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					                            Information sheet
                            Blue cards for students
Commission for Children and Young                        working in particular categories of employment or
People and Child Guardian                                conducting particular businesses as defined by
                                                         the Act.
The Commission is an independent statutory
authority which promotes and protects the rights,        The Act imposes penalties for people who do not
interests and wellbeing of children and young people     comply with their obligations.
in Queensland.
                                                         Do students working with children or
The work of the Commission is regulated by the           young people as part of their studies
Commission for Children and Young People and Child
Guardian Act 2000.                                       need to be screened?
                                                         Yes. Students who have to work with children or
The Commission’s screening function requires
                                                         young people as part of their studies must be issued
people who work with children (under 18) in
                                                         with a blue card before they begin their placement.
particular categories of paid or voluntary employment
                                                         They are considered volunteers and applications are
or carrying on particular businesses to undergo
                                                         processed without charge.
screening – the Working with Children Check.

What is the Working with                                 Which students need to be screened?
Children Check?                                          University students and students of other education
                                                         providers, who are placed as part of their course in
The Working with Children Check is a detailed check      one of the categories of employment regulated by the
of a person’s criminal history, if any, which includes   Act, must undergo the Working with Children Check.
charges or convictions, and any information held
about them by the Board of Teacher Registration.         The check applies to students involved in any of the
                                                         following categories of employment:
The Commissioner considers certain disciplinary
information provided by relevant bodies. This            • out-of-home residential facilities
relates to:                                              • school boarding houses
• teachers                                               • schools (other than teachers)
• child care service providers                           • child care
• foster carers                                          • churches, clubs and associations
• nurses, midwives, and certain health practitioners.    • child counselling and support services
In addition, information from police investigations      • private teaching, coaching or tutoring
into allegations of serious child-related sexual         • education programs outside of school
offences can be taken into account, even if no
charges were laid because the child was unwilling or     • child accommodation services (including
unable to proceed.                                         homestays)
                                                         • religious representatives
A person whose application is approved is issued
with a positive notice (a letter) and a blue card.       • sport and active recreation, and
A person whose application is refused is issued with     • emergency services cadet programs.
a negative notice. This prohibits the applicant from
Who applies for the student’s blue card?                the nature of the offence/s and circumstances
                                                        surrounding the case before making a final decision.
Either the education provider (ie. the university or
institution where the student is enrolled) or the       The employer or education provider is notified of the
employer with whom the student is placed can apply      outcome of the person’s blue card application, but
for a blue card on the student’s behalf. However, the   any personal, police or disciplinary information is
employer is responsible for ensuring students comply    kept strictly confidential.
with the Act.
                                                        What if a person is charged or convicted
Failure of the employer to comply with this
obligation is an offence and may result in fines or
                                                        of an excluding offence?
imprisonment.                                           If a person is charged with an excluding offence after
                                                        they have lodged an application but before it has
When do students require a blue card?                   been decided, they are deemed to have withdrawn
                                                        their consent to screening. The Commission will
Students must hold a blue card before starting their
                                                        issue a withdrawal notice to the applicant and their
placement.
                                                        employer or organisation if applicable.
However, students who started their placement and
                                                        If a student is charged with an excluding offence
applied for blue cards before 17 January 2005 can
                                                        after they have received a blue card, the blue card is
continue to work until whichever happens first:
                                                        automatically suspended and they cannot begin or
• one year has passed since this new requirement        continue to work in regulated employment until their
  commenced (i.e. up to 16 January 2006)                ‘Change of Criminal History Application Form’ has
                                                        been processed and a new card issued.
• a negative notice is issued, or
• the application is withdrawn.                         Suspension of a person’s blue card does not stop
                                                        them from working in non-regulated employment.
Do students need to have regular,                       If an applicant has been convicted of an excluding
ongoing contact with children before                    offence they will automatically be excluded from
needing a blue card?                                    holding a blue card if:
No. Recent amendments to the Commission’s Act           • they were sentenced to imprisonment for the
mean all students doing child-related work in the         offence or
areas screened require a blue card, regardless of how
                                                        • the judge made a disqualification order preventing
often they come into contact with children or young
                                                          them from holding a blue card.
people.
                                                        In these situations the Commission is required to
Will a student be refused a blue card if                issue a negative notice.
they have a criminal history?
                                                        Who will be notified of the outcome of
A person with a criminal history will not necessarily   my application?
be refused a blue card.
                                                        The outcome of an application is provided to:
If a person’s criminal history suggests they should
not hold a blue card, the Commissioner will ask them    • the student
to provide a submission on any police or disciplinary   • the employer (if they made the application), or
information held about them, explaining why they
should not be refused a blue card.                      • the education provider (if they made the
                                                          application).
The Commissioner assesses the submission, any
references or other relevant material provided,
Can I appeal if issued with a                             What if my criminal history changes?
negative notice?                                          A person’s criminal history changes if they are
There is no right of appeal or review where a             charged with a criminal offence or they are convicted
person has been issued with a negative notice for a       of a criminal offence (including findings of guilt
conviction for an excluding offence where they were       or pleas of guilty, whether or not a conviction is
sentenced to imprisonment, or a disqualification           recorded).
order was made. This means the person is banned for       If a student has a change in their criminal history they
life from holding or applying for a blue card.            must immediately notify their employer or education
However, if an applicant is issued with a negative        provider of that change.
notice for any other kind of offence, the person is       The employer or education provider must not
notified of the decision and the reasons for it. They      continue to engage the student in regulated
then have the right to have the decision reviewed by      employment unless a new application for a Working
the Children Services Tribunal, administered by the       with Children Check is made to the Commission.
Department of Justice and Attorney General.               Failure to do so is an offence.
A negative notice is valid indefinitely unless             Recent amendments to the Act allow the
cancelled by the Commissioner or on successful            Commissioner to notify employers and education
review by the Children Services Tribunal. However,        providers that their students are being reassessed, if
the applicant may ask for the decision to be reviewed     the Commissioner considers the charge or offence is
by the Commissioner again after two years.                relevant to their work with children.
How long is a blue card valid?                            What happens if I change my name and
A blue card is valid for two years from the date          contact details, start using a new name,
it is issued unless it is cancelled earlier by the        or end my employment?
Commissioner. This may occur where there has been
a change in criminal history, or the card has been        Blue card holders, applicants and those issued with
suspended because the holder has been charged             negative notices must advise the Commissioner if
with an excluding offence.                                their name or contact details change.

