Welcome to the Blue Card Services Online Information Session.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we are recording this information session.
We pay our respect to elders both past and present for their courage and leadership in advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We also pay our respect to future elders and acknowledge the valuable role they play in shaping our future generations.
We extend a special welcome to all First Nation peoples listening to this information session.
This video provides information on managing high risk individuals for organisations.
On 31 August 2020, the Queensland Government made changes to the blue card system. To make it better. Better for you, better for our kids.
The blue card system creates certain key obligations for organisations.
If you operate a business regulated by the blue card system, your organisation must comply with certain obligations.
This video will provide you with information about certain high risk individuals who are not eligible to apply for a blue card, and will remind organisations of their key obligations in managing this process.
A high risk individual is a person who is not eligible to engage in child-related work with your organisation if they: are a disqualified person, have had their card suspended or cancelled, are a current negative notice holder, or are a restricted person.
We will now provide more detail about each of these circumstances.
First, let's discuss disqualified persons.
The blue card system prevents certain people from applying for or renewing a blue card.
A person is considered to be a disqualified person when: the person has been convicted of a disqualifying offence. This includes serious child-related sexual or child pornography offences,
irrespective of the penalty imposed, and regardless of when and where the offending occurred.
The person is subject to reporting obligations under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004.
This relates to particular offenders who commit sexual or other serious offences against children who are required to keep police informed about their whereabouts and other personal details.
The person is subject to an offender prohibition order under the Child Protection (Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2008.
This relates to particular offenders who are prohibited from engaging in conduct which poses a risk to the lives or sexual safety of children.
For example, there may be restrictions imposed regarding who they can associate with, where they can visit or reside, or the type of employment they can engage in.
The person is the subject of an order made by a court prohibiting them from applying for a blue card, the subject of a sexual offender order under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003.
This relates to a released prisoner who has committed offences of a serious sexual nature who is the subject of a court order to detain or impose conditions on their release.
A full list of the disqualifying offences can be accessed on the Blue Card Services website.
So, as an organisation, what does this mean for you?
Organisations must not engage a disqualified person to undertake child-related work. It is an offence for a disqualified person to sign a blue card application or to engage in any child-related work or carry on a child-related business that falls within the scope of the blue card system.
Under the No Card, No Start laws, a person must have a valid blue card before they can start working or volunteering with kids.
A person can apply for a blue card before they find work.
A person can apply for a blue card using the Online Applicant Portal or submitting an application form.
During the application process, the applicant will be required to declare that they are not a disqualified person or a negative notice holder.
Organisations will no longer have to give the disqualified person warning where the application is made online.
Now, let's discuss a scenario where a person working in child-related employment has had their blue card suspended or cancelled due to a change in their police information.
Generally, a person's police information changes if: a person is charged with or convicted of an offence whether or not a conviction is recorded; a person becomes a respondent to or subject to
an application for a child protection prohibition order or disqualification order; or a person becomes subject to reporting obligations under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 or the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003.
As all applicants and card holders are monitored by the Queensland Police Service on a daily basis,
under the No Card, No Start laws they no longer have to tell their employer when there has been a change in their police information.
Instead, applicants and card holders are required to immediately notify us when there is a change in their police information. We will continue to notify employers of any changes to a person's blue card status, where appropriate.
It is important to note that the No Card, No Start laws do not remove any existing workplace requirements for employees to report a change in their police information to their employer.
For example, under the Public Service Act 2008 (Queensland), a person engaged by the Department of Communities must declare when there has been a change in their police information, such as an assault charge.
Your organisation may have a policy like this. In the case of suspension, the person's card will remain suspended until the charge is finalised, even if it expires during this time, and their eligibility to work with children is re-assessed.
Once a decision is made, the suspended card holder and your organisation will be notified of the outcome of the re-assessment. Blue Card Services will not send this advice if you have notified us that the person no longer works with you.
If the suspended card is cancelled and a negative notice is issued in its place, then the person is prohibited from engaging in child- related work.
If the suspended card is reinstated, then the person may resume in child-related work.
Organisations must not engage a person in child-related work if you have been notified that their blue card has been suspended or cancelled.
Now, let's look at a scenario where a person is a negative notice holder.
