This report contains the findings from our audit on how 3 large public entities manage their obligations under the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004. It follows our October 2019 audit on how the Department of Communities administers the Working with Children Check process.
Working with Children Checks are an important part of every organisation’s suite of controls to protect the children in their care. The public has every right to expect that public sector entities demonstrate the highest standards in implementing these controls to help keep children safe.
We found all the entities we audited understand the need for Working with Children Checks, and they had some systems in place to administer their obligations. However, we found gaps in processes, errors in record keeping, and shortcomings in performance monitoring. These gaps increase the risk that entities may not be able to ensure everyone who needs a Working with Children card, has one.
In this report, we have opted to de-identify the findings to allow us to progress the audit, while reducing pressure on agencies at the frontline of the State’s COVID-19 response. We have provided each entity with detailed findings relevant to their organisation, so they are aware of the gaps in their systems and can take appropriate action. Entities’ audit committees should monitor the timely implementation of those actions and my Office may conduct a follow-up audit in due course.
The issues we found serve as timely reminders. I encourage all organisations who work with children, public sector or otherwise, to consider the findings in this report. All entities should review their Working with Children control environment and where necessary implement the recommendations. This will help to ensure organisations are meeting their obligations to help keep children safe.