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The details of your employer or a prospective employer need to be provided when applying for screening by the DCSI Screening Unit. This is because screening is an employer-driven process, related to the duty of care organisations have to provide safe environments for vulnerable people, such as children and people with disability.
Screening is a risk assessment conducted on behalf of the employer or prospective employer for the purposes of determining your suitability for the job or volunteer role in which you are (or expect to be) working. The employer acts as the "requesting organisation", for the purposes of your application.
An exception is if you are a sole trader and have an ABN (Australian Business Number), in which case you act as both the applicant and requesting officer when submitting your screening application.
What if I don't yet have an employer? If you are applying for work, and therefore cannot yet provide the details of an employer in your application, you can in the following circumstances nominate a representative to act as your requesting organisation:
- If you are a university student: University students (with the agreement of the university concerned) may be able to nominate their university as the requesting organisation.
- Prospective employees or volunteers of the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD): For more information, please refer to DECD's website Apply for a Relevant History Screening page
- Recruitment agency staff: Applicants may request the permission of their recruitment agency to nominate the agency as the requesting organisation.
Unless the exceptions above apply to you, it is recommended that you wait to apply for your screening until required to do so by an employer or potential employer.
It is recommended that you keep your clearance letter in a safe place.
The DCSI Screening Unit does not issue replacements for lost, stolen or misplaced letters.
If you lose your clearance letter you may be required to lodge another screening application to obtain a new clearance.
Cleared applicants should check their letters as soon as possible when it is received in the mail, to ensure that their full name is correct and that it is spelt correctly, and that their date of birth is correct.
If any of these details provided on the clearance letter are incorrect, the applicant should contact the Screening Unit as soon as possible by email addressed to: DCSIScreeningUnit@sa.gov.au.
Please request a corrected letter, and ensure you provide your screening reference number, correct names and date of birth in the email request.
The following organisations may have access to your relevant criminal history check result obtained by the DCSI Screening Unit:
- authorised staff of the DCSI Screening Unit who assess the screening application;
- the Authorised Officer within the requesting organisation (your employer/volunteer organisation);
- a third party organisation (only with the applicant's explicit consent or as required by relevant legislation).
All criminal history information provided to the Screening Unit by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is destroyed within three (3) months following the completion of the assessment.
All information provided in your application, and any further information received by the Screening Unit, will be treated confidentially and with the utmost regard to individual privacy.
The information will not be used without your prior consent for any purpose other than as set out in the Informed Consent section of the application form, or unless required by law. All information received as a part of the assessment process is stored securely in the Screening Unit.
The DCSI Screening Unit obtains information about the relevant criminal history of screening applicants through the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). The Unit receives this information in the form of electronic relevant criminal history reports. The information obtained is considered during the screening process to assess the applicant's suitability for employment or appointment to positions of trust.
What is the ACIC's role in the screening process?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) provides a National Police Checking Service, through which police services and accredited organisations, such as the DCSI Screening Unit, can obtain relevant criminal history information. This service was previously provided by the CrimTrac Agency.
Names search: The screening applicant's details are submitted electronically to the ACIC, for checking against a central database of names (by name, date of birth and gender) to find potential matches with people with relevant criminal records. Then:
- If the applicant has no relevant criminal history information, or none that can be released to the DCSI Screening Unit, the applicant's result will show 'No Disclosable Court Outcomes'.
- A potential match may be found if the applicant or someone with similar details to theirs is on the database. The relevant police agency will then manually process the check to determine if the applicant's details are a match or not. If not, the result will come back as 'No Disclosable Court Outcomes'.
- If there is a match of the applicant's name against the National Names Index, the ACIC forwards the applicant's details to the relevant police jurisdiction for further checking. If criminal history results are located for the applicant, the relevant police jurisdictions will identify and release criminal history information (subject to relevant spent conviction legislation, non-disclosure and/or information release policies, which vary from state to state). The ACIC receives the results and forwards this information onto the Screening Unit for assessment.
