Screening and background checks

Watch this space for important messages from the Screening Unit.

New fees and charges

Fees for all DCSI Screening checks increased by 2.4% as of 1 July 2015.  For more information please read New Screening Fees and Charges.

New application forms dated 1 July 2015 are now available from Application Forms and Payment.

Clearance letters

The clearance letters sent from the DCSI Screening Unit are changing colour from blue to green. The change in colour may make the letters more visible and harder to misplace.

The clearance letters remain valid for three years from the date of issue and can be taken from organisation to organisation within that time. 

The Unit receives many requests for replacement letters each year. These letters should continue to be treated as an important document, like a birth certificate or passport, and kept in a safe place.

New DCSI online screening application process

Later this year, the application process for a screening clearance through the DCSI Screening Unit will move online.  This will enable applications for screening to be submitted using an online form.  For an overview about the Screening Unit's move to online screening applications, read the New Online Screening Application Process.

The first stage of this process is the registration of organisations, to set up their access to the online system.  

Organisations are now invited to register.  Instructions are provided in this document Registering your organisation for online screening.

What is Screening?

Screening is an assessment of information obtained about an individual to determine whether they may pose a risk to a particular group of people in a professional or volunteer environment.

The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit conducts five types of screening check. The type/s required depends on the work or volunteer role in each case.  The five types of screening conducted by the Unit are: 

  • Child-related employment screening
  • Disability services employment screening
  • Vulnerable person-related employment screening
  • Aged care sector employment screening, and
  • General employment probity screening 

For information about the different types of information assessed in each form of screening, please go to the Screening and Assessment Process.

The Screening Unit is authorised under the Children's Protection Regulations 2010 (PDF 68KB) to conduct child-related employment screening for people who work with children and young people.  

The Unit is also authorised under the DisabilityServices (Assessment of Relevant History Regulations 2014) to conduct disability services employment screening for people working or volunteering in a prescribed function under the DisabilityServices Act 1993.

The Unit also conducts vulnerable person-related employment screening, aged care sector employment screening and general employment probity screening to provide greater safety and certainty for vulnerable people in South Australia and their friends and families.

Applying for a screening check

Before you start…

To apply for a screening check, make sure that you have downloaded the most recent version of our application form.  The Screening Unit regularly updates our application forms, and it is important you use the correct version. Out-of-date forms may be returned to you. 

Screening application forms were last uploaded to this site on 1 July 2015.

Make sure you submit original versions of the form: the Screening Unit will not accept photocopied or scanned versions of forms. 

Please note:

  • If your organisation pre-populates a form and posts it on another site, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are using the most current version.
  • Where the employer is paying for the screening, the Requesting Officer is required to sign the front cover sheet. If this is not done the form will be returned, delaying the process. This is NOT required for applications lodged with Australia Post.

Read the How to Apply section of our website.  This section contains important instructions for filling out application forms.  If you make a mistake, your form may be returned and/or processing of your application may be delayed.  You may incur additional charges if a mistake requires the Screening Unit to obtain an additional National Criminal History Record Check.

If you have a query or a problem, read our Frequently Asked Questions.  The Screening Unit receives a high volume of calls and emails every day; reading our FAQs might help answer your question.

For your application to be processed, your identity must have been verified using a 100 point identity check and you must have provided your consent to screening by signing the application form. 

Over screening

Please note: The Screening Unit is returning applications from people who already have a relevant clearance with six or more months left to run.  New applications can be lodged when the applicant has six months or less left to go on their current clearance.

DCSI Screening checks last for three years and can be taken from job to job (General Employment Probity check excluded). Organisations should keep a copy of the current screening clearance letter or email, sign and date the copy and keep it on file.

Fees (as of 1 July 2015)

As of 1 July 2015, the fees below apply to screening services by the Screening Unit:

Paid employees:

Child-related and Disability Services employment screening

  • $92.50 (GST exclusive)
  • $101.75 (GST inclusive

     All other types of screening for paid employees:

  • $77.00 (GST exclusive) 
  • $84.70 (GST inclusive)

Volunteers and Students on placement (for all types of screening)

  • $51.00 (GST exclusive)
  • $56.10 (GST inclusive)

The fees for all DCSI Screening checks increased by 2.4% on 1 July 2015.   For more information, please read New Screening Fees and Charges (PDF 160.3 KB) .

If more than one type of screening is required

EMPLOYEES:  Where more than one type of screening is required, a charge applies for each separate screening type.  An exception applies to employees working in the disability services sector who have a current working with children screening clearance, who do not need to also obtain a disability services employment screening clearance.

VOLUNTEERS:  Where more than one type of screening is required, will only be charged one fee ($56.10 GST incl.) provided that the screening application forms are attached together and submitted at the same time.

How long does it take?

The Screening Unit receives a large volume of applications per week and processes them in order of receipt.  Requests to fast track or escalate a screening application will not be accepted.

A number of factors may impact upon the time taken to process your application. 

Child-related employment and disability services employment screening takes into account a much wider array of information and may take longer than other types of screening.

If an applicant has no criminal history and no matches against any databases, the anticipated turnaround time for an application is approximately 30 business days.

If information is obtained that requires further assessment, for example, if there is a name match against one of the databases accessed by the Screening Unit, additional time may be required.  In some cases it may take more than 8 weeks to finalise, depending on the relevance, complexity, and amount of information which requires assessment.

 Various other factors may impact upon the time taken to process your application, including:

  • the time of year (January-April is traditionally the busiest time of year);
  • the need to obtain information from other agencies across Australia; and
  • the process of police agencies distinguishing simple name matches from similarly-named individuals with relevant information.

The following common mistakes frequently result in forms being returned to the applicant for resubmission:

  • illegible handwriting;
  • not including your FULL name and/or FULL previous names;
  • insufficient current address detail;
  • insufficient information describing your role;
  • failure to complete satisfactorily the 100 point identification check; and
  • missing signatures: the form should be signed by the applicant, verifying officer and, (if not paying through Australia Post), the requesting officer.