Welcome to the third edition of the Child Safe Sport Newsletter. Continuing our FAQ Series, SportWest partnered with the Working with Children Screening Unit in an attempt to provide clear answers to a number of questions frequently asked about WWC Checks in Sport.
FAQ #3:  WWC Checks – When to Apply and Renew (including during the COVID-19 pandemic)

When does a person require a WWC Check?

Each State and Territory in Australia has laws to determine when a person needs a WWC Check.  In Western Australia and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, a person requires a WWC Check if they do pay or voluntary ‘child-related work’.  It is an offence for a person to carry out child-related work without having applied for or holding a current WWC Card.

Where services are provided to children, both organisations and individuals must determine if the work is ‘child-related work’ as defined in Section 6 of the WWC Act and if a WWC Check is needed.

When to apply?

If you have an employee, volunteer or student, who is going to be engaging in child-related work for your organisation, they should apply for a WWC Check when they are about to start their work. Once you have an agreement with them (whether written or unwritten) which includes them undertaking any child-related work, they are in ‘child-related employment’.  You must sign their WWC Check application form, certifying their child-related work with your organisation.  As their ‘employer’ you will be notified of the outcome of their Check.

When to apply during COVID-19? COVID-19 restrictions mean many sporting activities have been suspended or delayed. If your staff or volunteers are not currently engaging in child-related work, then there is no requirement for them to lodge their Working with Children (WWC) Check application right now.  Once restrictions are lifted and your sport recommences, they can lodge their application before starting their child-related work.

Working on receipt

Once an applicant has lodged their WWC Check application form at an authorised Australia Post outlet, you must site their receipt and record this information.  In most cases, a pending application allows them to start child-related work. However, if the individual has a conviction for a Class 1 offence committed when an adult or has a current Interim Negative Notice or Negative Notice, they must not do so.

Planning for future events where the person will need a WWC Card

Common question associations and clubs ask when planning to engage a person in child-related work in the future is how much time in advance should the person apply for the WWC Check? For example:

A parent volunteer team manager, normally exempt, is taking a group of children away for competition and this will include overnight accommodation. The category of child-related work that applies is category 15: an overnight camp and the parent volunteer exemption does not apply. The parent volunteer needs a WWC Check. In this situation, when planning for the upcoming event, you could request the volunteer apply one month before the trip.

When to renew a WWC Card?

A WWC Card is valid for three years unless the WWC Screening Unit or cardholder cancels the Card earlier. Cardholders who are intending to continue their child-related work must renew before their Card expires.

Your organisation should remind staff and volunteers to renew one month before their card expires.  To make it easy for eligible cardholders to renew online, include the details of your club’s authorised representative (including their email address).

Cardholders can renew by submitting an online renewal form, if eligible or by completing an Application for a Working with Children Check form and lodging it at an authorised Australia Post outlet.  If their WWC Card expires before they renew, then they are no longer eligible to renew online and must lodge another application at Australia Post.

What to do when someone leaves?

If the person leaves and is no longer in child-related work with your organisation, you can let the WWC Screening Unit know. The WWC Card Registration Form on WWC Check website allows you to update the Unit when you have a new staff/volunteer who has a WWC Card from a previous employer and when a person is no longer working for you.

You must ensure that staff and volunteers undertaking child-related work have applied for or hold current WWC Cards.
Organisations can seek further guidance from the WWC Screening Unit.  The Unit encourages all organisations to act in good faith and keep records of all decisions.

The Child Safe Sport Newsletter provides an overview.  We encourage you to seek further advice about your individual situation and not rely solely on information covered in this newsletter.