Is your early learning centre prepared for the Reportable Conduct Scheme?

The Victorian Government introduced changes to its Reportable Conduct Scheme that came into effect on 1 January 2019. The changes impact Early Learning Centres, Out of School Hours and Occasional Childcare providers.

It is important to understand how this Scheme may affect your business. The key outtake of the recent change is the introduction of strict reporting and investigation requirements for the head of organisations to ensure the Commission for Children and Young People (the Commission) is informed of every allegation of certain types of misconduct involving children by employees and volunteers in relevant organisations.

What is the Reportable Conduct Scheme?

The Scheme applies to anyone who has witnessed, or has reasonable belief, that a worker or volunteer has demonstrated reportable conduct or misconduct towards a child. Under this Scheme, any event that is deemed as a ‘reportable allegation’ must be reported to the commission.

A ‘reportable allegation’ encompasses a broad range of misconduct. Examples of reportable allegations include sexual offences, sexual misconduct, physical violence, behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm, or significant neglect, where the victim is under the age of 18 when the allegation occurred.

Importantly, the scope of reportable conduct is broad and not limited to criminal conduct. For example, sexual misconduct includes inappropriate behaviours that are not necessarily criminal, such as inappropriate discussion of sex and sexuality with a child.

If the head of an organisation or childcare centre becomes aware of any new information that causes them to form a ‘reasonable belief’ that reportable conduct was committed, this must be investigated.

What is the process to take if reportable conduct occurs?

Ultimate responsibility for compliance with the Scheme lies with the Head of the relevant organisation. For the Head of an early learning centre, it is important that when dealing with a reportable allegation they treat the matter with urgency in a structured matter. Systems should be in place to enable anyone to notify their concerns or allegations, to investigate the allegations and to prevent abuse and follow up allegations appropriately.

Reasonable belief beyond just suspicion must be held that an employee or volunteer has committed reportable conduct or misconduct. While there must be some objective basis for the belief, proof or certainty is not necessarily required for an investigation to take place. The investigation should consider whether it is more likely than not that reportable conduct has occurred.

The Commission must be made aware of any reportable allegations within 3 business days, whereupon after the investigation process must be clearly defined and developed, with the findings reported to the Commission.

The Scheme does not replace the need to report allegations of abuse including criminal conduct and family violence to Victoria Police.

Any matter under investigation by Victoria Police takes priority over a reportable conduct investigation, and may require an organisation’s investigation to be put on hold until the Police report is completed. Additionally, findings of reportable conduct can be shared by the Commission with Police, Working with Children Check Unit, and Regulators.

 How can I best prepare my early learning centre?

  • You should familiarise yourself with the broad range of obligations imposed upon your early learning centre by the Scheme, especially for the Head of the organisation.
  • Investigation processes need to be clearly defined and developed to ensure you and your organisation meet the Scheme requirements. The head of the organisation can be personally penalised for non-compliance, or an unreasonably delayed response.
  • It is important to understand the low threshold for reporting, the short time frame required for action, and the strict requirements stipulating the steps taken in the investigation.

All reportable allegations regarding current employee or volunteers must be notified, regardless of whether the conduct occurred before, during or outside their role within the organisation.

Help is available

If you have any concerns regarding your obligations as the Head of an early learning or kindergarten centre, contact Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213, or visit

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