When it comes to child safety laws, it can be hard to keep up. With every new regulation comes new changes, procedures and obligations. For schools with a small administration team, the work can be overwhelming.
On the 10 February 2022, James Merlino, the Minster for Education in Victoria, introduced the Ministerial Order No. 1359 – Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools and school boarding premises. Superseding the original 2015 Ministerial Order 870, this new legislation increases the obligations and expectations to safeguard children in schools and other educational contexts to new levels. While the legislation only applies in Victoria for now, it is common for other state governments to adopt improvements from their peers. Victorian schools are scrambling to prepare themselves for future audits while schools in other states have a chance to get ahead of the curve.
Oho is on a mission to help schools to uphold their duty of care to students and staff, while also relieving them of the administrative burden that comes with it.
Oho is a revolutionary software tool that has been designed specifically with schools in mind. Using advanced data collection and verification technology, Oho turns the once time-consuming manual process of checking multiple spreadsheets and accreditation databases into a simple and streamline one that enhances schools’ verification, storage and reporting capabilities.
Learn how we can help your organisation here.
What are the key changes to Ministerial Order 1359?
In simple terms, Ministerial Order 1359 states that every Victorian school must have begun implementing the new 11 child safe standards by June 30th this year. Evidence indicates other states will follow suit.
What are the 11 child safe standards?
From early learning facilities to universities, all schools throughout Australia must now comply with the eleven child safe standards.
1. Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.
2. Child safety and wellbeing are embedded in organisational leadership,
governance and culture.
3. Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in
decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
4. Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
5. Equity is upheld, and diverse needs are respected in policy and practice.
6. People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and well-being values in practice.
7. Processes for complaints and concerns are child-focused.
8. Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
9. Physical and online environments promote safety and well-being while
minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
10.Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.
11. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.
And now, with the updated child safe standards in place, Victorian schools must also:
● Implement a complaints process.
● Teach staff about child safety knowledge, skill and awareness.
● Manage child safety in both physical and online environments.
● Implement policies and procedures around child safeguarding.
How will Ministerial Order 1359 affect my school?
While a win for students, the Ministerial Order 1359 means much more administrative work for school staff.
Schools will now have their hands full instituting a complaints process and re-training staff in diversity and well-being. Child safety in both physical and online environments will also need to be closely monitored and managed, meaning that many schools will need to implement new policies and procedures around child safeguarding.
And finally, schools will need a new system in place that will improve their worker screening practices. And as this process isn’t automated, this will be a gargantuan task placed on already stretched administration teams – making calls, following up on emails and searching for information online.
How can Oho help with Ministerial Order 1359?
Oho is cloud-based, software solution that is tailorable to meet any school’s accreditation needs, from Working with Children Checks (WWCC) and teacher registrations, to in-house required accreditations including first aid certificates, COVID marshal certificates or coaching licenses.
Scalable, customisable and continuously working, Oho works behind the scenes to help schools to do the right thing to protect students every step of the way to complete compliance. Using a cutting-edge, software-driven approach, Oho continuously verifies and refreshes employee, contractor and volunteer accreditations, eliminating onerous administration by up to 80% with the goal of 100% compliance.
We can integrate Oho into your HR application to create a single source of truth for all verifiable and expiry-based accreditations. We simplify and strengthen safeguarding, so you can focus on creating a safe and happy school.
To get started with Oho today visit our website, book your free demonstration with one of our support staff at 1300 937 646 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spotlight: How Oho supported student safety and wellbeing at a large, well-known Victorian private school
1,900 Active full-time, part-time & casual employees, contractors and volunteers including:
- 300 teacher registrations.
- 1600 VIC WWCC’s (+ 6 cards from other states).
This school needed a streamlined way to prioritise its students’ safety and well-being. So the College started to look for a national accreditation monitoring system that was easy to use, automated and capable enough to handle an organisation as big as theirs. Oho was able to offer everything they needed to relieve their accreditation burden.
Oho was able to:
- Automatically verify nearly 7,000 accreditations per year providing compliance confidence at all times.
- Automatically refresh and update the school’s database for more than 250 accreditation renewals of VIT & WWCC each year saving hours in collection effort.
- Help the school get back 200 hours of administrative time per month.
Thanks to Oho’s automated verification system, the college improved its data quality, processing time, and process efficiency. It was also able to reduce errors in their record keeping and increased administration employee satisfaction, as it reduced their administration burden.