Working With Children Check (WWCC) Renewals

, Article   |   09/03/18

Working With Children Check (WWCC) Renewals

As you should be aware, WWCC renewals begin soon for workers (paid and volunteer) in our churches.
The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) have released information on how WWCC renewals are to be managed.
The WWCC renewal information web page is here:
http://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/child-safe-organisations/working-with-children-check/about-the-check/when-to-renew/when-to-renew-your-wwc

It is important that you familiarise yourself with the
process described on this page!

It will enable you to answer most questions from your church members about the renewal process.

Note that:

  • The WWCC number will stay the same when renewed.
  • Re-applying is NOT required to renew a WWCC
  • A visit to a Services NSW office (RMS) is required to provide proof of ID (the same process as when applying for the first time).
  • A fee of $80 applies to workers employed in child-related work. Volunteers do not pay anything.

What should our churches do?

  • Make sure your church Safe Ministry Records are up to date.
  • Create a report or list of people in your church whose WWCC will fall due this year.
  • Contact them as soon as possible to:
    • inform them of this, and to urge them to update their contact details with the OCG, using this web page: https://wwccheck.ccyp.nsw.gov.au/Applicants/ChangeOfDetails
    • Wait until they receive a notification from the OCG 3 months before their WWCC expires.
    • When they have received the notification to act on it promptly.
  • Remind them yourself at the 3 month mark, before their WWCC expires, and provide them with their WWCC number and expiry date (required for renewal).
  • Remind them to tell you when they have renewed, and to provide you with the new expiry date.
  • Re-verify their number and record the details of that verification in accordance with the instructions below.

Questions?

Clarification On WWCC Record Keeping Requirements For Our Churches

We have recently been informed that all employers who maintain WWCC records for paid or volunteer workers are required to keep more information than previously thought.

Legal Requirement

The guiding part of NSW legislation is as follows:
Section 9A of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 provides that each employer must ensure –

(d) a record is kept of each of the following obtained from the working with children register and that record is retained by the employer for 7 years:

(i) the working with children number of the worker,

(ii) the date on which each clearance of the worker ceases to have effect.

Up until now, the advice we had received was that it was acceptable to simply overwrite earlier verification information once a renewal has occurred. However, we have now been advised that details of previous verifications should be kept. The same goes for WWCC renewal information – pertinent because many of our workers will be renewing their WWCC starting this year.


What does this mean for us?

This means that all our churches who keep WWCC records will need to amend their record keeping in the following way:

  • Details of each and every verification will need to be kept (ie: date of verifications, person doing the verification and the result of the verification).
  • The Act speak of retention of that data for a minimum of seven (7) years from the date of that verification. However, it makes sense to simply keep that data indefinitely, as we do for all other Safe Ministry Record information.
  • Details of any renewal of a WWCC will need to be kept under the same terms.


How to manage this.

For most churches in the Diocese this will require a small modification in our WWCC record keeping practices.

Most churches in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney keep their Safe Ministry Records in one of three ways:

  • In a church management system like Elvanto
  • In the system on the PSU Safe Ministry website: SaMRO
  • In one or more spreadsheets

Church Management Systems
Your system admin person will need to add extra fields to allow for the extra information, and instruct the people responsible for Safe Ministry Record data entry on their use and purpose.

SaMRO
If your church uses the system offered by the PSU called SaMRO, you will see when you log in, that when you go into edit mode for a person’s record, that we have already added extra fields for the additional verification and renewal data.
You will simply use those fields as appropriate, leaving existing data in place.

Spreadsheets
This is probably more complex. Here is a suggested approach:

  • Maintain two spreadsheets. One for clearances that are still in force and one for expired clearances that are being retained for 7 years.
  • Having said that, ideally the information should be kept indefinitely in that second spreadsheet in case a future claim ever emerges so we can demonstrate the worker held a clearance at the time any abuse is alleged to have occurred.

You are free to adapt the above information to suit your church’s particular record-keeping methods, but you are urged to put these measure in place as a matter of urgency.

The recent Royal Commission made it very clear how important comprehensive and up to date records are. While we cannot change our past practices, we can make sure that our records are kept correctly from this time onwards.

 

Any questions or clarifications, please contact Neil Atwood (Parish Consultant) via the contact page or on 02 9265 1547