In NSW, a person who is in a paid position or who volunteers in child-related work is required by law to have a WWCC. In NSW the WWCC is a WWC number and involves a national police check and review of workplace misconduct involving children.
For the purposes of the WWCC the club or association is considered the ‘employer’, even where the club is made up of only volunteers, and as an employer the club has certain responsibilities to the WWCC. Importantly, the club or association must register as an employer on the OCG website.
The purpose of registration as an employer with the OCG is to allow verification of the workers and volunteers WWC numbers. Verifying a person’s number online does two things, firstly, it informs the club if the person is cleared to work with children. Secondly, it ensures that the club will be notified by the OCG if a person’s WWC number is cancelled because they become a barred person.
Ensuring the WWCC is administered correctly is a small part of what you can do to keep kids in your club safe.
Only people in child-related work need to have a WWCC. This means those people at the club who have direct face-to-face contact with children, where that contact is more than incidental will require the check, however, there are exemptions. The OCG website contains resources and information to assist clubs to determine who needs a WWCC.
There are a number of exemptions to the requirement to obtain a WWCC, particularly for people who volunteer in sport.
There are also exemptions for those who help around the club but do not have direct face-to-face contact with children, such as canteen staff or maintenance workers. Exemptions - OCG website .
Give your APP or WWC number, name and date of birth to your club or association to verify the status of your APP or WWC number.
|Application in process||Can commence work with children. A WWCC application is being processed and the applicant may work with children. (If the applicant becomes barred, the OCG will contact you and advise you of what to do next.)|
|Cleared||Can commence work with children. The applicant has a WWC clearance that is valid until the listed expiry date. (All cleared applicants will be subject to ongoing monitoring for new offences and relevant new workplace records. Any new offences can lead to the clearance being cancelled.)|
|Barred||Cannot work with children. The applicant has been barred from working with children and it is an offence to engage this person in child-related work or child-related roles. (The person will be notified in writing. If the bar occurs after the person has had a clearance and the club has verified the person’s APP/WWC number the club will also be notified. Clubs can re-verify a person’s APP/WWC number to confirm the barred status.)|
|Interim Barred||Cannot work with children. The applicant has been barred from working with children whilst awaiting the outcome of a risk assessment. It is an offence to engage this person in child-related work or child-related roles. (A clearance may still occur but until such times it is an offence to engage this person in child-related work or child-related roles. The person will be notified in writing). If the club has verified the person’s APP/WWC number the club will also be notified.|
|Not found||Cannot work with children. The database cannot find a matching WWCC. Please call the OCG (02) 9286 7219. It is an offence to engage this person in child-related work or child related roles. A check may not be found for any one of these reasons:
|Closed||Cannot work with children. The applicant’s check has been closed. Please call the OCG (02) 9286 7219. It is an offence to engage this person in child-related work or child-related roles.
(The person may have requested to withdrawal their application or it may have been closed by the OCG. The person will need to reapply)
|Expired||Cannot work with children. The applicant does not have a current Working With Children Check and may not work with children. Please call the OCG (02) 9286 7219. It is an offence to engage this person in child-related work or child-related roles (The person has not renewed their WWCC in the required timeframe and will need to reapply).|
A WWCC clearance lasts for five years and must be renewed before the expiry date to remain in child related work. If your details are up to date, individuals with a current WWCC clearance will receive an email from the OCG to renew their check, three months prior to the expiry date.
Step 1 - To renew your WWCC firstly, go to the OCG website and update your details (if they have changed).
Step 2 - Complete the renewal application online through the OCG website.
Step 3 - Give your WWC number, name and date of birth to your club or association for verification.
The OCG website provides a step by step guide. Here are the key steps:
Step 1 - Register your organisation online through the OCG website. Ensure your organisation doesn’t have a registration already. (If administrators have left and not provided passwords please contact the OCG customer service line on 02 8219 3600 to gain access to your employer registration. Please do not register a second account).
Step 2 - Identify two (senior) people as suitable contacts (best practice would be to include your associations MPIO as one of the contacts).
Step 3 - Identify the roles and individuals who require a WWCC, noting where exemptions apply.
Step 4 - Verify online, the WWC number (or APP number) of every child-related worker/volunteer. DO NOT rely on a notification or email from a worker/volunteer.
Step 5 - Maintain records relating to the WWCC.
Step 6 - Develop a policy and procedure for administering the WWCC including how to manage notifications from the OCG that a person is barred.
The employer has a legal obligation to verify the WWC number online. Failing to verify an APP/WWC number may mean the club is not notified if a person becomes a barred person. A person who is disqualified as a result of a risk assessment will not receive a WWC number. Offences exist for employers who fail to verify a WWC number.
You must verify a person’s WWC number before they begin child-related work. You do not need to re-verify each year if the person remains with the club but you do have to monitor the expiry date (a WWC number lasts five years). You also have to re-verify the worker when they have renewed their check.
Employers have legal responsibilities to maintain records relating to verification. Records that indicate which workers are exempt are also required in the event that you are audited by the OCG.
Penalties may apply for employers who fail to verify workers who are in child related employment without reasonable excuse.
Receiving a barred notification can be difficult for members at the club to action. Often the barred person is a member of the community or may even be a friend of the club. Clubs should refer to their association, peak body or Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO) for help with managing a barred notification.
A club cannot allow a barred person to continue in child-related work and the person must stop working in a child-related role immediately. Fines apply for employers who engage a barred (or interim barred) worker in child related work. It is also important to recognise that the outcome of a WWCC is private information and should not be discussed in an open forum.
In NSW, a report should be made to Family and Community Services if you suspect that a child or young person is at risk of harm. This means you have current concerns for the safety, welfare or well-being of a child or young person. To make a report, you don’t have to be certain, you only need to make sure your concerns are well founded and based on information you know or have from a reliable source.
If you believe a child is in immediate danger or in a life-threatening situation, contact the NSW Police immediately by dialing 000.
Anyone who suspects, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person is at risk of harm should report it to the Child Protection Helpline on phone 132 111, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You should also consult with your organisation and peak body to ensure internal reporting requirements are met.
Organisations that provide services to children must commit to creating and maintaining safe environments in which children can participate. Good child safe policies and practices are the best way to reduce potential environmental risks and keep kids safer. The child safe approach includes supervision and education of both paid and unpaid staff about appropriate and acceptable behaviour around children.
The Office of the Children’s Guardian encourages organisations to use a range of responses to manage the potential risks in their individual environments, including meeting their WWCC legal obligations. While a criminal history check can be an important tool in an organisation’s approach to being ‘child safe’, they cannot identify people who have not previously been caught or are yet to offend. Implementing effective child safe policies and practices is the best way for an organisation to protect the children they are involved with.
The new Children’s Guardian Act 2019 came into effect on the 1 March 2020. The Act consolidates the functions of the Children’s Guardian and expands them to include the reportable conduct scheme, who have joined the team from the NSW Ombudsman office. Some changes to reportable conduct may be relevant for sporting organisations, for further information on Reportable Conduct contact: [email protected]
Read more on each and get tools and templates to help, on the Office of the Children's Guardian website.
The Office of Sport also provides training for clubs and associations on how to create safer sport environments for children.
Updated: October 2018