Working With Children Check compliance program
Employers and self-employed people in child-related work must take steps to ensure that their workers are cleared to work with children. The Working With Children Check in NSW is an online system and requires organisations to comply with the requirements of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 and its Regulation 2013.
The Office of the Children’s Guardian monitors and audits organisations to ensure they are meeting their obligations to the Act and Regulation. Below is information about the Working With Children Check compliance and monitoring program, and references to useful tools and resources including information on being child safe.
Why have I been selected as part of your compliance program?
Each year the Office of the Children’s Guardian works with child-related employers to ensure they understand and have applied their obligations to the Act and Regulation. You may have been selected because we have chosen to work with your sector or industry or it may be that you were chosen at random.
What happens during the compliance process?
We will contact you to establish if you are providing services to children, this could be by telephone, email or post. This process may be followed up with a request for you to complete some information using the audit templates<link> provided. It may also include a visit to your organisation by compliance officers who will help you to ensure your organisation has met its obligations to the Act and Regulation.
The main purpose of the audit is to help employers and workers understand and comply with their legal responsibilities. While offences and fines exist for non-compliance, the purpose of the audit is to work with organisations to protect children.
Here is the current compliance plan. (PDF 234.6KB)
Do I have to take part or can I refuse?
Refusing to participate in the audit may lead to the organisation receiving a fine for non-compliance with the Act. The purpose of the audit is to help you understand what you need to do to meet your obligations to the Act and Regulation. Under Section 39 of the Act, the Office of the Children’s Guardian has certain powers to monitor and audit compliance with the Act and Regulation.
I received an email about the compliance audit - what do I need to do next?
In your email you may have received an excel template that asks for the details of workers in child-related work. You must complete and return this template by the date specified in your email. We will use this information to compare against the data we hold on the Working With Children Check database.
If we find that there are workers who do not have a WWC number, or you (as the employer) have failed to verify the WWC numbers of your workers, you will be required to correct this immediately. Once all errors have been rectified your matter will be closed. We will retain this information to assist in developing future monitoring programs.
What happens if I am found to be non-compliant?
If you are not doing everything you need to do, we will provide you with information about what to do next. You will also be given a timeline within which to become compliant.
If you do not comply according to the timeline, the matter can escalate and penalties may apply. We may also inform other regulatory organisations.
Penalties for non-compliance can be found in the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012.
I'm an employer, how do I know if I am compliant?
You are compliant if:
- You have identified the roles within the organisation that perform child-related work
- You have informed all workers in child-related work of their requirement to have a Working With Children Check (WWC number).
- You have verified the WWC number of a new worker before they start work
- You ensure the worker holds the appropriate class of clearance (volunteer or paid worker)
- Your organisation is registered as an employer with the Office of the Children’s Guardian
- Through that registration you have verified the WWC numbers of those workers you have engaged
- You have kept records of verifications (according to what is required in the Act)
- You have immediately removed the worker from child-related work when notified of a barred or interim barred status, either through verification or by notice from the Office of the Children’s Guardian,
- You correctly apply the exemptions and exclusions in the Act and Regulation.
While it is not a requirement of the legislation, it is considered best practice to have a Working With Children Check Policy <link to template> that outlines your organisation's policy and procedures in relation to the Working With Children Check.
More information on an employer’s steps towards compliance is available at kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/check/child-related-employers
I'm a sole trader, do I have to register as an employer?
A sole trader can either work alone or employ other workers to work with children, like a coach or a tutor. In either case a sole trader must register their business as an employer in child-related work. If you are a sole trader who works alone, you must register as an employer and verify your own WWC number. You should also provide the number to parents who engage your services directly and provide them with your surname and date of birth to allow them to verify your WWC number.
If you also employ other workers, the registration is used to verify your own and other workers’ WWC numbers. You must keep records of all verifications.
I'm an applicant, how do I know if I am compliant?
You are compliant if you have done all of these things:
- applied for a WWC number before beginning child-related work
- applied for the correct class of clearance (volunteer or paid worker) for the work you are doing
- provided your employer with your WWC number or APP number if you haven’t yet received a WWC number.
Every adult in child-related work in NSW, paid or volunteer, must have a Working With Children Check (unless subject to an exemption).
What is a child-related employer?
Section 6 of the Act provides a definition of child-related work. In general terms, a child-related employer is an organisation (or individual) that engages one or more workers in child-related work that involves direct face-to-face or physical contact with children, including online mentoring, that is more than incidental:
An employer is defined as:
- a person who, in the course of business, arranges for the placement of a person in employment with others
- a person who engages a person under a contract to perform work
- a person who engages a worker to perform work as a volunteer for the person under an agreement (whether written or unwritten).
More information on child-related employment can be found at kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/check/child-related-employers
Tools and templates you can use