conviction charge is a charge that has been finalised by a court but did not result in a conviction. For example, a charge: that has been withdrawn; that has been the subject of a nolle prosequi; a no true bill or a submission of no evidence to offer; that led to a conviction that was quashed on appeal; or upon which a person was acquitted or disposed of by a court otherwise than by way of conviction.