The screening and assessment process
What is checked?
Although the information checked during screening by the DCSI Screening Unit differs depending on what type of screening the applicant has applied for, each type of screening involves obtaining a national criminal history record for the applicant, from CrimTrac (a Commonwealth agency).
Both vulnerable person screening and general employment probity screening take into account the applicant's criminal conviction history only.
Aged care sector screening involves a consideration of the applicant's national criminal history record to ascertain whether the applicant has ever been convicted of murder or sexual assault, or any other form of assault for which they have received a sentence of imprisonment (these are precluding offences). This type of screening is conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Aged Care Accountability Principles 2014 made under the Aged Care Act 1997.
Child-related employment screening takes into account the applicant's national criminal history record as well as a wider range of information. This includes:
- information from South Australian government databases such as child protection information;
- publicly available information sourced from professional registration bodies relating to persons disciplined or precluded from working with children or vulnerable people;
- information from South Australian police, courts, prosecuting authorities including information about charges for offences alleged to have been committed (regardless of the outcome of those charges); and
- expanded criminal history information obtained from other jurisdictions, including spent convictions, pending charges and non-conviction charges and, importantly, circumstances information around charges or convictions.
This information obtained during child-related employment screening is assessed in accordance with a set of standards (PDF 447KB). The 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.
Disability services sector employment screening involves a national criminal record history check and also includes the consideration of:
- criminal convictions information and charges, regardless of the outcome of those charges;
- convictions that would otherwise be considered 'spent';
- information from the Courts Administration Authority;
- workplace records that are relevant to working with people with disability, including professional misconduct and disciplinary action taken against, or attempted to be taken against an applicant; and allegations of abuse in disability employment .
This type of screening is required by some government agencies, all non-government disability service providers funded under the Disability Services Act (1993), and licensing authorities of supported residential facilities.
The DCSI Screening Unit is authorised under the Disability Services (Assessment of Relevant History Regulations 2014) to conduct disability services employment screening for people working or volunteering in a prescribed function under the Disability Services Act 1993.
How is screening conducted?
Assessments are conducted by trained and experienced staff in strict confidence and in accordance with legislative requirements and standards. Screening Unit staff deal directly with applicants and requesting organisations to clarify information when required.
The final decision as to whether or not an applicant is suitable to be engaged in paid or volunteer work rests with the employer or volunteer organisation, and not with the Screening Unit.
How long does it take?
A number of factors may impact upon the time taken to process a screening application.
If the Screening Unit does not identify any risk requiring assessment, the turnaround time to obtain a clearance should be approximately 30 business days.
If the applicant's name registers as a match in any of the databases assessed by the Screening Unit, additional time beyond the 30 business days may be required to process the application.
If the Screening Unit obtains information that requires further assessment, an application may take more than 8 weeks to process, depending on the relevance, complexity, and amount of information to be assessed.
Various other factors may impact upon the time taken to process an application, including:
- the time of year (January-April is traditionally the busiest time of year);
- the process of obtaining information from other agencies across Australia; and
- the process of police agencies distinguishing simple name matches from similarly-named individuals with relevant information.
To avoid delays
The following common mistakes frequently result in forms being returned to the applicant for resubmission:
- illegible handwriting;
- no or insufficient additional information provided as requested in Part B of the form;
- failure to complete satisfactorily the 100 point identification check;
- missing or photocopied signatures.
It is important that you complete each section of the screening application form and check it thoroughly before submitting it.