While 79 per cent of parents and carers trust organisations to actively maintain their Working With Children Checks, new research has revealed only five per cent of organisations are keeping up to date.
The data, from tech-based national verification platform Oho, found that on average three Working with Children Checks were revoked in NSW everyday.
Oho executive director Claire Rogers said as a society, we protect our money better than our kids.
"Credit checks are more thoroughly and actively monitored than working with children checks, and similar accreditations. Most organisations still manage employee checks via spreadsheet or even paper or an erroneous assumption that their HR system does this," she said.
"Too many employers are unaware of their obligations.
"Most have substandard systems for administering registration. They check a worker when first employed, and that's it. Under the Australian Human Rights Commission's National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, employers must ensure all members of their workforce - including paid staff, contractors and volunteers - are suitable and safe. That is a continuous and perpetual obligation."
What is a Working With Children Check?
A Working With Children Check is a requirement for anyone who works or volunteers in child-related work in NSW. It involves a National Police Check (criminal history record check) and a review of reportable workplace misconduct.
Results of a police check can take up to four weeks to be received.
The outcome of a check is either a clearance to work with children or a bar against working with children. If cleared, the check will be valid for five years, however applicants are continuously monitored.
If you're applying because you're a paid employee or self-employed, you will need to pay a fee. If you're a volunteer, a student on a professional placement, potential adoptive parents or an authorised carer, you won't need to pay.
What obligations do employers have?
According to Services NSW if your organisation is involved in child-related sectors of society, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity, you need to ensure that as an employer, you comply with Working With Children Check requirements. These requirements are to ensure that the safety of children is not put at risk.
Child-related sectors include:
- child development
- child protection services
- children's health services
- clubs or other bodies providing services for children
- disability services
- early education and child care
- entertainment for children
- justice centres
- religious services
- residential services
- transport services for children
- youth workers
- school cleaners
As an employer you must:
- register your organisation online with the Office of the Children's Guardian, regardless of whether you were previously registered
- identify which roles in your organisation need a Working With Children Check
- verify all workers have a valid check, including new paid workers before you hire them, and existing workers and volunteers (new and current) before the end of your industry sector's phase-in period
- keep records of each worker's date of birth, check number, verification details and employment status (paid or volunteer)
- ensure no worker with a 'barred', 'interim barred', or 'not found' status is involved in child-related work
- check with the Office of the Children's Guardian to see if your organisation is required to be a reporting body.
Visit www.service.nsw.gov.au for more information.