Part 1 – Commitment
1.1 Statement of Commitment
Startup Mackay Inc. is a not-for-profit association dedicated to organising events such as Startup Weekends, Hackathons, Mentor events, monthly meetups, teach startup techniques, help entrepreneurs find investment, and generally foster the local startup ecosystem.
As a sub-program of Startup Mackay, Startup Weekend Youth aims to engage the entrepreneurial spirit of children in a safe and direct way. It also provides a medium for parents to interact with their children and provide a teaching opportunity for schools.
Startup Mackay Inc. is committed to providing services to children and young people to assist in the developing the following skills, support or values:
• Developing an entrepreneurial mindset.
• To be inclusive of all participants in the Startup Community.
• To connect children & youths who are driven to build something new, or innovate on existing business ideas.
• To provide resources for a young entrepreneur’s journey and information for the next steps that are needed for success.
• To teach what it really takes to start a company, through events and workshops.
All children who participate in Startup Mackay events have a right to feel and be safe. Startup Mackay are committed to ensuring that the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children accessing our programmes are maintained at all times.
In order to support this commitment, we are dedicated to our child and youth risk management strategy which has policies and procedures in place to effectively address the safety and wellbeing of children and young people accessing our events.
1.2 Codes of Conduct
Code of Conduct for Children
As children and young people who are accessing Startup Mackay events we agree that:
• We will abide by the rules set out by Startup Mackay on their website when participating at their events. We understand that these rules are in place to protect our safety and the safety of the children or families we are interacting with at the events.
• We will respect other children, young people and adults.
• We will ask our parent or carer’s permission to participate at the events.
• We will only provide Startup Mackay with the information they request to accept our participation for the events. We will not provide them with any personal information apart from our first name, parent or carer’s name and email address, postcode and T-Shirt size.
• We will be polite and respectful in our messages to Startup Mackay when we are participating.
• We will not give our personal email address or phone number, or home address to Startup Mackay.
• If Startup Mackay visits our school we will listen respectfully to what they have to say and ask questions if we need to find out more about what Startup Mackay does. We will also make suggestions to help Startup Mackay do an even better job to help me participate at their events.
• We will speak up if we are worried or concerned about something.
Code of Conduct for Parents, Carers and Teachers
As a parent/carer or teacher of a child involved in events provided by Startup Mackay, I agree that:
• I will respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person, regardless of their abilities, gender, religion or cultural background.
• I will supervise and support my child or student/s when they are participating in Startup Mackay events.
• I will read and ensure that my child or student/s’ participation in Startup Mackay events abides with Startup Mackay’s Terms of Participation and this policy.
• As a teacher or educator participating in Startup Mackay events on a class or school wide basis, I will always seek the permission of parents or carers of my students for their child/children to participate in Startup Mackay events.
• I will not provide any personal address or other personal information to Startup Mackay when helping my child or students join an event held by Startup Mackay.
• I understand that this Code and Strategy is in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of participants of children participating in Startup Mackay events.
• I will treat any communications from Startup Mackay with respect and respond in a timely fashion to requests for permission to accept my child’s/students’ participation at an event.
• I will be courteous and polite in my communications with Startup Mackay.
Code of Conduct for Startup Mackay Employees/Volunteers
As employees/volunteers for Startup Mackay, we agree that:
• We will treat others with respect, courtesy and dignity, and promote the wellbeing of our event participants.
• We will support all efforts to remove any form of harm to children and encourage a safe and supportive environment.
• We will always be courteous, polite and timely in our communications with participants of our events.
• We will not directly contact a child or ask for their personal information apart from that collected in relation to participation in Startup Mackay events.
• We will always seek the permission of a parent or carer for a child to participate in a Startup Mackay event.
• We will keep the personal information participants provide us with in order to participate in a Startup Mackay event confidential and will never pass it on to another organisation.
• When visiting schools to talk to children about Startup Mackay events we will:
• Speak to groups of children/students only and only in the presence of a teacher or other member of school staff.
• Not have any physical contact with any children or student.
• Not take photos or video images of children without the permission of both the school and the child’s parent or guardian.
• Seek suggestions on how we can make it easier or safer for kids to participate at Startup Mackay events.
• Use non-discriminatory, respectful and non-judgmental language.
• If we use competitions to promote Startup Mackay events to your child, we will only contact parents or carers to notify the winners. If we publish the names of competition winners, we will only use the first names of the winning child and provide no other identifying information.
