3. Recruitment and Screening of Volunteers
Girl Guiding in Australia (GGiA) relies on the significant contribution made by Volunteers and is committed to recruiting in accordance with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
The recruitment of all Volunteers will be conducted in an accountable and transparent manner outlined in the Procedures and Guidance Notes for the Child Safe Child Friendly Policy.
GGiA has a uniform approach to the screening of all Adult Members, Volunteers and Employees across Australia which complies with the relevant legislation. This is a deliberate policy to promote a uniform approach across Girl Guiding in Australia.
All Adult Members* and Ongoing Volunteers will undergo a Working with Children Check (WWCC), a National Police Check, and two Referee Checks. The WWCC must be without restriction or condition and be current. All checks and clearances are required to be updated in accordance with the applicable state or territory requirements for where the volunteer lives and volunteers.
All Volunteers are required to act in accordance with the GGA Code of Conduct; and Girl Guide policies and procedures at all times.
All Volunteers will engage in an induction process tailored to their role and responsibilities, as soon as practicable after commencing their role.
GGiA will respond promptly to all concerns regarding potential or actual breaches of the GGA Code of Conduct; or Girl Guide policies and procedures by any Volunteer.
* Note – in some states and territories a WWCC is required for anyone 14 years or over who volunteers.
The procedures to support this policy are included below.
1. Volunteering for Girl Guiding in Australia
Girl Guiding in Australia (GGiA) involves Volunteers at all levels of its operations, and is committed to working towards full compliance with the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement.
GGiA involves Volunteers in its work to enable everyone who is involved in any way with GGiA to gain maximum benefit from the unique knowledge and skills Volunteers are able to offer.
GGiA will promote and protect the rights of all Volunteers who work with GGiA, as set out in Volunteering Australia’s Volunteer Rights and Volunteer Checklist.
Volunteers are an integral part of GGiA, and must:
- Be treated as fairly and equally as GGiA Members and Employees
- Be valued for their input, and called upon for their opinions
- Be consulted on matters that substantially affect the performance of their work
- Have the opportunity to effect change within GGiA through their suggestions and involvement in planning and management
- Be expected and supported to provide feedback and input to their supervisor regarding their work.
There are two types of Volunteers in Girl Guiding in Australia:
- Casual Volunteers – those who provide assistance on less than five occasions in any 12 month period and are not involved in overnight stays*
- Ongoing Volunteers – those who provide assistance on five or more occasions in any 12 month period or are involved with overnight stays
All Adult Members are considered to be Ongoing Volunteers. Whenever the term Volunteer is referenced on its own (i.e., without including Casual or Ongoing) it is always referring to Ongoing Volunteers.
*A person MUST be an Ongoing Volunteer, Adult Member or Employee if due to the nature of the activity their assistance is likely to result in unsupervised access to a Youth Member (refer Clause 3 and 4 below for additional details).
3. Casual Volunteers
Casual Volunteers are those people who volunteer with Girl Guiding in Australia on less than five occasions in any 12 month period at a Girl Guide activity where Youth Members are present, when those occasions do not include any overnight stays or assistance that is likely to result in unsupervised access to Youth Members. Examples of the support a Casual Volunteer may provide include assisting at a barbeque at a GGiA event, or talking to Youth Members about a particular topic where they will be supervised by an Adult Member.
Very occasionally, the nature of an activity does not allow for supervision of an adult by an Adult in Guiding. While this is generally avoidable with good planning, it may be unavoidable and the adult will require screening as an Ongoing Volunteer prior to taking part in the activity. Examples of such activities include:
- a volunteer participating in a caving expedition or manning an orienteering station when Youth Members are completing the activity alone (and not as a group) and there is no line of sight to another Adult in Guiding
- when a water activity only provides for one Youth Member to be in the vessel with an adult and the water activity course is such that there is no line of sight to another Adult in Guiding
- where a person is providing First Aid for an event and is likely to be providing assistance to one Youth Member (without other Youth Members present) and not be within line of sight of another Adult in Guiding
As Casual Volunteers do not have an ongoing or regular role and are supervised when they are with Youth Members, they are not required to undergo any formal screening, recruitment, or induction. If a Volunteer is participating in an overnight stay with Youth Members or may not be supervised when they are with Youth Members then they must comply with the requirements of an Ongoing Volunteer as outlined in the Ongoing Volunteer section below.
