The blue card in Queensland is well-known to people who work regularly with children. It’s a requirement for any job where you’re in regular contact with kids, and a few others which might seem less obvious.
Cleaners are one profession that might not immediately seem like they need a blue card. However, in many cases, they do and failing to make sure your cleaners have one could land you in trouble.
In this article, we’ll explore what the blue card is, why cleaners need one, and how to go about getting one.
What is a blue card?
A blue card is a certification that qualifies people in Queensland to work with children. It essentially certifies that the worker has undergone a testing process and is safe to work with kids.
There are some jobs which obviously require a blue card — like teachers, children’s doctors, sports coaches, daycare staff, and those who volunteer with kids.
One often overlooked job is that of the cleaner.
Why do cleaners need a blue card?
It’s a good question. After all, cleaners aren’t usually working directly with kids.
However, many cleaners work in environments where lots of children are present. Schools are the main example here — according to the official Queensland Government website, cleaners working at children’s hospitals do not need a blue card but those who work in schools and nurseries do.
It’s also worth noting that blue cards are NOT required for one-off jobs or infrequent work. This is defined by the government as less than:
- 8 consecutive days
- Once a week, each week, over 4 weeks
- Once a fortnight, each fortnight, over 8 weeks
- How to get a blue card
The process of obtaining a blue card as a cleaner is fairly straightforward.
- Were you convicted for any offence or national charge (even if no conviction was recorded)?
- Any child protection prohibition orders
- Any disqualification orders
- Are you subject to reporting obligations under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 or Dangerous Prisoner (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003?
- Any disciplinary information held by professional organisations such as teachers, child care licensees, and foster carers
- Any information that the Police Commissioner may provide in relation to police investigations into allegations of serious child-related sexual offences. This applies even if no charges were laid.
Once this stage is complete, then one of two things will happen:
- You’ll get a positive notice letter and a blue card. This means your application was successful and you don’t have any police or disciplinary information to suggest you aren’t eligible to work with children
- You’ll receive a negative notice. This means there is police or disciplinary information that prohibits you from working with children. If your result was negative, you cannot work in regulated employment or run a regulated business.
Do you employ people who need a blue card?
It’s not just individual staff members who need to consider the blue card. If you run an organisation or agency that employs cleaners who might be working around children, you should make sure they have a valid blue card.
This is fairly easy to confirm online, here. It’s a quick way to make sure your staff are safe to do their current jobs and avoid any legal issues.
How much does a blue card cost?
The standard fee to apply for a blue card is $92.30. Sometimes employers will cover this cost, if you’re a cleaner it’s worth checking.
There are also some exemptions to the fee, such as:
- Volunteers (who do not also do paid work with children)
- Trainee students
- Exemption card applicants
Finally, it’s worth noting that some people are disqualified from applying for a blue card upfront. If these people even apply, it’s an offence and can carry a penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine of up to $55,000.
Make sure you are not in this group before even filling out the form. If you’re an employer, make sure your staff are all clear on this.
Getting a blue card is, for the majority of applicants, a fairly quick and easy process. It’s crucial that you go through the steps if you will be working alongside children, or in environments such as schools, as a cleaner.
If you’re looking to hire your own cleaning service, Tailored Services has years of experience working with individuals and companies from all industries. All our staff are fully trained and certified, and we’re committed to working with you to find the best solutions to your needs.