Screening and Background Checks

Background Checks form an essential element of the screening and testing of a person’s eligibility for particular employment or volunteer positions and assist in determining a person’s suitability for a role.

All Uniting Church organisations within the bounds of the Synod of NSW and the ACT, must undertake background checks on both existing and prospective paid and unpaid workers in accordance with legislation and Synod requirements. The Synod Background Check Policy covers Working with Children Checks (NSW), Working with Vulnerable People Checks (ACT), criminal record (National Police Certificate) checks for aged care, and eligibility to work in Australia checks.

To ensure everyone’s safety and welfare, due care is to be taken when appointing any person to a role. The checks to be done, and the rigour of the process should reflect the responsibility, requirements and risks associated with the role. The Screening and Background Check Matrix outlines the necessary checks required for volunteer roles within the church.

Some checks are required by the Synod policy for various roles to fulfil our duty of care, while others are also mandated by legislation for various classes of people. Working with Children Checks (NSW) and Working with Vulnerable People Checks (ACT) are required by law and form a key part of ensuring that our congregations are safe places for children and vulnerable adults.

A Working with Children Check is mandatory for any individual in NSW involved in child-related work. The ACT Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Check and registration are mandatory for any individual in the ACT involved in regulated activities with vulnerable persons.

Refer to the Synod Guidelines for obtaining a Working with Children Check in NSW and a Working with Vulnerable People Check  for further information about who requires these checks and the procedure for obtaining a check.

All ordained ministers or individuals engaged as religious leaders or spiritual officers must undergo a Working with Children Check (NSW) and/or a Working with Vulnerable Persons Check (ACT) regardless of whether they engage in regulated activities with children or vulnerable persons.

A Working with Children Check is mandatory for any individual in NSW involved in child-related work including as a volunteer. Child-related work is work in a child-related sector where the person has direct contact with a child or children, and that contact is a usual part of and more than incidental to the work. To apply online for a Working with Children Check in NSW Working With Children Check - NSW Office of the Children's Guardian


NSW - Working with Children Check Flowchart

The WWVP Act requires those who work or volunteer with vulnerable people to have a background check and be registered. A vulnerable person is defined as a child (under 18 years of age) or an adult who is disadvantaged, and who is accessing a regulated activity or service in relation to that disadvantage. To apply online for a WWVP Check in the ACT Working with vulnerable people (WWVP) registration (

ACT - Working with Vulnerable People Check Flowchart

Holders of a WWCC and/or WWVP check must ensure their registration is current at all times.

Holders of a WWCC and/or WWVP check must complete Safe Church Awareness Training as soon as possible and attend refresher courses when due. A Safe Church Training certificate will be provided on completion of the course. Safe Church training is provided by the Synod.

Holders of a WWCC or WWVP Check will in practice fall under the Mandatory Reporting and Reportable Conduct legislation in both NSW and the ACT. Please refer to the Policy and Guidelines for Mandatory/Mandated Reporting and Reportable Conduct on this website.

Church Councils through their Safe Church Contact person must ensure that all appropriate administration is completed for holders of WWCC or WWVP checks and that all employees and volunteers have current checks before they work with children and/or vulnerable people.

An Aged Care Police Check (National Police Certificate) is required for anyone involved in work with an aged care service in NSW and the ACT including paid staff, and volunteers who have (or are likely to have) unsupervised access to care recipients. Specified subsequent convictions of these staff must be notified to the employing entity and the Safe Church Unit.

Refer to the Background Check Policy for more information.

Videos for application and renewal of WWCC in NSW can be found at this link on the OCG website.

All staff or volunteers who work with children and young people are required to complete a screening questionnaire. These will be held in confidence and kept securely by each congregation. There is one form for adults and another for persons under the age of 18.

Safe Church Screening Questionnaire - Over 18

Safe Church Screening Questionnaire - Under 18

Uniting Church in Australia
PO Box A2178, Sydney South NSW 1235
(02) 8267 4351