GEIFN | REPORTS | CCYP | INFORMATION SESSION | Reportable Conduct Scheme - Religious Organisations | Tuesday 19 December 2017 | 10-11.30am

[Edited extract from public address]

The Reportable Conduct Scheme aims to ensure those who shouldn't work with children aren’t. 

Where: Level 26, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000

An information session covering:
• The Reportable Conduct Scheme and to whom it applies
• What is reportable under the Scheme
• What organisations are required to report and respond
• How the Commission will work with other organisations and regulators

It is currently being phased in, mandatory for religious organisations in Phase 2 Schedule 4 implementation by 1 January 2018. Requirements builds on existing workplace misconduct and child safety systems within organisations. As everyone is learning at the same time, current requirements may change as new information arises and matters are worked through.

(See 4pp Information sheet 1: About the Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme referred to hereafter as IS1)

At-A-Glance Key Terms:
  • A Child means anyone under the age of 18 years (see IS1, p1)
  • Head of Organisation as holding final responsibility (see IS1, p1)
  • Employees means persons aged 18+ within or connected to the organisation, even if their work does not directly relate to children. Specifically: (a) paid employees, (b) any persons/entities engaged by the organisation including volunteers, office holders and project officers and certain contractors, (c) religious workers including ministers of religion, religious leader and officers, and (d) certain foster or kinship carers (see IS1, p2)
  • Reporting Timeframes (see IS3,p2 and IS7)
  • Scope Once any part of the organisation is within the scheme, the whole organisation is within the scheme. Notification to Commission and investigate reportable allegations applies across whole organisation. (see IS1, p4)
In the 6 months of operation, the Commission has over 400 matters reported to it since the Phase 1 implementation 1 July 2017. The volume of reportable allegations are in line with predictions.

Early Commission observations are that:
  • Organisations feel challenged by:
  • having to report conduct perceived to be less serious
  • having to report conduct that has been pre-judged as justified 
  • Requirements to investigate conduct outside the workplace 
  • Significant variance in quality of investigations by organisations
Reportable Conduct in Brief
There are five types of ‘reportable conduct’ listed in the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005:
  • sexual offences (against, with or in the presence of, a child)
  • sexual misconduct (against, with or in the presence of, a child)
  • physical violence (against, with or in the presence of, a child)
  • behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm 
  • significant neglect.
(See 4pp Information Sheet 2: What is reportable conduct?
referred to hereafter as IS2)

Misconduct vs Reportable Conduct
Misconduct is a breach of professional standards or Association stated codes of conduct. They may or may not involve reportable conduct. Reportable Conduct is a sexual offence, sexual misconduct, physical violence, behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child, significant neglect of a child (see IS2, p1)

Reasonable Belief and Suspicion
Allegation based on reasonable belief
= Reportable Conduct
Notify the Commission? Yes

Misconduct +
Allegation based on suspicion
= May involve reportable conduct
Notify the Commission? Yes

Notify the Commission? No
(see IS2, p3-4)

Head of Organisation’s obligations under reportable conduct
You must notify the Commission within 3 business days of becoming aware of a reportable allegation.

• You must investigate allegations – subject to police clearance on criminal matters or matters involving family violence.
• You must advise the Commission who is undertaking the investigation.
• You must manage the risks to children.

Within 30 calendar days you must provide the Commission detailed information about the reportable allegation and any action you have taken.

You must notify the Commission of the investigation findings and any disciplinary action the head of entity has taken (or the reasons no action was taken).

(See 2pp Information sheet 3: Responsibilities of the head of an organisation referred to hereafter as IS3)

Reporting Deliverables
Section 16M requires the head of an organisation to within 3 business days initially notify the Commission of a reportable allegation; within 30 calendar days update the Commission of progress; as soon as practicable investigate the reportable allegation and provide the findings of the investigation to the Commission. (See IS3, p2)

Investigation Overview
An investigation into a reportable allegation is a workplace investigation aimed at gathering and examining information to establish facts and make findings in relation to allegations of child abuse against an employee. The investigation may also make recommendations about what disciplinary or other action should be taken (if any).

An effective investigation requires a systematic approach to assessing and managing an allegation, followed by a sound decision-making framework that enables procedural fairness for all parties in the investigation process.
(See 3pp Information sheet 4: Investigation overview)

See 2pp Information sheet 5: Other reporting obligations
See 2pp Information sheet 6: Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme
See 2pp Information sheet 7: Reporting to the Commission

Future Information sessions

Reportable Conduct Scheme
• Melbourne, Thursday 22 February 2018 | 10-11.30 am
• Melbourne, Tuesday 6 March 2018 | 10-11.30 am
• Melbourne, Tuesday 27 March 2018 | 10-11.30 am Child Safe Standards
• Melbourne, Wednesday 18 April 2018 | 10-11.30 am

On behalf of Buddhist Council Victoria Interfaith (bINTER) and Glen Eira Interfaith Network (GEIFN), thankyou to Organisers and Participants working to redress historical harms, build upon existing reporting mechanisms and redress/minimise injustices. Received with gratitude.

Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP)
Post: Level 18, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Tel: 1300 78 29 78