Part 2 – Capability
Startup Mackay is committed to maintaining recruitment, selection, training and management strategies that encourage best practice and enhance the safety and well-being of children and young people.
2.1 Recruitment and Selection
• Position descriptions and job advertisements include clear statements about Startup Mackay’s commitment to a safe and supportive work environment.
• Position descriptions for jobs that involve speaking to children about Startup Mackay will clearly outline what the activities to be undertaken with children are and Startup Mackay’s expectations with respect to these duties.
• Startup Mackay will prepare position descriptions and selection criteria in accordance with the organisation’s policies and code of conduct. The position descriptions will outline the skills, experience and responsibilities of the role.
• All Startup Mackay employees that have access to the Startup Mackay online systems including Social Media are required to have a current blue card or a pending application in process before commencing work. See Part 4.1 of this strategy for the policies and procedures Startup Mackay have in place for compliance with legislation which regulates the blue card system.
• The requirement for employees to hold a current blue card or be eligible to receive a blue card is included in position descriptions for any relevant job roles advertised.
• Startup Mackay will employ people who are committed to contributing to a safe and supportive service environment for children and young people.
• Startup Mackay will employ people who share the organisation’s values.
• Startup Mackay will inform candidates if they are to be subjected to a police check, blue card screening, referee checks, identification verification.
• Startup Mackay will request that candidates disclose any information relevant to their eligibility to engage in activities involving children and young people.
• Referee checks are performed to confirm a job applicant’s suitability for working with children for relevant positions.
• All candidates to recruitment processes are reviewed on merit and chosen on the basis of assessment against the relevant selection criteria.
• All Startup Mackay employees are required to sign an employee agreement that states their commitment to complying with this strategy.
2.2 Training and Management
• All Startup Mackay employees currently employed will receive training in the Child and Youth Protection Strategy when it is initially released and when any updates are made to the policy.
• Startup Mackay employees will be provided with ongoing training as appropriate to assist them in developing new skills and meeting the requirements of their positions.
• Startup Mackay are committed to providing a safe and supportive workplace for their employees. All employees are encouraged to report any inappropriate behaviour to a manager. For reporting processes for suspected harm or disclosure of any inappropriate behaviour towards children see Parts 3.1 and 3.2 of this strategy.
• Startup Mackay will provide information to employees on the external support and counselling services available to them as required.
• The Volunteer Manager of Startup Mackay will be responsible for making sure training procedures are followed and any training requirements are met.
• Each employee of Startup Mackay will undertake an exit questionnaire or interview on their departure from the organisation.
Part 3 – Concerns
3.1 Policies and procedures for handling disclosures and suspicions of harm
For Startup Mackay employees who have direct contact with children, the following policy and procedures will ensure that they respond as quickly as possible and in the interests of the child, if disclosures of harm are received or harm is suspected.
All Startup Mackay employees will receive training in identifying and handling disclosures or suspicions of harm as a part of induction training, or when this strategy is implemented for existing employees. This policy and procedures will be reviewed annually to ensure that the Startup Mackay are continuing to provide a safe and supportive environment for children.
Harm may be categorised in the following types:
• physical abuse, for example, beating, shaking, burning, biting, causing bruise or fractures by inappropriate discipline, giving children alcohol, drugs or inappropriate medication
• emotional or psychological abuse, for example, constant yelling, insults, swearing, criticism, bullying, not giving children positive support and encouragement
• neglect for example, not giving children sufficient food, clothing, enough sleep, hygiene, medical care, leaving children alone or children missing school, and
• sexual abuse or exploitation, for example, sexual jokes or touching, exposing children to sexual acts or pornography or having sexual intercourse with a child or young person under 16 years of age (even if the child appears to have consented).
A disclosure of harm occurs when someone, including a child, tells a person about harm that has happened or is likely to happen. A suspicion of harm can occur when a person is concerned about significant changes in behaviour or new, unexplained or suspicious injuries to a child.
Procedures to minimise harm to children and young people
Startup Mackay works to minimise harm to children and young people by acting in a manner that supports their interests and wellbeing, by:
• making sure that children know that it’s their right to feel safe at all times when participating in Startup Mackay events;
• taking anything a child or young person says seriously and following up on their concerns;
• encouraging them to tell their parent/carer or teacher about any suspicious activities or people.