Regardless, prior to commencing, all Casual Volunteers are required to familiarise themselves with the GGA Code of Conduct, ask for clarification if there is anything that they do not understand.
When a Casual Volunteer is working in a Unit or a District, the Unit Leader or District Manager is responsible for advising the Casual Volunteer that they are expected to adhere to the GGA Code of Conduct.
Refer to the Guidance Note – Casual Volunteers in Girl Guiding in Australia for information about recording Casual Volunteers.
4. Ongoing Volunteers
Ongoing Volunteers are those people who volunteer with Girl Guiding in Australia on five or more occasions in any 12 month period at a Girl Guide activity where Youth Members are present, for any overnight stay or who due to the nature of the assistance to be provided, are likely to come into contact with Youth Members without being able to be supervised by an Adult Member of Girl Guides in accordance with the Supervision Ratio requirements. An Adult Member is an Ongoing Volunteer.
Ongoing Volunteers include Adult Members, Unit Helpers, and Trefoil Guild members. Any non-members who attend Girl Guide activities regularly, e.g., parents who help out at Unit meetings, or those who support specialist programs or activities on an ongoing basis are considered an Ongoing Volunteer.
All Ongoing Volunteers must complete their SGGO’s online application form and are required to undergo formal screening, recruitment, and induction.
When a Youth Member turns 18 and transitions to an Adult Member the following is required:
- a current Working with Children Check and National Police Check
- completion of the eGuiding module: CSCF for Adults in Guiding
- if they are commencing a leadership role – the eGuiding module CSCF for Leaders and Managers must be completed
- NO screening interview or reference checking is required.
When a current Adult Member joins a Trefoil Guild, no screening or referencing checking is required.
If a new member has been a member of Girl Guiding in Australia in the last two years reference checking is not required. A current Working with Children Check and National Police Check must be provided and the eGuiding training must be completed as required for the role. An application for membership and an Adult in Guiding screening interview should be completed in accordance with State requirements.
Whenever the term Volunteer is referenced on its own (i.e., without including Casual or Ongoing) it is always referring to Ongoing Volunteers.
Please note: Some SGGOs are already screening Volunteers in accordance with their state or territory legislation. Where the screening of Ongoing Volunteers introduced with the Child Safe Child Friendly Policy has not previously been required, a staged implementation approach by the State Girl Guide Organisation can be adopted.
5. Interviewing Applicants for Ongoing Volunteer roles including Adult Membership
All potential Ongoing Volunteers including Adult Members must be interviewed for their potential position or role. It is important that any applicant accepts that Girl Guiding in Australia puts a high priority on child safety and wellbeing.
The interview process must be in line with the GGA interview screening process included in the Guidance Note – Adults in Guiding Screening Interview. The questions included on the GGA forms, New Volunteer First Steps Form and the New Volunteer Child Safe Screening Interview Form, are designed to assess the candidate’s suitability to work with children and young people.
When a Youth Member turns 18 and transitions to an Adult Member no screening interview is required.
When an Adult Member becomes a Trefoil Guild member no screening interview is required.
6. Reference Checking for Ongoing Volunteer Roles including Adult Membership
Prior to becoming an Adult Member or Ongoing Volunteer, all applicants must undergo reference checking.
This may be carried out centrally by the relevant SGGO, however, if not, it is the responsibility of the person overseeing the recruitment to undertake these checks using the New Volunteer Record of Referee Interviews Form as a guide.
Before anyone can be approved as an Adult Member or Ongoing Volunteer, GGiA must obtain a positive and supportive reference from two independent adults with a history of working with, or supervising, the applicant in a volunteer or non-volunteer role.
The Guidance Note – Adults in Guiding Reference Check will provide additional information.
When a Youth Member turns 18 and transitions to an Adult Member no reference checking is required.
When an Adult Member becomes a Trefoil Guild member no reference checking is required.
If a new member has been a member of Girl Guiding in Australia in the last two years no reference checking is required. A current Working with Children Check and National Police Check must be provided and the eGuiding training must be completed.
7. Working with Children Checks
Prior to becoming an Adult Member or Ongoing Volunteer, all applicants must provide a current Working with Children Check. Working With Children Check (WWCC) means the checking process set out in the legislation in the state or territory in which a member resides, works and volunteers.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange and pay for the WWCC. Information regarding how to obtain a WWCC in your state or territory will be discussed at the onboarding interview prior to commencing.
