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Blue card system statistics

The data on this page is for the 2020–21 financial year. It provides information about:

  • the size of the blue card system in Queensland
  • the strength of the safeguards it provides to children
  • the support we provide to applicants, employers and community groups to increase blue card system participation
  • our focus on increasing compliance to create safe environments for children.

Safeguards for children

We contribute to a safer and more secure Queensland for children through:

Screening

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.

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.

232,143 Blue card applications finalised
82% Blue card applications submitted online

Online applicants with no police or disciplinary information are usually approved for a blue card within a few days.

Between 31 August 2020 and 30 June 2021, online applications have been processed within:

3 days Average business days if no criminal history or other relevant information is received
14 days Average business days if less complex criminal history or other relevant information is received

Paper forms can take longer to process because they require manual entry and are impacted by peak processing periods.

Between 31 August 2020 and 30 June 2021, the processing times for paper applications and all applications (regardless of the mode of submission) were:

12 days Average business days for paper applications if no criminal history or other relevant information is received
4 days Average business days for all blue card applications (paper and online) if no criminal history or other relevant information is received

There are a number of factors that can impact our processing times, some of which are out of our control.

Monitoring

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.

848,487 Current card holders and applicants monitored daily
1,110 Blue cards cancelled or suspended this year because of changes in criminal history

Compliance

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.

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.

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.