Procedures for receiving disclosures of harm
When receiving a disclosure of harm Startup Mackay employees are to:
• remain calm and talk discreetly to the child or person disclosing.
• not promise that they will keep a secret, tell them they have done the right thing in telling you but that you’ll need to tell someone who can help keep them safe.
• only ask enough questions to confirm the need to report the matter.
Documenting disclosures or suspicion of harm
Suspicions of harm. If any Startup Mackay employees have concerns about the safety of a child, they will record their record their concerns in a non-judgmental and accurate manner as soon as possible, and following the reporting procedures outlined below.
If an employee of Startup Mackay witnesses unsafe or harmful actions towards a child participating in a Startup Mackay event, the employee will intervene immediately, provided it is safe to do so. Otherwise, the employee will call the police.
On receiving a disclosure of harm, Startup Mackay employees are to complete an incident report recording the details as soon as possible so that they are accurately captured, including:
• the time, date and place of the disclosure;
• ‘word for word’ what happened and what was said, including anything you said and any actions that have been taken; and
• date of the report and signature.
Reporting disclosures or suspicions of harm
Startup Mackay will not conduct its own enquiries in relation to any disclosure or suspicion of harm and will not attempt to mediate an outcome between the parties involved.
If a Startup Mackay employee receives a disclosure or suspects harm they are to report this immediately to the current President of Startup Mackay. If a disclosure is made on a school or educational facilities’ premises, the matter will also be referred to the principal or chief officer of the facility.
All disclosures or suspicions of harm will then be reported to the:
• Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) on free call 1800 811 810, or
• Queensland Police Service (to the relevant local station)
Actions following a disclosure of harm
• Support and counselling will be offered to all parties involved.
• The child involved should be offered appropriate counselling and support in the environment where the disclosure was reported. For example, if a disclosure was made on school grounds, this should be sought through appropriate school support processes.
• Details of the parties who made the report and who are involved in the matter will be kept completely confidential.
• Any Startup Mackay employee who reports suspected child abuse is protected from civil or criminal legal actions and is not considered to have broken any code of conduct or ethics.
• If the person who is alleged to have committed the harm to child is an employee of Startup Mackay, their duties will be reviewed and any further interaction with children via Startup Mackay events will suspended until the matter is resolved. Appropriate disciplinary action which could include termination of employment will be taken by the Startup Mackay management committee in response to any subsequent policy investigation.
3.2 Plan for managing breaches of the child and youth risk management strategy
This plan outlines the steps to be taken following a breach of the child and youth risk management strategy in order to address the breach in a fair and supportive manner. A breach is any action or inaction by any Startup Mackay employees or participants to Startup Mackay events that fail to comply with any part of this strategy.
Who must comply with this plan?
• Startup Mackay employees, both paid, volunteer and committee members.
• Attendees participating in Startup Mackay events.
• Parents and carers.
• Children and young people.
Processes to manage a breach
Breaches will be managed in a fair, unbiased and supportive manner. The following will occur:
• all people concerned will be advised of the process and be able to provide their version of events.
• the details of the breach, including the versions of all parties and the outcome will be recorded.
• matters discussed in relation to the breach will be kept confidential.
Suitable outcomes for breaches
Depending on the nature of the breach, outcomes may include:
• emphasising the relevant component of the child and youth risk management strategy, for example, the code of conduct.
• providing closer supervision.
• further education and training.
• mediation between those involved in the incident (where appropriate).
• disciplinary procedures if necessary.
• termination of employment, or
• reviewing current policies and procedures and developing new policies and procedures if necessary.
3.3 Planning processes for high risk activities and special events
This Child and Youth Management Risk Strategy applies to the day-to-day activities and operations of Startup Mackay. Startup Mackay activities and planned events are not considered high risk because our events involve only limited direct contact with children as follows:
The on-line event sign up process does not involve direct contact with children. Startup Mackay only requests a parent or carer’s email address to confirm participation details, and we advise children participating not to provide their personal contact details or address; and
Startup Mackay employees will only speak directly to children about Startup Mackay events in groups and in the presence of a teacher or school staff.
If any high risk activities or special events are planned, these events will require the prior approval of Startup Mackay’s current President. A detailed risk management strategy must be drafted and endorsed by the President prior to any high risk event or activity occurring.