If the applicant does have police history information that can be released to the Screening Unit, their result will be shown as 'Disclosable Court Outcome/s'. The applicant's disclosable police history information will be listed on the result and may include:
- court convictions, including penalties and sentences
- findings of guilt with no conviction
- court appearances
- good behaviour bonds or other court orders
- matters awaiting court hearing
- traffic offences.
The type of police history information that is released depends on the purpose/type of check being conducted, and any relevant spent convictions legislation and information release policies.
The time taken for the ACIC to provide these results to the DCSI Screening Unit can vary. Around 30% of police checks are referred to one or more police agencies. Sometimes this process takes longer than 10 business days. This can in turn impact on the time taken by the DCSI Screening to complete the screening process.
For more information about the ACIC and the services it provides, go to: www.acic.gov.au.
A 'name match' may occur in the initial stages of a screening assessment, when the applicant's name and other details are checked against a national database by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to determine whether the applicant has a relevant criminal history.
Names searched: A search is conducted against the database using the applicant's given names, middle name/s and any previous names and aliases.
Other databases searched: Searches are also conducted against one or more other databases accessed by the Screening Unit such as South Australian Government databases, during some types of screening (e.g. child-related employment screening).
Apparent name matches: Where the applicant's name appears to match the names in one or more of the searched databases to find any relevant records, this is referred to as a 'name match'.
Ruling in or out a name match: As there may be more than one person with the same, or similar, names, any name matches at this stage need further checking. This is done using any additional details that are available which relate to the applicant, such as their current or previous addresses or date of birth, to confirm or rule out the apparent match. In the vast majority of cases name matches are ruled out based on this additional information. More information
Screening turnaround times and name matches: Where there is a relevant criminal history for the applicant, or there is a name match against other databases accessed by the Screening Unit, the screening assessment process will typically take longer than if this does not occur. What is the turnaround time for screening applications?
Will an offence be taken into account during screening, even if it occurred more than 10 years ago?
If the offence occurred a long time ago (e.g. more than 10 years ago) there is a possibility it is now considered to be 'spent', due to the passage of time. Convictions that are considered "spent" will not be included in a criminal history report that is considered during screening by the DCSI Screening Unit (unless the category of employment, or purpose of the screening application is considered exempt from the workings of any applicable Spent Convictions scheme).
Spent convictions schemes have been introduced to provide some protection for persons from unreasonable discrimination based on minor or old convictions, after a period free of re-offending. The information that can be released by police agencies about a person's criminal history may vary between the various Australian States and Territories, and will depend on any Spent Convictions laws or policies in each case that apply. For more information about Spent Convictions Schemes in Australia refer to our Spent Convictions Schemes Fact Sheet (DOC 102.0 KB).
Exemption based on type of screening
Child-related employment screening and spent convictions: The DCSI Screening Unit can access and take into account spent convictions information from sources Australia-wide, specifically for child-related employment screening only.
This capability is provided through an intergovernmental agreement for the National Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children (ECHIPWC).
In 2013, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a permanent inter-jurisdictional exchange of criminal history information for screening people working with children (‘the Exchange’). The Exchange increases the range of criminal history information shared between jurisdictions and is an important measure in protecting children from harm.
If you, as the applicant, dispute the accuracy of information obtained by the Screening Unit from police records or deny that the information relates to you, you should let the Screening Unit know so that we can help you take steps to have this corrected.
The Screening Unit may require further information from you about your previous addresses and for you to provide additional documentation providing proof of identity. It may also be necessary for you to contact the relevant police service to ensure that your personal information is amended so that it is recorded correctly.
Where there is a dispute over your identity or criminal history, no assessment will be completed until the dispute has been resolved.
Where there are is any releasable relevant criminal history identified for a screening applicant, this information is provided by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to the Screening Unit electronically for screening purposes. Any records containing the criminal history information provided are subject to strict confidentiality and destruction requirements.
All matters are assessed in accordance with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness. This means that, where the information obtained suggests that there are matters revealed that could impact on the screening outcome, applicants will be provided with an opportunity to provide further information regarding the nature and circumstances in which any relevant offending or matter of concern occurred.
Applicants will have the opportunity to provide additional documentation, such as referee or medical reports in support of their application.
