Policy

Working with Children - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to The University of Queensland staff, students, job applicants and volunteers to ensure UQ activities are conducted in an environment that is safe for children and young people. The objective is to ensure the University fulfils its responsibilities and obligations under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 and the Regulations (the Act).

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Act - Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000

Blue card - card issued by the PSBA once it has carried out a blue card check to see if a person is eligible to work in the areas of child-related work covered by the Act. If a person is eligible, they are issued a positive notice letter and a blue card

Blue card check (or Working with Children Check) - national check undertaken by the PSBA to determine if a person is eligible to work in the areas of child-related work covered by the Act

Child - an individual who is under 18 years of age

Queensland Public Safety Business Agency (PSBA) - the agency established to provide support services and perform other functions in relation to Queensland government public safety entities

Relevant Executive Officers - the Provost, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and the Pro Vice-Chancellor

Regulated employment - categories of employment regulated by the Act. This does not include all work where there is contact with children

Volunteer - member of the community who provides their services in a voluntary capacity to the University, not for financial reward but who may receive reimbursement for out of pocket expenses. Volunteers are not staff of the University. (See PPL 5.30.14 Volunteers for further information)

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

As an educational and research institution, The University of Queensland, including its staff and students, is subject to the provisions of the Act. However, only persons falling within certain categories of employment regulated by the Act require a blue card.

4. Policy Statement

The University of Queensland is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all members of the UQ community, including children.

The University’s overarching activities of teaching and learning fall under the business category of ‘private teaching, coaching or tutoring.’ As a statutory body established under the University of Queensland Act 1998, the University is classified as an education provider and its primary functions are exempt under the Act.

However, other University activities are considered to be regulated employment under the Act and staff, students and volunteers in these areas are required to undergo a Working with Children Check.

These regulated activities include:

  • health, counselling and support services (e.g. clinics and student services);
  • other private teaching, coaching or tutoring activities;
  • religious representatives;
  • education programs conducted outside of schools (e.g. field trips); and
  • sport and active recreation (e.g. UQ holiday program for children).

Refer to the Blue Card Services website for more detailed information on regulated employment and activities.

5. Delegation

In meeting its obligations under the Act, the Senate has delegated its powers, pursuant to section 11 of the University of Queensland Act 1998, relating to the management and operation of the regulated activities to –

  1. the Provost - in relation to regulated activities conducted by an organisational unit under the control of the Provost, including schools and faculties;
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) – in relation to regulated activities conducted by an organisational unit under the control of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), including the Student Affairs Division; and
  3. the Pro-Vice-Chancellor – in relation to regulated activities conducted by an organisational unit under the control of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, including Gatton Campus.

 In delegating the power to manage and operate regulated activities –

  1. members of Senate and the Vice-Chancellor are not required to hold a blue card and have no power to make child related decisions concerning regulated activities that are not exempt under the Act; and
  2. the Senate must receive an annual report from the Relevant Executive Officers on the management and operation of regulated activities at the University.

6. Risk Management

When undertaking a high risk activity and/or a special event, staff are required to undertake a risk assessment, identifying any specific risky events or activities. Completed risk assessment forms must be kept as a record at the relevant organisational unit. Refer to PPL 1.80.01 Enterprise Risk Management - Policy for more information.

Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)

Procedures

Working with Children - Procedures

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

These procedures outline the blue card requirement for staff, students and volunteers who are or will be working with children and young people. These procedures enact PPL 1.60.07a Working with Children – Policy.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Act - Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act (Qld) 2000

Blue card - card issued by the PSBA once it has carried out a blue card check to see if a person is eligible to work in the areas of child-related work covered by the Act. If a person is eligible, they are issued a positive notice letter and a blue card

Blue card check (or Working with Children Check) - national check undertaken by the PSBA to determine if a person is eligible to work in the areas of child-related work covered by the Act

Child - an individual who is under 18 years of age

Police information – about a person, means the following –

  1. The person’s criminal history;
  2. Investigative information about the person;
  3. Information as to whether the person is or has been –
    1. A relevant disqualified person; or
    2. The subject of an application for a disqualification order; or
    3. Named as the respondent to an application for an offender prohibition order.

Queensland Public Safety Business Agency (PSBA) - the agency established to provide support services and perform other functions in relation to Queensland government public safety entities

Relevant Executive Officers - the Provost, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and the Pro Vice-Chancellor

Regulated employment - categories of employment regulated by the Act. This does not include all work where there is contact with children

Volunteer - member of the community who provides their services in a voluntary capacity to the University, not for financial reward but who may receive reimbursement for out of pocket expenses. Volunteers are not staff of the University.(See PPL 5.30.14 Volunteers for further information)

3.  Procedures Scope/Coverage

As an educational and research institution, The University of Queensland, including its staff and students, is subject to the provisions of the Act. However, only persons falling within certain categories of employment regulated by the Act require a blue card.