Before anyone can be approved as an Adult Member or Ongoing Volunteer, they must provide GGiA with a copy of their current WWCC/or WWCC number without restrictions or conditions.
Continued membership/volunteer engagement requires continued ability to provide an unrestricted/unconditional WWCC.
Some people are not required to hold a WWCC. Where the relevant state or territory legislation provides for a particular category of people to be exempt from holding a WWCC then the application for Ongoing Volunteer or application for Adult Membership must be accompanied by a statutory declaration which provides the basis for the exemption, proof that they fall into the exempt category, and a statement that there is no outstanding complaints regarding their conduct or any other outstanding issues.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has produced a Working with Children Checks Resource Sheet which provides information about WWCCs in each state and territory.
GGA and all SGGOs must maintain a system for monitoring the ongoing currency of all WWCCs (including whether the person remains entitled to an exemption from the WWCC). If at any time GGA or a SGGO becomes aware of information that any person within Girl Guiding who holds a WWCC may have engaged in conduct inconsistent with holding a WWCC, a report must be made immediately to the entity that issued the WWCC.
The Leader-in-Charge of any event where people will be attending from interstate must consider the appropriate arrangements for WWCC. Please refer to Element 10, clause 6 for more detail.
8. National Police Check
All applicants for membership or engagement as an Ongoing Volunteer must provide a National Police Check which must have been issued within the previous six months.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange for the check. Payment for the National Police Check will be in accordance with the policy of the respective SGGO (or GGA policy if the membership or Ongoing Volunteer role is with GGA).
Where a National Police Check records a disclosable outcome(s) membership or engagement as an Ongoing Volunteer may only be granted by the relevant Commissioner (or her delegate) if she forms the view that any disclosable outcomes are consistent with suitability to volunteer in a child safe child friendly organisation, in particular there will be regard for the Mission, GGA Code of Conduct and/or the policies and procedures of WAGGGS, GGA and the SGGO.
Where a person has resided outside of Australia for a period longer than six months since the age of 18, additional information is required when making their first application for Membership or Ongoing Volunteer status. The person can provide one of the following:
- An International Criminal History Check (ICHC) issued within the last three months (There are a number of organisations that can issue an ICHC. The preferred entities are: AIS International and Fit2Work; OR
- Where the person has been a member of a WAGGGS member organisation for more than two years immediately prior to arriving in Australia then proof of membership from the WAGGGS member organisation, a reference from their supervisor (or other suitable person) from that organisation, and a statutory declaration as to their criminal history (use Statutory Declaration – Criminal History Declaration); OR
- Where the person last resided overseas for a period of six months or more over 20 years ago, then the NPC plus a statutory declaration of any criminal history for the periods they resided overseas (use Statutory Declaration – Criminal History Declaration).
At least every five years, all Adults Members and Ongoing Volunteers must provide a renewed National Police Check which must have been issued within the previous six months*.
All Adult Members and Ongoing Volunteers will be asked to make a declaration as to any change in their criminal record when renewing membership or engagement as required by the respective SGGO (or GGA if the membership/engagement is with GGA).
If at any time an Adult Member or Ongoing Volunteer is:
- Charged with a criminal offence involving violence or punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more; and/or
- Convicted or found guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment in Australia and/or overseas
they must inform the CEO of the relevant SGGO (or GGA) within seven days.
The Guidance Note – National Police Checks in Girl Guiding in Australia provides further information.
* Note: All existing Adult Members and Ongoing Volunteers as at 1 January 2022 will be required to provide a National Police Check on the next occasion that their Working with Children Check is due to be renewed.
9. Engaging an Ongoing Volunteer
Once the applicant has successfully undergone the above process, they may be formally offered an ongoing volunteering role.
If there is reluctance to engage an Ongoing Volunteer for any reason, with or without evidence this must be discussed with the relevant Region Manager or State Commissioner.
Recruiting safe and appropriate Volunteers (Casual or Ongoing) and Adult Members MUST be prioritised over a person’s availability, enthusiasm, or personal connections.
10. Registration of Volunteers
All SGGOs collect and store details of all Volunteers (including Casual Volunteers). In most SGGOs this will be on the State database. For Casual Volunteers this will be a Record of Attendance that is to be kept by the Unit, District, Region or SGGO responsible for the event.
