Why Do You Have To Ask Me If I Will Be Working With Children Or Vulnerable People?

Why Do You Have To Ask Me If I Will Be Working With Children Or Vulnerable People?

When you apply for a National Police Check (NPC) in Australia, the rules and requirements of the application remain the same no matter which NPC provider you use. Most people need a police check for reasons of employment, as many occupations require screening before a potential employee begins work. This is for the safety of both the applicant and any people involved with the role.

As part of the process when you apply for a police check online, you will be asked whether you will be working with children or vulnerable people. You must respond to this question accurately, as it is important that the relevant authorities have the right information to progress with your application.

Why Do You Have To Ask Me If I Will Be Working With Children or Vulnerable People?

The police agencies involved with your National Police Check application need to know this information to ensure the correct procedure for spent convictions is applied. If a criminal background check finds that you have any convictions or pending charges, whether or not you will be working with children or vulnerable people will have an impact on what is released on your National Police Certificate.

Certain information is relevant in determining which information is disclosed, as working with children, the eldery or people living with disability poses a greater risk and requires a more thorough risk assessment.

What Are Spent Convictions?

Spent convictions are convictions which no longer need to be disclosed by an individual due to time limits and the seriousness of a crime.

Spent convictions legislation limits the disclosure of past convictions which are older and of a less serious nature. The legislation aims to reduce discrimination against individual’s with certain convictions within their police history. The scheme exists in all Australian states and territories.

While certain past convictions may not be released on your National Police Certificate, there are some specific offences which will be disclosed no matter how dated they are. Whether or not the spent convictions are disclosed depends on its relevance and the purpose behind the police check.

The correct spent convictions regimes will be applied by the individual police agencies prior to disclosing the information.

Typically for employment with children, there will not be any information excluded from your police check for reasons of safety.

What Information Does a Police Check Certificate Contain?

A National Police Certificate contains the information obtained from police databases across all states and territories in Australia, regarding the police history of an individual. A criminal record check will determine your suitability for certain roles of employment, citizenship or licensing and registry purposes.

Following police clearance, the results of your police check will be disclosed in the form of a document i.e. the certificate. There are two possible outcomes of the check:

  • No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO)
  • Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO)

No Disclosable Court Outcomes

A No Disclosable Court Outcomes result means that there is either no information on the individual in police records as they have no convictions, or any information found does not need to be released.

Disclosable Court Outcomes

A Disclosable Court Outcomes result means that there is information regarding the individual held on police databases which can be released. This information is known as Police History Information (PHI).

What Does the Police History Information Contain?

Police History Information or PHI can include anything from traffic offences to court appearances. It may also include the following:

  • Charges
  • Pending circumstances awaiting court hearing
  • Court convictions (including penalties and sentences)
  • Good behaviour bonds
  • Any court orders
  • Findings of guilt with no conviction

Is There Any Information Which Will Not Be Disclosed?

Sometimes, certain previous convictions will not be included in the results of your police check. This could be due to spent convictions legislation or juvenile offences. However, there are some convictions which will never be classified as spent.

The spent convictions legislation sets limits on the disclosure of past convictions following a time frame in which the individual has no repeat offences during the time period. This is known as the waiting period. The waiting period is generally 10 years for an offence committed as an adult, and 5 years for an offence committed as a child.

Some exclusions apply. Certain past convictions, regardless of how much time has passed, may still be disclosed on a police check. Sex offences or violent crimes will never be spent, and generally the legislation allows all offences by an individual to be disclosed in a National Police Check when the applicant is going to be working with children.

How Is The Information Found?

The information contained on an NPC certificate is gathered from a screening of police databases in all Australian states and territories.

Crime Check Australia will first evaluate the information you submit on your application to ensure it is accurate and consistent. With your consent, Crime Check Australia will then share your information with the National Police Checking Service for further checks to verify and confirm your identity. Your information will be matched against Persons of Interest which exist in police history records. Any criminal history you have will be found here, as well as any pending charges.

A review of the Police History Information records will be carried out, determining which information will be disclosed as part of your police check.

Who Determines If The Information Is Disclosed?

The disclosure of any information regarding your criminal history check will be determined by each police agency across all states and territories in Australia. The decision will be made following a full review, spent convictions legislation and the information release policies of different states and territories.

The reason behind your application for the NPC will also have an impact on which information is released. For example, a traffic offence may not be classed as relevant for a writing job, but it would be relevant for a job involving driving. The occupation is an important factor in determining which information will be disclosed.

Will Interstate Convictions Appear On My Police Check?

Interstate convictions will appear on your police check at the discretion of the police agencies in different states and territories,  and will depend upon the legislation in place.

What Is An NDIS Worker Screening Check?

An NDIS Worker Screening Check is an assessment of an individual who works or plans to work with people who are living with a disability. It determines whether the individual is suitable to work with those with a disability, and if they pose a risk.

The NDIS Check is a national screening system operating in all states and territories of Australia. It is a system which enables the safety of vulnerable people and the safety of those working with them.

Do I Need a National Police Check or An NDIS Worker Screening Check?

The National Police Check and the NDIS Worker Screening Check are two different types of check. You may require an NDIS Worker Screening Check if you are going to work within a risk assessed role.

A National Police Check (NPC) also known as a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC) is a check containing information of an individual’s police history. This includes disclosable court outcomes and any pending charges.

The NDIS Worker Screening Check is an assessment of an individual who works with, or plans to work with people with disability. The assessment determines whether the individual poses a risk. There are more risk factors taken into account for this particular check, as more safety measures are in place to protect those who are vulnerable.

If you work with, or seek to work with children, you will typically need a National Police Check, rather than an NDIS Check. But any person working with the more vulnerable and those living with a disability will require the NDIS Worker Screening Check before beginning employment.

Do You Provide NDIS Worker Screening Checks?

Crime Check Australia does not provide NDIS Worker Screening Checks. Visit the NDIS Commission website to find authorised providers and to find out more about this type of check.

What Is a Risk Assessed Role?

A risk assessed role is a role which involves working with people who have a disability. The NDIS Commision classes the following as risk assessed roles:

  • A key personnel role of a person or entity defined in s 11A of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013
  • A role which requires direct delivery of support or services to a person living with a disability
  • A role which will likely require ‘more than incidental contact’ with a person living with a disability. This includes physical contact, digital contact or contact with multiple people with a disability in specialist accommodation, or as part of a support system or service

What Is ‘More Than Incidental Contact’?

More than incidental contact refers to work duties which require direct contact with a vulnerable person. This includes the following:

  • Physical contact
  • Building a relationship with a person living with a disability as part of your daily work duties
  • Direct contact with multiple people living with disability as part of specialist support or services, or in a specialist environment which accommodates people with a disability

The level of contact with vulnerable people involved as part of your job will play a part in determining the relevance of the information on your National Police Certificate, and whether or not previous convictions will be disclosed.

What Is a Working With Children Check?

The Working With Children Check is another form of screening service in Australia, which directly assesses people who work with, or seek to work with children. Like the National Police Check, this involves a background check to ensure the safety and protection of children.

The Working With Children Check is an ongoing assessment of an individual’s eligibility, whereas a Police Check is classified as a ‘point in time’ check which is only valid at the time of issue.

Depending on your employer or the organisation you are working or volunteering for, you may be required to have a Working With Children Check. In some cases, you may need both.

If you are unsure which type of check you require for working with children or vulnerable people, contact us by completing the online form, sending an email, or calling the customer service team.