A negative notice holder is somebody who has applied for a blue card and who has returned police
and/or disciplinary information which has been assessed and determined that it is not in the best interest of children for the person to be issued with or continue to hold a blue card.
Negative notices do not expire and remain current until the individual has applied to cancel the negative notice and has received confirmation from Blue Card Services that their negative notice has been cancelled.
A negative notice prohibits a person from undertaking work with children which falls within the scope of the blue card system.
It is an offence for a negative notice holder to apply for, start or continue to work in child- related employment, volunteer work or operate a child-related business which fall within the scope of the blue card system.
As an organisation, you must not allow a negative notice holder to engage in child-related activities within your service environment as it is an offence to do so.
Let's look at the terms 'restricted person' and 'restricted employment' and the associated offences.
No Card, No Start laws mean stricter requirements for people who rely on an exemption to work or volunteer with children through the introduction of the terms 'restricted person' and 'restricted employment' and associated offences.
A restricted person is somebody who has been: convicted of a disqualifying offence, issued with a negative notice, has had their blue or exemption card suspended, or has been charged with a disqualifying offence and the matter has not been finalised.
Restricted employment refers to situations that allow a person to work with children without a blue or exemption card, such as: a volunteer parent, a volunteer under the age of 18 years, a person who works with children for not more than 7 days in a calendar year, or a person who receives services at a disability service centre where services are provided to children.
These penalties apply to: individuals who start in restricted employment as a restricted person, and organisations who employ a restricted person in restricted employment.
An employer cannot employ or continue to employ a restricted person in restricted employment.
The maximum penalty is $26,690 or 200 penalty units or 2 years in prison. Penalties also apply to individuals.
Organisations have a responsibility to ensure that all people working or volunteering with children, including those in restricted employment, are not a restricted person.
They must also ensure anyone beginning to work or volunteer in restricted employment is not a restricted person before that person begins working or volunteering with children within their organisation.
For example, your organisation wants to employ a guest speaker to perform a motivational presentation for a group of grade 12 students.
The guest speaker advised they have previously been issued a negative notice. In this situation, the guest speaker is a restricted person.
Although the guest speaker is working not more than 7 days in a calendar year with children or young people, they cannot rely on the exemption.
It would be an offence for you to engage the guest speaker in restricted employment. People who are not eligible to work with children are prohibited from engaging in work which is child-related and which falls within the scope of the blue card system.
Your organisation should review its risk management strategies and ensure: the employee or volunteer does not continue to undertake child-related work within your organisation.
This includes any position on a committee or advisory board where the person's decision-making impacts on children within the organisation's service environment, your employee register is updated to reflect the change in status of the person's card, appropriate policies and procedures are in place to manage any risks of harm to children and young people, if you continue to employ the person to perform work that is not child- related, such as documenting the duties and activities which are to be undertaken by those who do not hold blue cards, and providing information regarding the proposed activities to Blue Card Services to discuss any possible implications, particularly in relation to whether the work they are undertaking potentially falls within the scope of the blue card system, strategies to identify any risk of harm to children and young people that may arise as a result of a high risk individual's participation within your service environment; and identification of best practice guidelines regarding the participation of all individuals in child-related activities within your service environment, irrespective of whether a blue card is required in the circumstances.
If you have had a high risk individual linked to your organisation who is not eligible to work with children, we may contact you to confirm the person is not engaged in child- related work with your organisation.
It is vital that before starting a person in child-related work you ensure: the person has a valid blue or exemption card, you have confirmed the card holder is the person you are engaging in child-related work, you have linked the card holder to your organisation and you have validated the person's card to ensure it is current.
Let's recap. As an organisation, you have certain key obligations under the blue card system with which you must comply. These include: ensuring all employees, paid or volunteer, engaged in child-related work have a valid blue card, not engaging a disqualified person in child-related work, not engaging a person with a suspended or cancelled card in child-related work, not engaging a current negative notice holder in child-related work, not engaging a restricted person in restricted employment, and finally, reviewing your risk management strategies.
If you are not compliant with these obligations, penalties may apply.
We have resources available on our website to assist you with these obligations.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about who is not eligible to work with children and your organisation's obligations for managing this process.
We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services YouTube channel.
For more information, visit our website, phone our call centre or send us an email.