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Screening Unit
Screening Unit

Check process

Most check applications can be started by a person or by an organisation on behalf of their employee or volunteer. Sole-traders, contractors and self-employed people are considered organisations, too.

NDIS worker checks must be started by an applicant (rather than an organisation).

When the check is submitted, it is verified by the NDIS employer (that is, an NDIS provider or self-managed participant) through the NDIS Commission employers portal.

Organisations can't start a NDIS worker check. Sole traders, contractors and self-employed people can start their own application and verify it through their NDIS portal.

Organisations must register with the Screening Unit before they can do any applications.

After an organisation starts an application, we will email the person who needs the check. We will ask them to:

  • log in to the system
  • confirm their identity
  • finish the application
  • submit the application.

How the process works

How the process works

We get a national criminal history record from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and check the South Australian Child Protection database, using:

  • the person's name
  • previous names
  • date of birth
  • residential information.

If there is no name match in the ACIC database, it suggests the person has no relevant criminal history. ACIC responds to the Screening Unit with a ‘no disclosable court outcomes’ result.

If there are multiple name matches in the ACIC database, they will use extra information, such a previous addresses or legal names, to confirm or rule out potential matches.

Once ACIC confirms a name match, they forward the application to the relevant police jurisdiction to check, as legislation about the type of information that can be released varies between states. When ACIC gets the results back from the state police, they respond to the Screening Unit with any ‘disclosable court outcome(s)’.

Depending on the type of check being done, information in a disclosable court outcome may include:

  • charges
  • court convictions, including penalties and sentences
  • findings of guilt with no conviction
  • court appearances
  • good behaviour bonds or other court orders
  • matters awaiting court hearing.

Information the Screening Unit uses for different types of check

Type of check Working with Children NDIS workers Aged care sector Vulnerable person-related General employment probity Police check (provided by SA Police, not the Screening Unit)
Required by law? Yes Yes (Commonwealth) Yes (Commonwealth) No No No
Sources of information
  • Expanded National criminal history record check
  • South Australian government agencies related to care concerns and investigations
  • Applicant declarations
  • Expanded National criminal history record check
  • South Australian government agencies related to care concerns and investigations
  • Applicant declarations
  • National criminal history record check
  • Applicant declarations
  • National criminal history record check
  • Applicant declarations
  • National criminal history record check
  • Applicant declarations
  • National criminal history record check
Child protection information included? Yes Yes No No No No
Information assessed
  • National police apprehension reports
  • Court sentencing remarks
  • National convictions – withdrawn, spent, non-convictions
  • National charges – pending, withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted
  • Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information
  • National police apprehension reports
  • Court sentencing remarks
  • National convictions – withdrawn, spent, non-convictions
  • National charges – pending, withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted
  • Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information
  • National convictions – including South Australian spent convictions
  • Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information
  • National convictions – including South Australian spent convictions
  • Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information
  • National convictions – including certain types of spent convictions
  • Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information
  • National convictions – including certain types of spent convictions
Convictions likely to result in unsuccessful application
  • Murder
  • Sexual assault
  • Violence relating to a child
  • Child pornography
  • Child prostitution
  • Child neglect
  • Murder
  • Sexual assault
  • Serious violent offences
  • Child pornography
  • Neglect of a child or vulnerable person
  • Abduction or kidnapping offences
  • Bestiality and serious animal cruelty
  • Theft or fraud-related offences against a chlid or vulnerable person
  • Commercial drug supply offences
  • National security offences
  • Murder
  • Sexual assault
  • Assault resulting in a prison sentence
  • Murder
  • Sexual assault
  • Serious violent offences
  • Offences against a vulnerable person
Depends on the role Defined by the organisation

Information assessed

Information assessed

This table outlines what information the Screening Unit uses for different types of check.

Type of check

Working with children

Disability services

Aged care sector

Vulnerable person-related

General employment probity

Police check (provided by SA Police, not DHS Screening Unit)

Required by law?

Yes

Yes

Yes (Commonwealth)

No

No

No

Sources of information

National criminal history record check

South Australian government agencies related to care concerns and investigations

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

South Australian government agencies related to care concerns and investigations

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Child protection information included?

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Information assessed

National police apprehension reports

Court sentencing remarks

National convictions – withdrawn, spent, non-convictions.

National charges – pending, withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

SA Police apprehension reports

Court sentencing remarks

National convictions – withdrawn, spent, non-convictions.

National charges – pending, withdrawn, dismissed

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including SA spent convictions

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including SA spent convictions

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including certain types of spent convictions

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including certain types of spent convictions

Convictions likely to result in an unsuccessful application

Murder

Sexual assault

Violence relating to a child

Child pornography

Child prostitution

Child neglect

Murder

Sexual assault

Serious violent offences

Aggravated assault

Any offence committed against children or an individual with disability

Theft or fraud related offences against an individual with disability or older person

Drug supply offences relating to a child, older person, individual with disability

Murder

Sexual assault

Assault resulting in prison sentence

Dependant on role

Dependant on role

Defined by the organisation

Spent convictions

Spent convictions

There are laws for when an individual’s older, less serious convictions (or findings of guilt) are no longer shown on their criminal record. The South Australian law for these ‘spent convictions’ is the Spent Convictions Act 2009.

Spent convictions protect people from unreasonable discrimination based on minor or old convictions, provided they haven’t re-offended. Making sure an individual’s past mistakes don’t affect the rest of their lives is part of rehabilitating offenders.

Some convictions are never spent, such as sex offences and convictions with sentences of more than 12 months imprisonment for adults, or 24 months imprisonment for juveniles.

Spent convictions do not show on a national police check. However, the law says they can be included for checks of people working or volunteering with children, people with disability, vulnerable people, or in the aged care sector.

Timeframes

If a Court proves an offence or finds an offender guilty but decides not to record a conviction against them, it is a spent offence.

If an offence is quashed (set aside) by a Court, the individual is given a pardon, or the qualification period lapses, it becomes a spent offence.

Otherwise, for adults in South Australia, an eligible conviction becomes spent after 10 years have passed since a Court proved the offence or found the offender guilty, provided the individual has been offence-free in this time. For juveniles in South Australia, it becomes spent after five years offence-free.

Interstate offences

There are spent conviction laws covering federal and state-based offences in every state and territory, except Victoria. The Commonwealth Government also has overarching laws about how old conviction information is collected, used and shared.

Contact the police of the state or territory where you may have committed an offence to get more information about their information release policies and legislation.

Length of time to get a check

Length of time to get a check

We finish most check applications within three weeks. It can take longer than this if there is a lot of information to assess or it is complex.

Processing can take longer than three weeks if:

  • you have relevant criminal history
  • other agencies (like SA Police or other government departments) or individual applicants take a long time to provide information to us
  • a large number of applications are submitted at the same time (for example, January to April is usually a busy time of year)
  • For NDIS worker checks, your employer does not verify your application.

To avoid delays

  • Don’t leave your application until the last minute – you can apply up to six months before your current check expires (or three months for NDIS worker checks)
  • Make sure the information you give is accurate and complete (For example, all names and addresses)
  • Check your email regularly in case we contact you for more information
  • For NDIS worker checks, speak to your employer about verifying your application.

It is an offence to provide misleading information to the Screening Unit, so double-check all your information is correct.

You can check the status of your application at any time.

Once your application is processed, we will tell you the result (except for general employment probity check).

If an organisation started the application on your behalf, or you work in NDIS, the result will be emailed to your employer.


Related information

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Last updated:[02 Mar 2020 3:12pm]