In last week’s article, we looked at the types of work that require a working with children check clearance. If you missed it, you can find a copy on our website www.kennyspring.com.au.
As a business owner, once you have decided that one of your workers IS engaging in child-related work, you are required to obtain and verify the working with children number of the worker's clearance.
Verification must be done by using the online verification system on the Office of the Children’s Guardian website. It is not enough to rely on a printed-out confirmation letter from a worker as proof of their clearance, as that letter could be doctored by the worker. This process also connects workers to employers, which allows the Office of the Children’s Guardian to immediately notify an employer if a worker becomes barred for any reason.
You must also keep a record of the expiry date for a worker’s clearance. While the Office of the Children’s Guardian will remind the worker to renew their clearance 90 days before it is due to expire, they will not give that same reminder to you and they will not notify you if a worker’s clearance does in fact expire. It is your responsibility to ensure that you diarise the expiry date and ensure that the worker has a renewed clearance (which you have verified) before that expiry date. We recommend following this up with workers 2-3 months before the expiration date.
As well as being liable for the significant penalties set out in last week’s article, there is a risk of being liable in negligence for any harm that is caused to a child by a worker who did not have a clearance, as it is your responsibility as a business owner to ensure that clearances are checked and up to date.
For these reasons, we recommend that you speak to our expert Business Law team if you are unsure as to whether or not your workers require a clearance or if you are uncertain of your verification obligations, record-keeping obligations, or other legal obligations. You can contact us in Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon on 1800 650 656. We’re here to help!
Aaron Strickland | Solicitor