Screening and background checks

Watch this space for important messages from the Screening Unit.

Over screening

The Screening Unit is returning applications from people who already have a relevant clearance with six or more months left to run.

DCSI Screening checks last for three years and can be taken from job to job (General 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.

New applications can be lodged when the applicant has six months left to go on their current clearance.

Screening application forms were last uploaded to this site on 3 February 2015.

Please note:

  • Forms are updated regularly on the website – please check you are submitting a current version.
  • Current versions of the forms must be used for all types of screening.  If you use an old version of the forms they may be returned to you unprocessed.
  • 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.

Fees (as of 1 July 2014)

Fees for the screening of paid employees and volunteers are now:

  • $90.50 ($99.55 GST incl.) for child-related and disability services employment screening for paid employees;
  • $75.00 ($82.50 GST incl.) for all other forms of screening for paid employees; and
  • $50.00 ($55.00 GST incl.) for all forms of screening conducted for volunteers and students on placement.

Where an employee requires more than one type of screening, they will be charged for each separate screening. Those who have a current working with children screening assessment will be exempt from the requirement to undergo a disability services screening assessment.

Volunteers requiring more than one type of screening will only be charged one fee ($55.00 GST incl.) provided that the screening application forms are attached together and submitted at the same time.

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 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 Screening Unit is also authorised under the DisabilityServices (Assessment of Relevant History Regulations 2014) to conduct Disability Services Employment Screening for peopleworking or volunteering in a prescribed function under the DisabilityServices Act 1993.

The Screening 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.

The Screening and Assessment Process outlines the different types of information that are assessed as part of each form of screening.

Applying for a screening check

Before you start…

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.

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

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. 

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.