Please note: The process for recording details of all Volunteers who are not Adult Members will be introduced by each SGGO during 2022.
Collection and analysis of this information allows GGiA, to be familiar with the diversity, skill base, and individual needs of all Volunteers, and informs ongoing review and improvement of Guiding.
The person overseeing the recruitment of a Volunteer must follow the SGGO processes to ensure that the information is recorded for the relevant person. This will usually be the District Manager.
While the details are maintained at SGGO level, access to Volunteer information may occasionally be sought by the Chief Commissioner.
If the decision is made to not recruit a Volunteer, that information must be recorded and included on the Declined or Cancelled Membership Register.
11. Privacy Principles
All personal information about Volunteers must be managed in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles, which outline how Australian agencies must handle, use, and manage personal information.
The GGA Information Sheet – Privacy in Girl Guiding summarises how the Principles are followed in Girl Guiding.
All Adults in Guiding must be familiar with, and follow, the Principles. Each SGGO may also have specific legislative provisions for their state or territory.
12. Obligations of Ongoing Volunteers
All Ongoing Volunteers, including new Adult Members, must receive information on how to access copies of:
- the GGA Code of Conduct; and
- the policies and procedures of GGA and the respective SGGO.
13. The GGA Code of Conduct
The GGA Code of Conduct sets the standards and behaviours expected and required by all people who are involved in any way with GGiA.
Volunteers are required to always act in accordance with the GGA Code of Conduct.
Volunteers are required to familiarise themselves with the GGA Code of Conduct, and to ask for clarification if there is anything that they do not understand.
14. Induction of Ongoing Volunteers
All Ongoing Volunteers are supported by their supervisor to understand their formal roles and responsibilities. For Leaders the supervisor is usually their District Manager.
Within six weeks of commencing as an Ongoing Volunteer, all new Ongoing Volunteers must complete the online eGuiding module CSCF for Adults in Guiding. Modified delivery of this training can be approved by a SGGO on an individual basis.
Adult Members must familiarise themselves with the Australian Guide Program and the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Method.
* Please note: It may not be possible to complete ‘CSCF for Adults in Guiding’ in the time period recommended. For example screening processes and access to the eGuiding may delay the onboarding process. In these situations, the module should be completed as soon as practicable
15. Supervision of Volunteers
All Volunteers are entitled to supervision and training in line with their role and responsibilities within GGiA, and in line with Element 4: Supervision and Training of Volunteers.
16. Disciplinary Proceedings
If anyone involved with GGiA thinks that any Adult Member has not followed any aspect of the GGA Code of Conduct, (this includes the Girl Guide Promise, the Guide Law or any Girl Guide policies), they must raise their concerns as soon as possible with their supervisor.
If the breach of the GGA Code of Conduct relates in any way to a matter involving harm, risk of harm and/or child abuse and neglect, a mandatory notification must be made immediately in line with the legislative requirements in the respective state or territory. Procedures for this reporting are included in Element 8 – Responding to Abuse and Neglect.
Any reference to ‘harm’ refers to the kind of harm against which a child or young person is ordinarily protected.
If the concern is in relation to the supervisor, support should be sought from someone else in a senior leadership role. This could be someone senior within the State office or the GGA office if it relates to a person working within GGA.
If a Youth Member has concerns, they must raise their concerns with their Unit Leader or with their relevant SGGO office directly.
The process for Investigations into any alleged breaches of the GGA Code of Conduct, must follow the GGA Complaint Resolution and Investigation Process included in the Members’ section on SGGO websites.
Please note: The Complaints Resolution and Investigations process is being finalised and will be available by 1 January 2022.
17. Discontinuation of Volunteers
GGiA has the right to discontinue any Volunteer, either as a Volunteer for GGiA, or as a Volunteer in a particular role.
If a Volunteer is to be discontinued, the Volunteer must be provided with a written explanation.
If the discontinued Volunteer does not agree with the decision, they have the right to appeal the decision by writing directly to the relevant Commissioner.
The relevant Commissioner must acknowledge receipt of the written appeal within 14 days of receiving the written appeal.
If a Volunteer is discontinued, that information must be recorded and be available to GGA and all SGGOs.
Girl Guiding Resources
CSCF for Adults in Guiding – refer eGuiding learning platform
CSCF for Leaders & Managers – refer eGuiding learning platform
Last Modified: 02/08/22 at 4:01 PM