Part 4 – Consistency
4.1 Policies and procedures for compliance with Chapter 8 of the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000
In Queensland, employment screening is undertaken as required by the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (the Act) to determine if a person is eligible to work with children and young people in certain types of employment or business, based on their past police or disciplinary information. Eligible persons in relevant child related employment need to obtain a blue card. The Act also prescribes the requirements for the development, implementation and review of this child and youth risk management strategy.
The blue card system prohibits certain ‘disqualified’ people upfront from entering into regulated child related employment and ensures that other people who are not disqualified but whose past behaviour indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children are prevented from working in regulated child-related employment. The Public Safety Business Agency that administers the blue card system also undertakes ongoing monitoring of the police information of blue card holders and service provider’s compliance with their blue card obligations.
Blue card compliance
• All Startup Mackay employees that have access to online system systems including social media are required to have a current blue card or a pending application in process before commencing work.
• All information kept in relation to blue card applications, renewals or notifications will be kept confidential.
• All applicants to relevant job positions advertised will be notified of the requirement to either hold or be eligible to apply for a current blue card.
• New employees are advised that by signing a blue card application form, they are consenting to the screening process under the Act.
• The contact person who is responsible for managing blue cards within Queensland for Startup Mackay is the current President.
• This contact person will be trained in and maintain an up to date knowledge of the blue card system requirements for application, renewals and notifications and register maintenance in order to comply with the Act.
• This contact person will maintain a blue card register of all employees, both paid and volunteer, including any employees that do not require blue cards.
• When blue card forms are completed, the contact person must sight the documents to confirm proof of identity for the applicant and will submit the forms on behalf of Startup Mackay to the relevant administering government authority.
Blue card applications and maintenance
At the initial application stage, Startup Mackay must:
• notify all applicants that by signing the application form they are consenting to the screening process under the Act.
• be able to certify that the ‘contact person’ has sighted documents to confirm an employee’s identity as prescribed under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000.
• carefully check through the application form to ensure all sections have been appropriately completed. This will minimise unnecessary delays that can result if the Public Safety Business Agency (the Agency) is required to request further information after receiving an incorrect or incomplete form.
• be aware that while paid employees can commence employment after an application form has been submitted to the Agency, volunteers and trainee students must not commence regulated employment until they hold a valid blue card and positive notice;
• explicitly warn all potential staff (paid employees, volunteers and students) that it is an offence for a ‘disqualified person’ to sign a blue card application form or a renewal form. It is an offence for an employer not to provide this warning. A person is disqualified if they:
o have been convicted of a ‘disqualifying offence’.
o are a ‘reportable offender’ with current reporting obligations under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004, or
o are subject to an offender prohibition order under the Child Protection (Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2008, or
o are subject to a sexual offender order under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003, or
o are subject to a disqualification order from a court prohibiting them from applying for, or holding a blue card (see the Agency’s website for further details of all the above).
• inform prospective employees who may be ‘disqualified persons’, that in certain circumstances, they may be able to apply for an ‘Eligibility declaration’ under the Act; and
• send a completed ‘Authorisation to confirm a valid blue card’ form to the Agency to register your organisation as the applicant’s current employer if a new employee has a current blue card. This is compulsory and Startup Mackay may be subject to penalties for failing to submit an authorisation form for a new employee. As an authorised employer, the Agency will notify your organisation if there is any change to the validity of the person’s blue card due to a change in their police information.
In addition to Startup Mackay submitting the ‘Authorisation to confirm a valid blue card’ form to the Agency, it may check the validity of prospective employees’ blue card on the Agency’s website. This check can only be performed if Startup Mackay has the details of the employee’s name as it appears on the card, the full blue card number, and its expiry.
While a blue card application is being processed, Startup Mackay must not:
• employ volunteers or students until they have received their blue cards, nor
• employ any person in regulated employment:
o who withdraws their consent to employment screening.
o whose application has been withdrawn for any other reason, or
o who is issued with a negative notice or whose blue card is cancelled or suspended.
If Startup Mackay’s employees or volunteers advise the contact person that they have had a change in their police or disciplinary information after being issued with a blue card (and during the application process if it is a paid employee who has already commenced working), Startup Mackay must not continue to employ the person unless it has submitted a ‘Change in police information’ form to the Agency. Startup Mackay should be aware that its employees and volunteers are not required to disclose to it the specific nature of any change in their police or disciplinary information, only that a change has occurred. As a listed employer, (either on the initial application form that was submitted or on an ‘Authorisation to confirm a valid blue card’ form), the Agency will notify Startup Mackay of any suspension or cancellation of the person’s blue card.