In addition, where permissible, and with the applicant's consent, additional information regarding specific criminal offences may also be sought by the Screening Unit from police, prosecuting authorities or courts, to ensure an objective and informed assessment can be made.
All information obtained about an applicant is assessed on a case by case basis in accordance with relevant legislation.
Importantly, details about an applicant's criminal history or relevant information from other sources is assessed against the inherent requirements of the job role or volunteer position. The information considered will vary depending on the type of screening being undertaken. Where appropriate, the Screening Unit will consult with the Authorised Officer of the requesting organisation before any final recommendation is made.
All information provided by the applicant, and any further information received by the Screening Unit during the screening process, will be treated confidentially and with the utmost regard to personal privacy.
The information obtained during screening will not be used without the applicant's prior consent for any purpose other than as set out in the consent clauses on the screening application form, unless required by law.
All information received as a part of the assessment process is stored securely within the Screening Unit.
Relevant criminal history information provided to the Screening Unit by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is destroyed three (3) months following the completion of the assessment.
The DCSI Screening Unit will monitor new information from 1 July 2017 that may change the clearance status of individuals.
Monitoring of screening information has been introduced to help reduce the risk of harm to children and vulnerable people.
Under the former screening system, checks provided a three-year ‘snapshot’ of a person’s relevant history. The new system will monitor information to help better protect children and vulnerable people.
What type of new information will the Screening Unit receive?
The Screening Unit will receive new information on criminal charges and court outcomes from SA Police (SAPOL), child protection notifications from the Department for Child Protection (DCP) and information on care concerns and incidents from DCP and the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion.
All information that is monitored is relevant to the status of a screening clearance.
Whose information is monitored?
Only people who have a current, valid child-related, disability, aged or vulnerable persons clearance issued by the DCSI Screening Unit will have their clearance status monitored. Monitoring applies to all persons with these types of clearances, both employees and volunteers.
DCSI general probity clearances are not included in monitoring, as these clearances are role-specific, once-off and non-transferable between roles and organisations.
How does monitoring work?
SAPOL, DCP and DCSI will notify the Screening Unit of information that may be relevant to an individual’s clearance status on a regular basis. The Screening Unit will assess this information to determine if a change to a person’s clearance status is required.
If the information does not change the status of a screening clearance, then the Screening Unit will record the information and take no further action.
What happens if my clearance status changes?
If a reassessment changes your clearance status:
- you and your employer (that requested the screening) will be notified;
- you are required to notify the organisations that you work or volunteer with;
- you will be required to return your clearance letter to the DCSI Screening Unit;
- your screening clearance status will be updated in the DCSI online screening register.
Who does the Screening Unit notify if my clearance status changes?
The Screening Unit will send a notification to you, and to the organisation that requested your screening clearance. If a reassessment changes your clearance status the notice will be sent to the organisation’s Authorised Officer.
Will an organisation be notified if they did not request an employee’s clearance?
Only organisations that requested a screening clearance for that employee will be notified if that employee's clearance status changes.
If an organisation did not request a screening clearance for the employee, as that employee already held a current valid clearance, that organisation will not be notified.
What if I don’t agree with a reassessment?
If you so not agree with the result of a reassessment you may apply for an internal review of the decision.
When conducting an internal review, the Screening Unit will reassess the same information collected for your initial assessment - taking into account any new or additional information you provide. The Screening Unit accepts applications to review its decision when there is a substantive reason for doing so. More information about the review process.
To find out if your clearance is current, you can ask your employer (or the organisation that requested your screening clearance) to check for you.
Any organisation registered with the DCSI Screening Unit can go online and check the validity of a DCSI Screening Unit clearance letter (except General Employment Probity clearances) presented to them by an employee, potential employee, volunteer or student.
To check the clearance status, the employer logs into the DCSI screening online portal and conducts a search, by entering your name, date of birth, screening type, reference number and/or date the clearance was provided.
No. An application is actioned upon receipt by the Screening Unit and therefore cannot be cancelled for the purpose of obtaining a refund of the fee.
An application can be withdrawn, if required, by contacting the Screening Unit to request a withdrawal; however the fee cannot be refunded.