The Commissioner will notify the holder when their        A person whose application is not finalised must also
card is due to expire so they can apply for a renewal.    advise the Commissioner if their employment ends
                                                          with the employer who applied for a blue card on
What if my blue card is lost or stolen?                   their behalf.

The Commissioner must be notified within 14 days.          The Commissioner must be notified of any changes
Failure to do so is an offence and may result in a fine.   within 14 days. Failure to do so is an offence and may
                                                          result in a fine.
How much does the Working with
Children Check cost?                                      Is screening by other authorities
                                                          (for example, local police) acceptable
A Working with Children Check is free for students as
they are deemed to be volunteers. Paid employees
                                                          instead of a blue card?
and those carrying on a regulated business must pay       No. A criminal history check arranged through the
a $40 application fee.                                    Queensland Police Service may not provide a full
                                                          criminal history.
                                                          The Commission’s Act overrides time limits which
                                                          apply to some police checks and allows the
             Commissioner to access a person’s full criminal
                                                                     Obligations                                 Maximum
             history including their juvenile history and any
             charges.
                                                                                                                 Penalty
                                                                     Employers
             It also allows the Commissioner to take into
                                                                     Volunteers - An employer must not           $750
             account information held by the Board of Teacher
                                                                     employ a volunteer who does not have a
             Registration, other professional bodies and
                                                                     current positive notice and blue card.
             investigative information relating to serious child-
                                                                     Paid employees - An employer must not       $750
             related sexual offences.
                                                                     employ or continue to employ a paid
                                                                     or prospective paid employee if they
             Offences and penalties                                  work, or are likely to work, in regulated
             There are a range of penalties for not complying with   employment for at least the minimum
             the legislation. For more information see obligations   threshold (see frequency test).
             and penalties on the Commission’s website.              An employer must not employ a person
                                                                     in regulated employment where:
             For more information                                    • an application for a blue card has        $750
             See our website at: www.bluecard.qld.gov.au or call        been lodged, but the employee has
             the Commission on 1800 113 611.                            withdrawn their consent, or
                                                                     • the employer has been given notice        $7500
             Telephone interpreting services are available on           that the employee has been charged
             request by ringing the freecall number above.              with an excluding offence; or
                                                                     • the employer is aware that a negative     $7500
                                                                        notice has been issued to the
                                                                        employee and is current.
                                                                     Employees
                                                                     A person must not apply for, start or
                                                                     continue in, regulated employment:
                                                                     • if they hold a current negative notice;   $37500/
                                                                        or                                       5 yrs imp
                                                                     • if they have withdrawn their consent      $7500/
                                                                        or are taken to have withdrawn their     1 yr imp
                                                                        consent to employment screening.

                                                                     Regulated Businesses
                                                                     A person must not carry on a regulated      $37500/
                                                                     business without a current positive         5 yrs imp
                                                                     notice and blue card.
Contact us




              Address: Commission for Children and Young People         Office Hours:   8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday
                      and Child Guardian                                Telephone:     (07) 3247 5145
                      Level 14, T&G Building                            Freecall:      1800 113 611
                      141 Queen Street                                                 (employment screening hotline)
                      Brisbane Qld Australia 4000                       Fax:           (07) 3247 5200
              Postal: PO Box 12671                                      Email:         bluecard@ccypcg.qld.gov.au
                      Brisbane George Street                            Website:       www.bluecard.qld.gov.au
                      Qld Australia 4003
                                                                                                                  CCYPCG DECEMBER 04-137