This report contains the findings from our follow-up of my Office’s 2014 Working with Children Checks performance audit.
Keeping children safe is a priority. The core principle of the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 is that the best interests of children are the paramount consideration. The Working with Children Check is one of a range of strategies to help make organisations child-safe and reduce the risk to children. The number of Working with Children Check cardholders in the State continues to grow.
The audit shows mixed results on the implementation of this Office’s 2014 recommendations. Although the Department of Communities have made some improvements, it is disappointing that some previous findings have not been fully addressed. Overall, the assessment of Working with Children Check applications and monitoring of cardholders is more efficient and effective than it was in 2014. However, there has been little progress to mitigate the inherent risk of unsuitable people working with children while their application is assessed. Nor has Communities strengthened regulatory compliance activities to improve the overall effectiveness of the scheme.
I acknowledge the work by Communities over the last 5 years to improve the management of Working with Children Checks. I encourage Communities and other State and non-government entities to continue to address the issues raised in this report and by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. I intend that this important area of child and community safety will continue to receive scrutiny by my Office in my future performance audit program