Today’s correspondent asks:
As a Registered Paramedic, are we required to have a ‘Working with vulnerable people’ card as part of a volunteer role eg RFS ?
The Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW) s 8 says:
A worker must not engage in child-related work unless–
(a) the worker holds a working with children check clearance of a class applicable to the work …
Work ‘as a health practitioner providing child health services is child-related work’. A paramedic is a health practitioner so a paramedic working for a jurisdictional ambulance service (Child Protection (Working w ith Children) Regulation 2013 (NSW) r 6) must have a working with children check.
There are two types of clearances – volunteer and non-volunteer (s 12. A non-volunteer clearance authorises a worker ‘to engage in paid and unpaid child-related work’ (s 12).
The NSW Rural Fire Service, Service Standard 1.1.9 Working with Children Check (2 August 2021) says (at [3.1]):
All NSW RFS members who undertake any of the following child related roles are required to supply a WWCC number to the NSW RFS, unless they fall under an exemption outlined in section 3.7. In general, these are roles that have direct responsibility for the training and supervision of Junior Members (including Cadet Brigades) or participants in the Secondary School Cadet Program.
a. Junior Member Coordinators.
b. Secondary School Cadet Program Coordinators (only if delivering face to face training – see exemptions).
c. Secondary School Cadet Program Trainers.
d. Supervisors, Team Managers, Coaches and supervising parents of groups attending overnight camps such as State Championships or exercises which require overnight stays, where one or more member of the group is under 18 years of age.
e. All adult members of Cadet Brigades.
f. Other roles may be deemed child related by the Executive Director, People and Strategy.
The RFS does not require a clearance for volunteers who are not engaged in one of those child related roles. It follows that if my correspondent is volunteering for the RFS, but not in any of the roles listed in (a) to (f) above, they do not need a Working with Children clearance. If they are volunteering in a child related area, then their paid clearance is sufficient
A registered paramedic is required to have a working with children clearance as part of their work as a health practitioner providing ambulance services to children (r 6). That clearance is sufficient to meet the requirement for a clearance, should a clearance be required (Service Standard 1.1.9), for volunteer (s 12) work with the RFS.
This blog is made possible with generous financial support from the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW), Natural Hazards Research Australia, NSW Rural Fire Service Association and the NSW SES Volunteers Association. I am responsible for the content in this post including any errors or omissions. Any opinions expressed are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or understanding of the donors.