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Blue cards

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The Queensland Department of Education is committed to providing safe and supportive learning environments for children and young people receiving services and participating in activities, such as Community Language Schools (CLS).

On 31 August 2020, the Queensland Government made changes to the blue card system to make it better – better for you, better for our children. These changes strengthen and streamline the blue card system under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000.

To find out more about the No Card, Now Start laws, visit Blue Card Services.

An overview of the changes is provided in Changes to the blue card system from 31 August 2020 fact sheet (PDF, 212KB).

General information

There are 15 categories of employment in the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000. A CLS may fall under more than one category.

Individuals and organisations, including CLS, need to be aware of their responsibilities in relation to Blue Cards.

The following fact sheets provide more information:

Who is exempt from requiring a blue card in a CLS?

Teachers registered with Queensland College of Teachers (QCOT) working in a school do not need a blue card; however, if working outside a school, they would need an exemption card.

Parent volunteers are exempt from requiring a blue card if:

  • they are unpaid by the CLS; and
  • have a child at the CLS.

The onus is on the parent volunteer to provide evidence that they have a child in the CLS class. If they cannot provide proof that they have a child in the class at the CLS, then the parent needs to have a blue card.

CLS responsibilities

Each CLS is responsible for all their employees and volunteers working with children. Queensland Department of Education is not the employer.

Each CLS must validate the blue cards for all administrators, volunteers, instructors before classes start in February each year. Blue cards can be validated using the Blue Card Services online validation tool.

Each CLS must immediately advise Blue Card Services when an employee or volunteer commences work with the CLS by submitting a link form to Blue Card Services.

The changes to the blue card system state:

  • the No Card, No Start law – you cannot work or volunteer in a position requiring a blue card until your application is approved
  • if you do not renew by the expiry date, you will be subject to the No Card, No Start law and cannot work (new rule for expiring cards).

Each CLS has an obligation to ensure that all employees and volunteers have a valid blue card. If an employee or volunteer’s blue card has expired, the CLS must ensure the employee or volunteer does not continue to work or volunteer with children.

Each CLS is required to maintain a blue card register. The blue card register (XLSX, 20KB) provided to each CLS by the Queensland Department of Education needs to include all people, including volunteers. When completing the department’s blue card register template, each CLS is to record the names of volunteer/s who are not required to hold a blue card and the reason why they are exempt.

It is an offence for an employer (i.e. CLS) to employ or continue to employ a restricted person in restricted employment if they know (or should reasonably know) that they are a restricted person.

The maximum penalty for employing a restricted person is $26,690 or 2 years in prison.

Read the detailed information provided in Restricted person and restricted employment for organisations fact sheet (PDF, 380KB).

Parent volunteer responsibilities

The No Card, No Start law means you must have a valid blue card before you can start working or volunteering with children.

If you have a blue card, you must take steps to ensure that the blue card is renewed, or an application for renewal is submitted, prior to it expiring.

A parent volunteer must not start or continue in restricted employment if they are a restricted person.

A restricted person is a person who:

  • has been issued with a negative notice
  • has a suspended blue card
  • is a disqualified person
  • has been charged with a disqualifying offence which has not been finalised.

The maximum penalty is $66,725 or 5 years in prison.

Read the detailed information provided in:

Useful links

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Last updated 09 December 2020