A new Working With Children Check for paid employees in child related employment will commence in New South Wales on 15th June 2013. Eventually, this same check will apply to volunteers in Scouting. The Commission for Children and Young People will phase in the WWC checks for volunteers over a planned timeframe. Scouts Australia NSW will advise its Members of the commencement date for this check when confirmed by the Commission.
What is a Working with Children Check?
Under the current system, NSW law requires that all applicants for child-related paid employment obtain a pre-employment check. A person who has been convicted or found guilty of a listed serious offence against children (whether in NSW or elsewhere) is prohibited from child-related employment.
The current check applies to paid employees only.
It is facilitated by the NSW Commission for Children and Young People.
What about volunteers?
Under the current system, volunteers who work with children must sign a Volunteer/Student Declaration.
For applicant Scout Leaders, the declaration can be located on the Scouts Australia NSW website and is called the "M5 Form" or "PED".
NSW law states that it is an offence for prohibited persons to apply for child-related employment in any capacity, whether paid or volunteering.
So what is the new check?
Under the new system, the same Working With Children Check will apply to everyone- both employees and volunteers.
Employees and volunteers will apply for their own check once every five years and they may not commence working/volunteering until they have received a clearance.
The check will produce one of two outcomes- a clearance or a bar. Individuals who receive a bar may not work or volunteer in a child-related role.
What does the check look for?
The check is different from the NSW Police Record Check, which Scouts Australia NSW has been conducting on applicant Leaders for decades. The Police Record Check obtains an applicant's criminal history in New South Wales.
The new Working With Children Check will obtain and assess an applicant's full federal criminal history, amongst other material.
If an applicant has no criminal history they will be cleared to work with children. Other applicants may be cleared to work with children after an assessment of their record.
Some offences may lead to a bar from working with children. Such offences include the murder or manslaughter of a child, intentional harm of a child, and any sexual offence committed against a child.
Everyone with a clearance will be continuously monitored for serious offences.
What is a bar?
If the check determines that the applicant presents a serious risk to children, they will be barred from working with children. The organisation they have applied to work/volunteer for cannot accept their application.
How much will it cost?
The new check will be free for volunteers and cost $80 for paid employees.
What does this mean for me as a Leader?
All applicant Leaders and current Leaders will be required to undertake this check.
The commencement date of 15th June 2013 applies to applicants for paid employment. From 15th June, individuals who are starting a new paid role in child-related work must apply for the check before starting their new role. Volunteers do not need to apply for the check straight away.
Volunteers and individuals currently working in paid child-related roles will be "phased in" over the next five years. Different industry sectors will be phased in at different times.
We will let you know about the phase in dates for Scouts Australia NSW volunteers when we're able to.
Will I need two clearances if I am a volunteer and an employee in child-related employment?
Individuals who have received a clearance in their capacity as an employed person will not also need to be cleared as a volunteer.
Individuals who have been cleared as a volunteer will need to apply for a separate check if they apply for child-related employment.
How will Scouts Australia NSW manage this change?
This is a big change for Scouts Australia NSW and we are creating an action plan for how we will implement the new system. We have been liaising with the Commission for their guidance on this.
When will we know more?
As Scouts Australia NSW is given further information about the new system, it will disseminate this information to Members, in order that all applicants, current Leaders and parents understand their responsibility under the new system.
Where can I find out more?
If you have questions about this new system feel free to direct them to Buffy Gilbert, Human Resources Advisor at State Office, on
The NSW Commission for Children and Young People also provides more detailed information on their website: www.kids.nsw.gov.au.