Criminal history checks
All types of screening by the DCSI Screening Unit involve obtaining a National Criminal History Check, which is a summary of the applicant's relevant criminal history. This is obtained from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).
About ACIC: The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission partners with police agencies in Australia to provide the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). This service (which was previously within the CrimTrac Agency) enables controlled access to disclosable police history information from all Australian police agencies, including the Australian Federal Police and the South Australia Police agency (SAPOL).
A National Police History Check, commonly referred to as a police check, is the process of running a person's details through a central database of names to match people who have police history information. The police then determine what information can be released, subject to spent conviction legislation and/or information release policies.
The NPCS provides accredited organisations with relevant police history information. As an ACIC-accredited organisation, the DCSI Screening Unit submits screening applicants' details electronically to the ACIC for checking against the central database. If there is no match of the applicant's name against the database, the ACIC advises the Screening Unit of a nil outcome.
If there is a match of the applicant's name against the central database, 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 DCSI Screening Unit for assessment.
Spent Convictions Schemes
A 'spent' conviction is a one that can't be disclosed and will not show on a police record check.
Spent convictions legislation limits the use and disclosure of older, less serious convictions and findings of guilt and provide protection for persons from unreasonable discrimination based on minor or old convictions after a period free of re-offending. Spent convictions schemes aim to rehabilitate offenders by not making their past mistakes affect the rest of their lives if they have been on the right side of the law for some time.
The information that can be made available about a person's criminal history can vary between Australian jurisdictions and will depend on any laws or policies relating to spent convictions in each State or Territory.
In South Australia, the Spent Convictions Act 2009 sets out the law on when a conviction is not disclosed on a person's criminal record.
The DCSI Screening Unit is a participating screening unit in the Council of Australian Governments' National Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children. This allows the Unit to access certain inter-jurisdictional spent convictions information, ONLY for the purposes of child-related employment screening.
More information about Spent Convictions
For more information on the Spent Convictions Schemes of South Australia and other jurisdictions, refer to:
- our Spent Convictions Information sheet, or
- go to the ACIC's website: National Police Checking Service