Volunteers & amendments to Working with Children laws

  • by Volunteer Hub
  • November 29, 2016

Amendments were introduced recently to the Act behind the Working With Children (WWC) Check in NSW.

The WWC Check is a requirement for people who work or volunteer in child-related work. It involves a national criminal history check and a review of findings of workplace misconduct.

One of the changes that may affect volunteer services is the introduction of a ‘reasonable person test’. This means that a WWC clearance or enabling order cannot be granted unless the Guardian or Tribunal respectively is satisfied that a reasonable person would allow his or her child to have direct contact with the affected person who was not directly supervised.

The WWC Check applies equally to paid staff as to volunteers, although there is no application fee for volunteers.

Some exemptions exist for people who undertake administrative, clerical, maintenance or ancillary work not ordinarily involving contact with children for extended periods, as well as for people whose work involves very short term and minimal direct contact with children, or is supervised when children are present.

Under the Act a child is a person under the age of 16 years (under 15 years for the purposes of employment).

Where a WWC Check involves a scan of a person’s national criminal record for findings relevant to their role with children, an additional Police Check may be required, for example, where the volunteer has access to cash or valuables (the Police Check will report on theft and fraud offences) or if the volunteer has driving responsibilities (the Police Check will report on drink-driving offences).

In NSW the WWC Check is administered by the Office of the Children’s Guardian.


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