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Registration To Work With Vulnerable People (Tas)

In Tasmania, under the Registration To Work With Vulnerable People Act 2013, a person is required to apply for registration to work with vulnerable people in order to work in certain roles, including child related work. Employers may also require staff to undergo a Nationally Co-ordinated Criminal History Check if they are going to be working with vulnerable groups. This article outlines the processes involved in applying for registration, when registration is needed and what can be done if registration is refused.

Who must register to work with vulnerable people?

Under the Working With Vulnerable People Regulations, a person must obtain a Working With Vulnerable People check if they are engaged in a regulated activity as an employee, volunteer, contractor or in a range of other capacities.

Regulated activities are child-related services such as education, health care and youth justice and NDIS endorsed activities.

However, the regulations provide a range of exceptions. Persons engaged in child-related activities who do not have to complete a check include children’s performers, employees at party venues who do not have direct contact with children and suppliers of food, drink and equipment. Those who provide coaching or tutoring to the general public are not required to complete a check even where they may be working with groups that include children. There are also exceptions relating to those engaged in NDIS-endorsed activities.

A person who is aged under 16 is not required to have registration.

Offences

It is an offence for a person to engage in a regulated activity without having registration to do so. This is punishable by a fine of up to 200 penalty units, imprisonment for up to two years, or both.

An employer must not engage a person in regulated activities if the person is not registered. This offence is punishable by a fine of up to 50 penalty units, or up to 200 penalty units if the employer engaged the person knowing or being reckless as to the fact they were not registered to work with vulnerable people.

Applying for registration to work with vulnerable people

The application forms that are used to apply to be registered or to renew registration to work with vulnerable people can be found on the website of the Department of Business.

The application must include ID and the details of the regulated activities that the person proposes to be engaged in.

The applicant must consent to their police history being checked and to information being provided by public bodies. They must also state whether they have been charged or found guilty of a relevant offence. Relevant offences are set out in section 3 of the Act and include sexual offences, drug offences, violent offences, property offences and driving offences.

It is an offence to give false or misleading information in an application.

Registration

If an applicant is assessed as posing no risk of harm to vulnerable person, they will be registered to allow them to engage in regulated activities.

A person can be registered with conditions, such as that they must not engage in specific activities or that they must not take on certain roles.

Suspension or cancellation of registration

If a person has been registered to work with vulnerable people, this registration may subsequently be cancelled. This may occur if the Registrar has grounds for believing that the person poses an unacceptable risk of harm to vulnerable persons.

If a person’s registration is facing cancellation or revocation, they will be informed of the ground for this in writing and given an opportunity to provide reasons why their registration should not be cancelled.

If a person’s registration is cancelled and they are engaged in regulated activities, they must inform the employer of the cancellation. They do not have to inform the employer of the grounds on which the registration was cancelled.

A person must not engage in regulated activities while their registration in cancelled or suspended.

Reviews of decisions

A person can apply to a Magistrates Court for review of a decision about registration to work with vulnerable people. The court may review decisions not to register a person, a decision to register a person with conditions, or a decision to cancel or suspend a person’s registration.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

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Author

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
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