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Safety Checking of Children's Workers

Information from Children’s Action Plan Directorate
17th April 2015

On 1 July 2015 the first phase of new improved safety checking of people who work with children comes into force. New government regulations made under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 will require State-funded organisations who work with children to have all their paid children’s workforce safety checked.

The regulations and accompanying information to support compliance will be published at the end of May and are likely to include requirements for:

  • identity verification
  • reference checks, interviews, Police vetting, and seeking information from professional bodies (as relevant)
  • considered judgment 
  • periodic re-checking every three years

We’re phasing the safety checking requirements in over three to four years to give people time to have all their workforce checked.

Phase one on 1 July will require State-funded employers to ensure core children’s workers starting a job with them as employees or contractors are safety checked before they start work.

Core children’s workers work alone with, or have primary responsibility or authority over, children. Examples of roles that may meet these definitions include teachers, nurses and youth counsellors.
Safety checking requirements will be staggered for State-funded children’s workers: 

  • 1 July 2016 new non-core workers starting a job or contract
  • 1 July 2018 existing core workers (i.e., those currently employed, or engaged as a contractor) 
  • 1 July 2019 existing non-core workers

Government agencies will be taking an educative approach to supporting compliance, not a punitive one, although organisations that put children at risk may be prosecuted.

From 1 July 2015, the Act will also prohibit people with certain child abuse, sexual offending or violence convictions from working in core worker roles (these are specified in Schedule Two of the Act).
Anyone convicted of the listed offences won’t be able to work in core children’s worker roles unless they are granted an exemption.

For more information, please visit the Children's Action Plan website.