Working With Vulnerable People (WWVP) Registration
Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) registration is generally required by those who work or volunteer with children, or run a child-related business in the ACT. The card demonstrates the holder has passed a background check, and so, is eligible to work with children. The system aims to protect the safety and welfare of children by assessing and monitoring those who work or volunteer in a “regulated activity”.
WWVP registration is governed by the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 and the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Regulation 2012.
A regulated activity is an activity, service or support provided to children in such areas as:
- counselling and support services;
- disability services;
- clubs and associations;
Applications and screening
Applications for WWVP registration can be made online, at an Access Canberra Service Centre or by post. A person must provide details of any relevant charges or convictions, and consent to a risk assessment.
Access Canberra conducts a background check in line with the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Risk Assessment Guidelines 2018 (No 1). This includes assessing an applicant’s criminal history and WWVP registration history. The agency can request further information from an applicant or from other entities such as regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies in the ACT and interstate. It can also seek advice from independent advisors in areas such as psychology, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol, and mental illness.
A person convicted of a Class A disqualifying offence is automatically excluded from WWVP registration. Class A offences include murder, culpable driving causing death and sexual offences against children. The exclusion cannot be appealed unless there is a mistake in identity.
A person convicted of a Class B disqualifying offence is subject to a risk assessment and will be excluded unless there are exceptional circumstances. Class B offences include child neglect, drug trafficking, fraud and theft.
A kinship carer or foster carer found to have a Class A offence on their record is treated as having a Class B disqualifying offence and is subject to a risk assessment. A foster carer who incurs a new Class A disqualifying offence is automatically deregistered from the WWVP system.
A person granted WWVP registration receives a card that displays the person’s registration number, name, registration expiry date and registration type (positive, positive with restrictions, or positive role-specific). Registration lasts for five years.
Not all employees or volunteers require WWVP registration. For example, it is not required if the person is:
- aged under 16;
- engaged in a regulated activity for not more than 3 days in any 4-week period, or 7 days in any 12-month period.
- a close relative of each child taking part in the regulated activity;
- engaged in the activity as a school student on work experience or doing practical training;
- an employer or supervisor of a child, unless the child is engaged in a regulated activity;
- a police officer, health practitioner, lawyer, aged care worker or financial services agent.
People who are not WWVP registered, have a positive registration with restrictions, or have a negative notice can take part in an activity that is not a regulated activity.
Access Canberra monitors the activities of those people with WWVP registration to ensure they remain suitable to work with children.
Officers conduct compliance visits to workplaces during business hours, and can ask employees and volunteers to present their cards or to view employer records of registrations.
Non-compliance with WWVP laws can result in Access Canberra:
- providing verbal compliance advice, a written warning, or prosecution;
- suspending WWVP registration;
- applying interim conditions to WWVP registration;
- conducting a further risk assessment, which could mean registration cancellation.
As extra safeguards, WWVP registrations are added to the national NDIS Worker Screening database, and negative registration results are included on the National Police Reference System.
A person without WWVP registration who takes part in a regulated activity faces a maximum penalty of a fine of 50 penalty units ($8000). If a person without WWVP registration takes part in a regulated activity and knows they should not, or is reckless about whether they take part, they face a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units ($32,000), or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.
If an employer allows a person without WWVP registration to take part in a regulated activity, the employer faces a maximum penalty of a fine of 50 penalty units ($8000). If an employer allows a person without WWVP registration to take part in a regulated activity and the employer knows the person should not, or is reckless about whether the person takes part, they face a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units ($32,000), or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.
It is also an offence for a person applying for WWVP registration to fail to disclose a charge, conviction or finding of guilt. The penalty is a fine of up to 50 penalty units ($8000).
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.