Vulnerable children's legislation

What is involved in safety checking workers?

Schools, kura and their contracted providers must safety check all their children's workers before employment and update this every three years. 

Children's workers are described as follows:

Core children’s workers work alone with children, or have primary responsibility for, or control over, them.

Non-core children’s workers are workers who do or may have regular or overnight contact with children, without a parent or guardian being present. 

 The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 introduced:

  • more comprehensive safety checking for children’s workers
  • restrictions on people with certain criminal convictions being engaged or employed as core children’s workers (unless they have an exemption).

Children's worker safety checking – Legislation website

Safety checking

Safety checking is a careful process of gathering and assessing information. It includes:

  • identity confirmation
  • interviewing
  • referee checking
  • police vetting
  • considering risk.

If a prospective employee is a teacher who holds a current practising certificate their police vet will have been done.

An urgent police vet is available in a critical or crisis situation. 

As all children’s workers need to be safety checked every three years, we recommend you keep a record of who has been safety checked, when this was completed and the results of the checking. This will help you with planning and completing this important work ahead of the required time. 

For advice see:

Safety checking workers – Ministry of Education

Police vetting – Ministry of Education

Safety checks – NZSTA

Requirements for safety checks of children's workers – Legislation website

Overview of relevant legislation

Use the link below to view an overview of the safety checking and police vetting requirements of the Education Act 1989, the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 in relation to the adults coming into your school or kura.

What checks? – Ministry of Education (PDF) 

Further information

If in doubt, contact NZSTA.

Updated: July 2016

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