Blue card system statistics
The data on this page is for the 2021–22 financial year as at 30 September 2021. It provides information about the:
- size of the blue card system in Queensland
- strength of the safeguards it provides to children
- support we provide to applicants, employers and community groups to increase blue card system participation and increases compliance to create safe environments for children.
Size of the blue card system
There are 900,334 current links between employers and card holders / applicants in the blue card system. One card holder or applicant can be linked to more than one employer or volunteer organisation at a time.
Currently, 840,884 people are blue card holders and 10,720 people are applicants.
Safeguards for children
We contribute to a safer and more secure Queensland for children through:
To help keep children in Queensland safe, the blue card system stops certain people upfront from holding or applying for a blue card.
Our blue card screening involves a comprehensive check of whether there is any known criminal history or other information that raises concern about a person working with children. Where concerning information is identified, we undertake an assessment to determine if the person is eligible to work with children.
This process prevents people from working with children in regulated child-related environments if their past behaviour indicates that they are unable to protect a child from harm and promote their wellbeing.
Did you know?
This quarter we actioned 804 cases which resulted in individuals being prevented from working with children.
Another important safeguard for Queensland children is the No Card, No Start laws, which mean all people working with children are screened before they can start child-related work.
To make this easier, people can now apply for and renew their blue cards using an online service, modernising the previously paper-based system.
Online applicants with no police or disciplinary information are usually approved for a blue card within a few days.
Between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2021, online applications have been processed within:
Paper forms can take longer to process because they require manual entry and are impacted by peak processing periods.
Between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2021, the processing times for paper applications and all applications (regardless of the mode of submission) were:
There are a number of factors that can impact our processing times, some of which are out of our control.
Unlike a one-off police check, the blue card system provides ongoing protection to children and young people through daily monitoring of all blue card applicants and card holders for changes to their Queensland criminal history.
This is a critical component of the system, allowing us to take steps to protect children from harm when a person is charged with offences relevant to child-related employment.
It is therefore essential for employers to link a blue or exemption card holder to their organisation before starting them in regulated employment. This ensures the organisation will receive important notifications about the person’s blue card status, including if the card is suspended or cancelled.
All people and organisations regulated by the blue card system must comply with their blue card obligations, such as the legislative requirement for organisations to develop child and youth risk management strategies to mitigate risks of harm to children and young people in their service environments. This includes policies for recruiting, selecting, training, and managing employees and volunteers.
We engage directly with individuals and employers to ensure they are compliant and supported in providing safe environments for children.
If we identify a breach of blue card system obligations, we can refer the matter to police.
Where possible, our activities focus on helping organisations and individuals comply with their obligations under the blue card system and reduce risks of harm to children.
We have developed an organisation portal to help employers and volunteer organisations keep track of their blue card obligations and records.
Compliance activities include:
- educating and directing organisations and individuals to comply with specific requirements under the blue card system
- ensuring organisations have a child and youth risk management strategy in place that covers the 8 mandatory requirements
- checking that organisations have actioned our notifications that certain individuals cannot work with children.
Focus on compliance
We have started our annual industry-specific audit of the blue card status of directors of accredited non-state schools, in partnership with the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board. Phase 1 of this year’s audit has involved checking the status of over 1,100 blue card holders and applicants.
We have reviewed and published our new compliance enforcement strategy, which outlines our key priorities for auditing and monitoring compliance with blue card system requirements in 2021–22. The new document presents information about our approach and processes in a user-friendly and easy to read format.
Education and resources
Queenslanders now recognise that we all have an important role to play in protecting our children.
Our education activities help individuals and organisations foster safer service environments by:
- increasing understanding of who needs a blue card and how to apply
- helping people and organisations meet their blue card obligations
- working with organisations to educate them about their risk management requirements.
Supporting our stakeholders
The Community Information team continues to provide support to stakeholders via phone, email, online and through in-person presentations. Since 1 July 2021, we have:
- received 48,506 calls
- responded to 7,080 emails
- delivered online lunch and learn webinars to 160 stakeholders.
We have created a suite of how-to videos to help stakeholders use our online services.
The videos have had over 3,800 views and answer a range of common questions, including how to:
- register for an online account and use the online applicant portal
- link students and volunteers to an organisation
- renew your blue card on time
- transfer from a volunteer card to a paid card.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community participation
We are committed to supporting the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in the blue card system. We do this through:
- directly helping applicants with the application and assessment process through our dedicated team of professionals, including identified community liaison officers
- conducting remote community visits that give applicants and service providers information and support
- providing education through our monthly yarning circles, newsletter and other resources.
Where a person applying for a blue card has prior criminal history or other concerning information, we may invite them to make a submission to support their eligibility to hold a blue card. These submissions allow applicants to tell their story and address any potential risks of harm to children raised by their prior criminal history.
Historically, where an applicant was not able to engage with the blue card system and did not respond to our requests for submissions, their application would either be withdrawn or a negative notice would be issued.
The support our team gives applicants in discrete communities is producing positive results, which means better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, organisations and their communities.
Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
The blue card mob is committed to engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, with a specific focus towards applicants living in remote communities. Where possible, we partner with the Indigenous Driver Licensing Unit to enable community members to sort out any identification issues before applying for their blue card.
We have proudly visited Lockhart River and Palm Island in the past quarter. During these visits, we gave 74 community members direct assistance. Unfortunately, visits to Coen and Doomadgee were postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants has helped participation with the system. Blue cards have been issued to 92% of applicants living in remote communities in the last quarter.
Our online yarning circles have continued throughout the last quarter, providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and stakeholders a culturally appropriate forum to discuss their blue card needs.