Child Safe Procedure
CSIRO is committed to the safety and well-being of all children and young people involved in CSIRO activities and programs and the welfare of the children in our care will always be our first priority. We aim to create a child safe and child friendly environment where all children are valued and feel safe.
CSIRO also seeks to attract and retain the best volunteers. We provide support and supervision so volunteers feel valued, respected and fairly treated. We ensure that the volunteers who work with children have ongoing supervision, support and training so that their capacity is developed and enhanced to promote the establishment and maintenance of a child safe environment. For example, from time to time CSIRO provides opportunities for volunteers to attend information sessions about these reporting obligations. We also ensure that volunteers have access to relevant information resources.
It is mandatory for all CSIRO Education and Outreach volunteers, including those participating in the STEM Professionals in Schools program, to comply with the requirements set out in this procedure.
Requirements for participation in STEM Professionals in Schools
Please read through the following important information.
1. Working with Children Checks and National Police Certificates
New and existing STEM Professionals in Schools volunteers are required to have a current:
- National Police Certificate; and
- Working with Children Check in their state or territory.
Conducting suitability checks
CSIRO volunteers who are engaged in child-related work settings or activities in the course of their duties (including where there is any contact with children either physically, face-to-face or via oral, written or electronic communication) are required to hold a current Working with Children Check in accordance with the requirements of the State or Territory in which they are working with children. Volunteers are also required to have a current National Police Certificate (arising from a National Criminal History Check by the Australian Federal Police), to be renewed every three years. Working with Children Checks in some jurisdictions may include a National Criminal History Check; however volunteers must note that the National Criminal History Check must be renewed every three years.
CSIRO will bear the cost of applying for each of these checks.
Volunteers with existing Working with Children Checks and/or National Police Certificates will be required to provide CSIRO Education and Outreach with suitable documentary evidence and CSIRO may verify this with the Australian Federal Police or relevant state and territory authorities.
The status of your National Police Check and Working With Children Checks can be viewed and managed at any time from your Profile page.
Where a result of a Working with Children Check or a National Criminal History Check discloses a criminal history for a prospective CSIRO volunteer or a volunteer seeking to continue their engagement with CSIRO, CSIRO will assess the information obtained to determine whether the individual will be suitable for the position for which they are volunteering. An individual is not automatically prevented from being engaged as a volunteer if they have a criminal history. The final decision as to the suitability of the individual for engagement as a volunteer will be determined by the Executive Manager, CSIRO Education and Outreach, taking into account the Child Safe Environments: Standards for dealing with information obtained about the criminal history of employees and volunteers who work with children.
CSIRO may obtain further criminal history assessments for a volunteer at any time if CSIRO reasonably believes it necessary or desirable to maintain a child safe environment.
In arranging for the conduct of Working with Children Checks and National Criminal History Checks, CSIRO will at all times comply with its legal obligations, including those relating to procedural fairness and natural justice and those set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
CSIRO is committed to the privacy of all volunteers and will use their personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), including in accordance with this privacy statement.
For suitability checks volunteers’ personal information will be collected directly by the Working with Children Check authority in the relevant jurisdiction and by the Australian Federal Police ('AFP') for National Criminal History Checks when volunteers complete the relevant forms. These agencies will provide STEM Professionals in Schools volunteers with their own privacy policies at the time volunteers are asked to provide their personal information. CSIRO will liaise with these agencies to facilitate the process, may provide volunteers with the relevant AFP suitability check forms, and will receive notification from these agencies about the progress and outcome of volunteers’ applications. CSIRO does not conduct the suitability checks itself and does not hold any of the information volunteers submit to these agencies. However, to assist the AFP checking process, we will collect volunteers’ completed suitability check forms and drivers licence and /or passport information to pass on the AFP (to enable AFP check to be conducted). CSIRO will destroy such information after three months.
The National Police Certificate and Working with Children Checks will not be retained by CSIRO once a decision has been made regarding an individual’s suitability to work with children. CSIRO will retain the following information regarding our decisions in relation to each volunteer:
- The fact that a Working with Children Check and a National Criminal History Check was conducted;
- How the information arising from a Working With Children Check and National Criminal History Check was used in decision making; and
- Any statutory declarations provided by an applicant.
For more information about privacy in CSIRO, visit CSIRO Privacy.
2. Child protection guidelines for employees and volunteers of CSIRO
All volunteers must comply with the following Child Protection Guidelines and any other CSIRO policies or procedures notified to them by CSIRO from time to time, including but not limited in relation to:
- Transportation arrangements for children
- Taking images of children
- Supervision of children
- Complaints procedures
- Physical contact with children
- Procedure for breaches of policy
- Training/cybersafety guidelines
- Protecting privacy and confidentiality
- Procedures for dealing with situations where a staff member is being investigated for, or is charged with, a serious criminal offence.
Child Protection guidelines for volunteers of CSIRO
Caring for children and young people brings additional responsibilities for CSIRO volunteers.
All CSIRO volunteers are responsible for promoting the safety and well-being of children and young people by:
- Ensuring the safety and welfare of the child or young person is paramount at all times.
- Treating all children and young people with dignity, equality and respect.
- Adhering to CSIRO’s child safe policy at all times.
- Listening and responding appropriately to the views and concerns of children and young people.
- Taking all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and protection of children and young people.
- Ensuring children and young people understand their rights and explaining to the child in age-appropriate language what they can expect when participating in a service, activity or program offered by CSIRO.
- Responding quickly, fairly and transparently to any serious complaints made by a child, young person or their parent/guardian.
- Notifying the appropriate Child Abuse Report Line in accordance with the requirements of the State or Territory as soon as practicable if they have a reasonable suspicion that a child or young person has been or is being abused or neglected.
- Take part in any unnecessary physical contact with a child or young person.
- Discriminate against any child or young person because of age, gender, cultural background, religion, vulnerability or sexuality.
- Develop any ‘special’ relationships with children or young people, including communicating via oral, written or electronic means outside of the program relationship.
3. Reporting and responding to suspected child abuse and neglect
CSIRO is required by law to report any instances of child abuse or neglect where CSIRO has a reasonable suspicion that a child has been, or is being, abused or neglected. CSIRO will not tolerate incidents of child abuse.
All STEM Professionals in Schools volunteers also have an obligation to notify the CSIRO as soon as practicable if they have a reasonable suspicion that a child has been, or is being, abused or neglected.
In addition to making all reports as required by law, a STEM Professionals in Schools volunteer must also make a report to CSIRO Education and Outreach, if the volunteer reasonably suspects that a child has been, or is being, abused or neglected by a CSIRO officer, volunteer or other person involved in a CSIRO activity or program.
In response to any report concerning a volunteer involved in a CSIRO activity or program, CSIRO may undertake such protective actions as may be required to ensure the safety of children and young people involved in CSIRO programs.