About Us

The DCSI Screening Unit provides background screening services to a variety of organisations:  large and small, government and non-government, employers and volunteer coordinators.

The DCSI Screening Unit provides a risk assessment that can assist organisations to make informed decisions about their workforce and volunteers, contributing towards their responsibilities to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm.  

This is an employer-driven process.  The Screening Unit does not make the final determination as to whether or not a person is suitable for employment or volunteer work. This decision is made by the organisation engaging the applicant.

Screening is about providing safe environments for children and other vulnerable people.

Screening is an important component of creating and maintaining child-safe organisations and safe environments for other vulnerable people.  A suite of Commonwealth and South Australian policy and legislation makes it mandatory for employers in relevant fields to carry out background checks on prospective employees or volunteers.  

A national framework for screening

There is no single national framework setting out requirements for 'working with children' checks or Police Checks.

There are important differences across jurisdictions regarding the type of screening programs that are in place, what records are checked, and who is required to undergo screening.  Each state and territory in Australia has its own procedures and it is necessary to fulfil the requirements in the jurisdiction(s) in which the individual is working or acting in a volunteer capacity for an organisation.  The legislation in each case identifies broad categories of child-related work where employers, employees and volunteers must fulfil screening requirements.

For information in relation to interstate screening processes, please refer to following links:

For more information about screening, you may wish to refer to a document produced by the Australian Government's Institute for Family Studies:  Pre-employment screening: Working With Children Checks and Police Checks.

Police Checks: In addition to the screening services available from a variety of sources (including the DCSI Screening Unit), state and territory police provide criminal history checks to individuals and organisations wishing to obtain Police Checks for employment, voluntary work and occupation-related licensing or registration purposes.  Contact SA Police.

National Criminal History Checks

All types of screening by the DCSI Screening Unit involve obtaining a National Criminal History Report, which provides a summary of the criminal history (if any) for the applicant. 

Spent Convictions Schemes

Convictions which are considered "spent" are not included in a criminal history report unless the category of employment or purpose of the application is considered exempt from the workings of the scheme.  More information.


Child-related employment screening by the DCSI Screening Unit is conducted in accordance with certain obligations under the Council of Australian GovernmentsIntergovernmental Agreement for the Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children (ECHIPWC).

The exchange increases the range of criminal history information shared between jurisdictions and is an important measure in protecting children from harm.

Under the Agreement, there are strict conditions on the receipt, use, storage and destruction of the expanded criminal history information. 

The receipt or disclosure of expanded criminal history information by or to any other person, even if it is for the purpose of screening people who may be working with children, is not authorised. 

More information about screening

For information about new developments and future directions in relation to screening in South Australia, please refer to our 'News' and  'Performance'  pages.