Strengthening and streamlining the blue card system
In September 2017 the Queensland Family and Child Commission’s (QFCC) report Keeping Queensland’s children more than safe: Review of the blue card system (PDF, 8MB) was released. The QFCC found that Queensland’s blue card system is one of the strongest in Australia and has enhanced protection for children in Queensland since 2001.
The QFCC also found that the system could benefit from reforms to further strengthen the system to meet emerging risks and streamline online service capability to better meet modern community expectations. A total of 81 recommendations were made to strengthen and streamline the blue card system.
As at 8 August 2023, 28 recommendations are complete, 49 recommendations are in progress and 4 recommendations have not yet commenced as they are dependent on other initiatives being completed.
A significant number of key reforms have been implemented including:
- enacting the ‘No Card, No Start’ laws and enabling jobseekers to apply for a blue card without having an upfront link to an organisation thereby allowing people to be job-ready
- launching Safe children and strong communities, a specific strategy and action plan to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people engaging with the blue card system and establishing a separate oversight group to monitor the implementation of its actions
- introducing a suite of online services including
- a portal for organisations to manage their blue card obligations electronically
- a smart online application for applicants
- a portal for applicants and cardholders to update their details electronically
- a fully automated application process for people working with children and with people with a disability to apply simultaneously for a blue card and a disability worker screening clearance
- strengthened identity checks for people applying for blue cards and including photos on blue cards
- exchanging information with other jurisdictions about adverse Working with Children Check decisions
- adding 17 new offences to the list of offences which disqualify a person from applying for a blue card
- implementing a new legislative framework for offences classified as ‘serious’
- facilitating access to domestic violence information for the purposes of blue card assessment
- enhanced information sharing between government agencies regulating home-based care services to children such as foster care or family day care
- developing a compliance and enforcement strategy which is updated annually
- using a variety of mediums to promote the availability of interpreting services and developing resources in multiple languages
- launching a web page to publicly report blue card statistics
- developing an electronic case management system to help manage blue card compliance activities more efficiently.
These reforms have been delivered in close consultation with stakeholders, including regular forums with a dedicated implementation group made up of key government agencies and non-government organisations that engage with the blue card system across Queensland.