Working with Children Checks – Follow-Up

Audit finding – Communities does not ensure its own compliance with the WWC Check legislation

Communities does not know the total number of its employees who require a WWC Card. Since the Machinery of Government changes in July 2017 it has not been able to provide a breakdown of staff from the previous Department of Housing or Disability Services Commission who require a Card.

Furthermore, it does not effectively monitor or report to senior management on its own compliance with the Act. Communities does not know if it complies with the Act it is responsible for administering.

In both our 2014 audit and this audit we found a small number of foster carers, with child placements, did not hold a valid WWC Card or have an application in progress.

In 2014, we found that 4% of registered foster carers did not have a WWC Card, Communities advised that this has reduced to 2.5% (160 foster carers) in June 2019.

In June 2019, 3,834 of the total 6,266 foster carers had a current child placement. Of those, Communities advised 46, or 1%, did not have a valid WWC Card or an application in progress. Twenty-five of the 46 had failed to renew their WWC Card and the remaining 21 had not lodged an application for a WWC Check. This presents a risk to some of the State’s most vulnerable children.

The child-related work category that foster carers falls into accounts for only 2% of cardholders yet represented 10% of the negative notices issued in 2018. Failing to ensure foster carers are subject to the screening process jeopardises the effectiveness of a critical area of coverage of the WWC Check scheme.

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