An agreement (written or unwritten) by a person with another person or organisation, to carry out child-related work either for payment or on a voluntary basis.
This is the term used in the WWC legislation to refer to the notice given to a person when their WWC Check has been successful. It allows a person to carry out child-related work in Western Australia for three years across all categories of child-related work from date of issue, unless cancelled. The Assessment Notice comes in the form of a WWC Card, which has a photograph, signature and WWC Card number.
In regards to the WWC Check a “blanket policy” is a policy organisations/employers make that require all their employees to apply for a WWC Check, regardless of whether a person undertakes child-related work or not. When deciding who in their organisation needs a WWC Check an employer must make this decision on a case by case basis. For example, you may employ a number of nurses and not all of them have contact with children, therefore not all of them would be in child-related work. This is important because people who are not in child-related work are by law unable to apply for a WWC Card.
Categories of child-related work
There are 19 categories of “child-related work” in the WWC legislation. A person is only in child related work if their usual duties involve or are likely involve contact with a child in connection with at least one of the categories. Click here to view the full list of categories.
A child is a person under the age of 18 years.
“Child-related business” is defined in the WWC legislation as child-related work carried out by an individual for gain or reward otherwise than in the course of child-related employment. This would include a self employed person, a company director, partner in a business or a Managerial Officer in child- related work.
Child-related employment includes:
a. Child-related work carried out by an individual under a contract of employment or training contract
(whether written or unwritten),
b. Child-related work carried out on a voluntary basis by an individual under an agreement (whether
written or unwritten) with another person, or
c. Child-related work carried out by an individual as a minister of religion or in any other capacity for
the purposes of a religious organisation, or
d. Child-related work carried out by a student with another person that may or must be undertaken
as part of the student's course of study.
Child related work has a specific definition in the WWC legislation. “Work” is child-related if the usual duties of the work involve, or are likely to involve contact with a child in connection with at least one of the 19 categories of child-related work. For the purposes of the WWC legislation volunteers under 18 years of age are exempt from the legislation and not in child-related work.
Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
The Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are Australian external territories in the Indian Ocean, north-west of Australia. They are under the jurisdiction of the Australian Government and are known as the Indian Ocean Territories. The Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 applies to people in child-related work on Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
- Any form of physical contact
- Any form of oral communication, whether face to face, by telephone or otherwise, and
- Any form of electronic communication
But does not include contact in the normal course of duties between an employer and an employee or between employees of the same employer.
An education provider is :
a) a university established or continued under an Act of this State, the Commonwealth, or another
State or a territory; or
b) the university company as defined in the Bond University Act 1987 (Queensland) section 2; or
c) a college or other vocational and training institution as defined in the Vocational Education and
Training Act 1996 section 5(1); or
d) a school specified under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 section 6(1); or
e) an authorised non-university institution, a recognised Australian university or a recognised
overseas university as defined in the Higher Education Act 2004 section 3; or
f) any other provider of an educational or vocational course prescribed by the regulations for the
purposes of this paragraph
Five day threshold and defence
It is an offence to carry out child-related work without a WWC Card. However, the Act allows reasonable flexibility to enable employers/volunteer organisations/education providers to deliver services in unforeseen circumstances, such as the illness of a worker. The 'threshold is different for self employed/volunteers/employees/students and employers/volunteer organisations/education providers.
The five day threshold for employers/volunteer organisations/education providers does not apply to licenced child-care services (who must never engage a person in child-related work without that person first applying for a WWC Check, if they do not already have one). All other employers/volunteer organisations/education providers do not commit an offence if they engage most people for no more than five days in a calender year before that person has applied for a WWC Card. However this five defence does not apply if the employer/volunteer organisation/education provider knows that the person has been convicted of, or has a pending charge for a Class 1 or 2 offence, or has been issued with a Negative Notice, Interim Negative Notice or has withdrawn their application. For more information please read Factsheet 3: Information for Employers and Volunteer Organisations.
For self employed people, volunteers, students and employees, the five day threshold is a 'defence'. It allows most people to be engaged in child-related work on no more than five days during a calendar year without a WWC Check. It also gives self employed/employees/students and volunteers flexibility as they are committing a breach of the Act if they suddenly find that they are required to engage in child-related work, for example if their role changes to include child-related work.
However this defence does not apply to everyone. To view a full list of exclusions please read Factsheet 6: Information for Employees and Volunteers.