4.  Procedures Statement

The University requires that staff, volunteers or students whose activities fall within the meaning of “regulated employment” in the Act or who are required to work in a “regulated business” obtain a blue card. These procedures address how staff, students and volunteers undertake a Working with Children Check to obtain a blue card.

The University’s overarching activities of teaching and learning fall under the business category of ‘private teaching, coaching or tutoring.’  As a statutory body established under the University of Queensland Act 1998, the University is classified as an education provider and its primary functions are exempt under the Act. Staff whose activities fall within this category are not required to hold a blue card.

5.  Who Needs to Apply for a Blue Card?

5.1 Paid staff

Paid staff are required to undergo a Working with Children Check to obtain a blue card if they work, or are likely to work, in regulated employment for at least:

  • eight consecutive days; or
  • once a week, each week, over four weeks; or
  • once a fortnight, each fortnight, over eight weeks; or
  • once a month, each month, over six months.

5.2 Volunteers

Volunteer, unless otherwise exempt under the Act, must be in possession of a blue card prior to commencing their work in regulated employment.

5.3 Students

Students who, (i) are required to undertake a placement course in order to meet the program requirements and (ii) have to work with children as part of the placement, must obtain a blue card before they begin their placement.

5.4 Relevant Executive Officers

Relevant Executive Officers of the University are required to hold a blue card for the term of their employment within the University to the position.

6.  Exemptions

Some people may be exempt from the requirement to obtain a blue card. Exemptions are category specific and some people who are exempt under one category may still require a blue card under another category.

Further information about exemptions is available from the Blue Card Services website or by contacting the Human Resources Division or Academic Administration.

7.  How to Apply for a Blue Card

7.1 Applications

Applications are available from the Blue Card Services website.

7.2 Paid staff

University staff must submit their completed form to their local HR representative. The University will lodge the staff member's completed blue card application form with the PSBA. Staff must lodge the form prior to commencement of duty.

7.3 Students

Students are classified as volunteers and must hold a blue card before they can commence a placement course. Where a blue card is required before a placement can be commenced, the University will apply for a blue card on the student's behalf. Students must submit their completed form to the relevant faculty office at the beginning of the semester prior to the semester in which the placement is to occur.

7.4 Requirements

The application form (see Section 7.1 above) lists the documentation that is required to be submitted with the application.

8.  What if an Application for a Blue Card is Rejected?

8.1 Staff

Staff whose application for a blue card is rejected (negative notice) must immediately inform their supervisor and the Director, Human Resources and cannot undertake work involving children. If a staff member receives a negative notice, the Director, Human Resources will advise the staff member how this will affect their ongoing employment.

8.2 Students

Students whose application for a blue card is rejected (negative notice) must immediately inform the relevant faculty and the head of school as they will not be able to undertake their placement course. If a student's application is rejected, the head of school, in consultation with the relevant faculty, will discuss with the student possible alternative options to complete their program requirements.

9.  Who Meets the Cost of the Working with Children Check?

9.1 Staff

The University will meet the cost of the Working with Children Check for staff obliged to undergo the check to do their work.

9.2 Students

University students are classed as volunteers and are not required to pay a fee to undergo the Working with Children Check.

10.  Offences and Penalties under the Act

10.1 Penalties

Penalties apply for a number of offences under the Act. These are found at http://www.bluecard.qld.gov.au/offences-and-penalties.html

10.2 Change in police information

Staff who have a change to their police information must advise the Director, Human Resources, immediately. The University must not continue to engage the staff member in regulated employment unless a new application for a Working with Children Check is made to the PSBA.

Students who have a change to their police information must advise the Academic Registrar immediately. A change to a student’s police information may affect their placement course.

Further information relating to changes in police information is accessible from the Blue Card Services website at http://www.bluecard.qld.gov.au/criminalHistory.html

10.3 Change to name/contact details

Blue card holders, applicants and those with negative notices must advise the PSBA if their name or contact details change within 14 days of the change.

11.  Further Information

11.1 Staff

Staff who require further information about these procedures should contact their local HR representative.

11.2. Students

Students who require further information about these procedures should contact the Academic Registrar.

Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)

Forms

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Children Event Risk Assessment - Form

Children Event Risk Assessment - Form

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Description: 

Event Risk Assessment Tool to be used when planning UQ events which may involve children.

Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)