If an employee has had a blue card cancelled or suspended or receives a negative notice after a change in police information, Startup Mackay must:
• ensure the employee does not continue to undertake child related work within your organisation (work that is regulated by the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, and
• if it continues to employ the person to perform work that is not child-related, ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place to manage any risks of harm to children and young people that may arise as a result of the person’s ongoing employment within Startup Mackay.
Startup Mackay is also required to notify the Agency if an applicant or blue card holder stops working for it and if the contact person for your organisation changes.
It is important to note that:
• blue cards are current for three years unless cancelled or suspended;
• the blue card renewal process involves a new national police information check, a check of disciplinary information where applicable and a complete reassessment of an applicant’s eligibility; and
• in order to continue working while a renewal application is being processed, blue card holders must submit their renewal application at least 30 days prior to their card’s expiry date.
Implementation and review of this strategy
This strategy will be implemented prior to the commencement of Startup Mackay events and all Startup Mackay employees will be informed of and receive training on its contents. This document will be also be published on Startup Mackay’s website and participants to their events will be informed of the strategy and their requirement to comply with it when participating at events.
This strategy will be reviewed on an annual basis in March every year, or as necessary in the following circumstances:
• If significant changes are made to Startup Mackay’s events that involve reconsideration of any child safety risks,
• In order to comply with any legislative or policy changes made under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, and
• In order to comply with child safety legislative requirements in other states where Startup Mackay events operate.
The annual review process will consider:
• whether the policies and procedures were followed;
• whether any incidents relating to children and young people’s risk management issues occurred;
• the actual process used to manage any incidents;
• the effectiveness of the policies and procedures in preventing or minimising harm to children and young people; and
• the content and frequency of training in relation to the child and youth risk management strategy.
All changes to the child and youth risk management strategy will be appropriately communicated to Startup Mackay employees.
4.2 Strategies for communication and support for all stakeholders
Stakeholders of Startup Mackay consist of our employees, volunteers and committee members, our participant sponsors, schools, parents and carers, and children. These stakeholders will be made aware of this child and youth risk management strategy through the following:
• The strategy will be published on the Startup Mackay website and will be made available to all stakeholders and participants when joining Startup Mackay events.
• Sponsors participating in Startup Mackay events will be provided with information about the strategy when requesting sponsorship.
• Children and their parents or carers using the Startup Mackay events systems will be asked to read and comply with this strategy when participating in Startup Mackay events.
• Startup Mackay employees visiting schools to educate children about events will provide information about this child and youth management strategy, in particular the codes of conduct expected of all Startup Mackay participants, including children participating, and
• As appropriate via general Startup Mackay communication or publicity strategies such as e-newsletters, blog or other social media posts, media releases and media appearances.
4.3 Employee Register
Startup Mackay will establish and maintain an employee register (in hardcopy or electronic format) which records all business operators, paid employees and volunteers involved in child-related activities within the organisation.
The blue card register must contain a written record of all employees within Startup Mackay, including:
• whether or not the person requires a card (if not, why not);
• the type of application (e.g. paid or volunteer);
• when the person applied and/or the date of issue of the positive notice and blue card;
• the expiry date of the blue card;
• the renewal date (this should be at least 30 days before expiry to allow employees, including volunteers, to continue working in child-related employment);
• whether a negative notice has been issued;
• any change in status to a blue card (e.g. a change in police information, the positive notice and blue card is cancelled or suspended);
• where there is a change in police information, the date Startup Mackay informed the Agency’s Blue Card Services of the change; and
• any change of personal information of an employee, including the date they informed the Agency’s Blue Card Services (Startup Mackay should note that it is an offence for an employee to fail to notify on the appropriate form of any change in personal details within 14 days).
Under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000, the Agency’s Blue Card Services has the power to conduct an audit on an organisation to ensure that the organisation maintains an employee register. Startup Mackay will need to develop procedures for establishing and maintaining a register in either electronic or hard copy format.
Startup Mackay may be asked for a copy of the employee register if a complaint is made in relation to an individual or the organisation itself. Failure to comply with this requirement is an offence.
The employee register will be regularly reviewed and updated.