If a person does not apply for a WWC Check because they do not work more than five days in a calendar year, they still have requirements under the Act which include to:
- report in writing any relevant change in their criminal record to the WWC Screening Unit and to
- their employer/ volunteer organisation/education provider
- - cease child-related work immediately if convicted of a Class 1 offence as an adult.
The five day threshold is not an exemption from the Act. Self employed people, employees, students and volunteers in child-related work may still apply, and employers/volunteer organisations/education providers can require that they apply for a WWC Check.
Interim Negative Notice
An Interim Negative Notice prohibits a person from undertaking child-related work in Western Australia before a final decision is made by the WWC Screening Unit.
A Negative Notice prohibits a person from undertaking child-related work in Western Australia.
A non-conviction charge is a charge of an offence that has been disposed of by court otherwise than by way of a conviction. Examples of a non-conviction charge include:
- where a person is found not-guilty of a charge for an offence;
- where a charge against a person is withdrawn and does not proceed through court; and
- where a conviction is overturned on appeal.
A “parent” is a person who:
- Is the mother, father, stepfather, stepmother of the child; or
- at law has responsibility for –
the long term care, welfare and development of the child; or
the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the child;
- is in a de facto relationship with a person referred to above; or
- is specified as the child's prospective adoptive parent under the Adoption Act 1994.
A “pending charge” is charge for an offence that has not yet been decided by a court.
Phasing in arrangements
“Phasing in arrangements” was the term used to describe the gradual introduction of the WWC Check across various categories of child-related work once the Act was proclaimed. Employees, self employed people and volunteers who were in child-related work had different “phasing-in arrangements” and were required to apply between 2006 and 2010.
"relative" in relation in relation to a child, means
(a) the child's -
(i) parent, grandparent or other ancestor;
(iii) uncle or aunt;
(v) spouse or de facto partner,
whether the relationship is established by, or traced through, consanguinity, marriage, a de facto
relationship, a written law or a natural relationship;
(b) in the case of a child who is a descendant of Aboriginal people of Australia - a person regarded
under the customary law of tradition of the child's community as the equivalent of a person
mentioned in paragraph (a); or
(c) in the case of a child who is a descendant of the indigenous inhabitants of the Torres Strait
Islands - a person regarded under the customary law or tradition of the Torres Strait Islands as
the equivalent of a person mentioned in paragraph (a).
A relevant change in a person’s criminal record, whether or not that person has a previous criminal record, occurs when a person is charged with or convicted of a Class 1 offence or a Class 2 offence.
A spent conviction is a conviction that a person does not need to ordinarily declare.
A 'student' is a person who:
- is undertaking an educational or vocational course of study with an education provider; and
- may or must undertake child-related work as part of that course.
The Working with Children Screening Unit considers a volunteer to be a person who does child-related work for an employer or organisation for no financial reward. Students on placement over the age of 18, in one of the categories of child-related work are considered to be volunteers.
A person who receives payments that just cover the costs of carrying out their child-related work is considered to receive “no financial reward”. These persons are considered to be volunteers by the WWC Screening Unit.
Before signing the WWC Check Application form, employers and volunteer organisations need to carefully consider whether any amount they pay a person can reasonably be said to be:
- income, or
- payment which only covers costs.
When making this decision employers and volunteer organisations may find it useful to consider the following questions:
- What are the costs to the person providing the work? Their costs may include: costs of
caring for a child (eg. food & clothing), travel expenses, phone calls, uniforms, stationery,
sports equipment and other items if they are necessary to carry out their child-related work.
- Over what period of time is this service provided and the payments made? Eg. If
payment provided to the person is no more than can be reasonably expected to cover the
person’s costs incurred over the year, the person may be considered a volunteer.
- Does the payment a person receives exceed the costs of the person carrying out the
work? If so, they would be considered a paid employee. It is irrelevant whether the work occurs
frequently or infrequently and whether there are small frequent payments or infrequent large
An employer or volunteer organisation may decide that a person receiving a payment is a volunteer. If so, employers and volunteer organisations must keep records to reasonably justify their decisions.
Working with Children Card
A Working with Children Card is the Card issued to a person when their Working with Children Check has been successful. It is also referred to an Assessment Notice (see definition of “Assessment Notice”). The WWC Card includes a photograph, signature, expiry date, WWC Card number and other personal details.
Working with Children Check
A compulsory national criminal record check for certain people who are in child-related work in Western Australia and the territories of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.