The Reportable Conduct Scheme in Western Australia

From 1 January 2023, the Reportable Conduct Scheme (Scheme) in Western Australia has come into effect and organisations must be aware of their child safety obligations under the Scheme

On 1 January 2023, the Reportable Conduct Scheme (Scheme) came into effect in Western Australia following the commencement of the Parliamentary Commissioner Amendment (Reportable Conduct) Act 2022 (WA) (Act). The Scheme is similar to other reportable conduct schemes operating in Victoria and New South Wales, and arises out of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Obligations on the Head of Organisations covered by the Scheme

The Scheme is administered by the Ombudsman Western Australia, and requires the head of an organisation that is covered by the Scheme, to notify the Ombudsman within seven (7) working days of ‘reportable allegations’ and ‘reportable convictions’ against an employee as defined by the Act. An employee has a broad definition under the Act and includes paid employees, volunteers, contractors, ministers of religion, certain types of carers and family day care educators and assistants.

Following notification to the Ombudsman, the organisation must ensure that the allegation is properly investigation, and the organisation must provide an investigation report to the Ombudsman and provide details of the investigation outcome and any action taken by the organisation.

The Scheme is currently operational and will be phased in over the next two years to cover different types of organisations.

Types of Reportable Conduct

The Scheme currently covers three types of reportable conduct:

  • Sexual offences against, with or in the presence of a child
  • Sexual misconduct against, with or in the presence of a child
  • Physical assault against, with or in the presence of a child

From 1 January 2024, the following types of reportable conduct will also be covered by the scheme:

  • Significant neglect of a child
  • Any behaviour which causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child

What is a Reportable Allegation?

A Reportable Allegation is any information that leads a person to form a belief on reasonable grounds that an employee, as defined by the Act to include paid employees, volunteers, contractors, ministers of religion, certain types of carers and family day care educators and assistants, has engaged in reportable conduct, whether or not the conduct is alleged to have occurred in the course of the person’s employment or their engagement with the organisation.

What is a Reportable Conviction?

A Reportable Conviction is an offence of a sexual nature committed against, with or in the presence of a child and includes:

  • A court making a finding of guilt in relation to the offence
  • If there has been no formal finding of guilt before conviction, a court convicting the person of the offence
  • A court accepting a plea of guilty from the person in relation to the offence
  • A court acquitting the person following a finding under the Criminal Code section 27 that the person is not guilty as a result of unsoundness of mind
  • A conviction that is a spent conviction (but does not include a conviction that is subsequently quashed or set aside by a court)


The Scheme requires the head of the organisation to ensure that the allegations are properly investigated and the outcome be reported back to the Ombudsman. The normal concepts of procedural fairness and affording the respondent natural justice are required. It is also integral that organisations ensure that the person investigating the allegations has the requisite skills and does so in a trauma informed and child focused way, whilst ensuring the voice of the child is heard.

How can we help?

Safe Space Legal has extensive experience undertaking safeguarding investigations, including under the Victorian and NSW reportable conduct schemes. We offer holistic safeguarding services to organisations across Australia, including:

  • Child safety and safeguarding investigations which are compliant with the Scheme.
  • Ensuring that complaints and reporting processes are compliant with legal obligations and relevant reportable conduct schemes
  • Drafting of child safety policies, procedures and codes of conduct
  • Child safety training
  • Assistance and support to respond to allegations of child abuse including notifications under reportable conduct schemes;
  • Employment law advice on disciplinary outcomes and actions; and
  • Root cause analyses after critical incidents

Contact [email protected] or call 03 9124 7321 to make a complementary consultation to discuss your child safety and safeguarding needs.

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