Working with children check instruction
At RMIT, we are committed to transforming the Student Experience and we consider all aspects of student life including providing a safe environment. The fact that some of our students are under the age of 18 means that we as an organisation have additional obligations regarding the safety for this segment of our students population.
As a result of the introduction of the Child Safety Standards, which are applicable to all Victorian organisations, the senior executive has taken the decision that from 1 January 2017, all Academic staff (including sessional staff), all VE staff and all student facing professional staff will be required to hold a valid Working With Children Check (WWC check) as a condition of employment with RMIT University.
1. What are the Child Safety Standards?
In 2015 the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic) was amended which resulted in the Minister of Education introducing the Child Safe Standards (CSS) to Victorian organisations. There are seven CSS which are developed to ensure that the safety of children is promoted, child abuse is prevented and allegations of child abuse are properly responded to. The seven CSS are explained in detail on the DHHS website.
Organisations such as ‘post-school education and training providers, including TAFE institutes and universities’ are required to comply with the CSS by 1 Jan 2017.
2. What is a working with children check (WWC check)?
The WWCC pre-dates the CSS and was introduced into Victorian legislation in 2006 as a checking system to help protect children under 18 years from harm. The WWC check helps to keep children safe by screening/ identifying those who potentially pose a risk to the safety of children in either paid or volunteer work.
3. Why do certain staff require a WWC check?
There are seven CSS. Standard number 4 requires organisations to have:
Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel.
One way RMIT University will ensure compliance with the CSS will be to introduce the WWCC as a condition of employment for Academic, VE and all other student facing roles.
4. How is the WWC check be conducted?
- The Department of Justice will search for the following offences or findings: serious sexual offences, serious violence offences, serious drug offences, relevant findings from prescribed professional bodies.
- If a negative notice is issued for incoming (new) staff, Human Resources will provide assistance and advice to the hiring manager about how to deal with the issue. It is unlikely that employment will be offered.
- If a negative notice is issued for existing staff the matter will be managed in a highly confidential environment and the facts of the matter will be discussed and options explored. Ultimately ongoing employment is conditional upon holding a valid WWCC.
- Security of information and confidentiality will be maintained.
5. Can a staff member use a volunteer WWC check?
No, the University requires you to obtain an employer WWC check. However, if you are an existing staff member and you already hold a volunteer WWC check the University will reimburse you the cost of obtaining an employer WWC check.
6. Who requires a WWC check?
RMIT requires anyone who is working with students to have a WWC check. From 1 January 2017, RMIT requires all:
- Academic staff (including sessional staff);
- VE staff (including sessional teachers); and
- student facing professional staff
to hold a valid WWC check as a condition of employment with RMIT University. This includes RMIT Training and RMIT childcare.
Human Resources can also provide advice and assist Heads of School to identify who would require a WWC check.
a) New staff:
- During the recruitment process, Human Resources will work with managers to determine if the new staff member will require a WWC check. If so, the requirement will be built into the position description, the advertisement, the selection process, and incorporated as a condition of employment in the letter of offer and the staff member’s contract.
- New staff will be required to arrange and pay for their own WWC check.
- Staff will be able to commence with the University prior to the findings of the WWC check. However, confirmation of their appointment through probation may be conditional upon a satisfactory WWC check. In the interim, staff need to provide a copy of the application receipt that they retain when they lodge their application with Australia Post. This receipt will need to be submitted on signing of an offer of employment.
b) Casual staff:
- Returning Casuals who worked in 2016 will be considered returning employees for the purposes of the Working with Children Check (WWC Check) and RMIT will pay for their WWC Check if one is required.
7. What happens if a staff member does not pass the check?
If the Department of Justice believes an applicant should not pass the WWC check, they will issue an interim negative notice to the staff member, informing them of:
- the intention to issue a negative notice
- the reason for issuing an interim negative notice, including information about the person’s criminal record that has been considered their opportunity to make a submission to explain to the Department of Justice why they should pass the WWC check WWC check. If a submission is not received within the required time, the staff member will automatically be issued with a negative notice.
RMIT, will also be advised that the staff member has received an interim negative notice and will be given a copy of the notice but will not be provided the details of staff member’s criminal record.
8. What if I am an existing employee and I refuse to undertake the WWC check?
Ultimately employment is conditional upon holding a valid WWC check for the groups of staff identified at point 6 above.
9. Do staff, who have had a Police Records check, have to undergo a WWC check?
Yes, the WWC check is different to a police records check, you will still need to apply for a WWC check even if you have already had a police records check in the past.
Unlike a police check, the WWC check only considers some offences and is valid for five years (unless revoked). During this period, cardholders continue to be checked for new relevant offences or disciplinary findings by professional registration bodies.
10. Requirements in recruitment processes
a) Position description
When considering the requirements of the position, determine whether the incumbent will require a WWC check. If so, include the following in the key selection criteria.
- Satisfactory WWC check
If the incumbent for the position requires a WWC check include the following text in the advertisement:
Appointment to this position is subject to a satisfactory WWC check.
c) Letter of Offer
Where a WWC check is required the letter of offer will include the following statement:
This offer of appointment is made on the condition that a WWC check is provided and a negative notice has not been issued against you. For this purpose please find attached a WWC check application form. If you do not have a current WWC check you are required to obtain one at your expense. Failure to provide results of your WWC check to Human Resources may result in your appointment not proceeding.
In the event that a satisfactory WWC check is not provided your employment will be terminated.