Santa Safety Screening: Can We Trust Saint Nick?
While they may come in close contact with thousands of children in the lead up to Christmas, it’s been revealed shopping centre Santas do NOT require a Blue Card.
A legal loophole means they’re not required to get the background check – despite just that being required of Santas working at educational facilities, churches, clubs and associations.
Also known as the Working with Children Check, the legal requirement assesses a person’s eligibility to work with children and young people based on their known past behaviour.
According to The Courier Mail, the safety concerns were raised more than a decade ago.
However, a spokesman for Blue Card Services told the paper that organisations could still require a blue card when hiring.
They also advised implementing their own policies and procedures to minimise the risk to children.
“This could include undertaking separate police checks for these individuals, implementing appropriate codes of conduct and ensuring adequate supervision of employees,” they said.
The legal requirement for a Blue Card currently falls under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000.
The legislation is expected to be reviewed according to the Minister for Police, Bill Byrnes’s office.
It comes as the Queensland Family and Child Commission look into the operation of Blue Cards following the alleged murder of Tiahleigh Palmer by her foster father.