Why do we need to screen our volunteers or employees?
Organisations may be required by legislative, regulatory or contractual obligations to screen their employees and volunteers.
Employer obligations: It is important that organisations engaging employees and/or volunteers are aware of their legislative, regulatory or contractual obligations in relation to the screening.
Employers have a responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of the information they obtain in relation to screening. It is recommended that all authorised officers in requesting organisation read the Confidentiality Guidelines for Authorised Officers (PDF)
The employer is also responsible for seeking the person's consent to a criminal history check being conducted as part of screening.
How can the Screening Unit help?
The screening services provided by the DCSI Screening Unit involve the collection of relevant information about an applicant, including a national Criminal History Record Check, and turning this information into a useful measure of the level of risk posed by the applicant in their work or volunteer role.
Screening assists the employer to make informed decisions about the risk posed by people engaged by them in their workplaces, with the objective of preventing children and vulnerable adults from experiencing harm caused by those people.
It is an employer-driven process. The decision about whether to engage an applicant is made by the requesting organisation. The Screening Unit cannot and does not make the final determination as to whether or not a person is suitable for employment or volunteer work.
It should be noted that assessments are conducted at 'a point in time' based on information disclosed to the Screening Unit at that time. There is always a possibility that some pending charges or new events, including criminal incidents, may occur after screening has been conducted, which will not be taken into account.
Screening applications are now required to be submitted using an online form.
Organisation registration: Organisations must first register with the Screening Unit in order to be able to apply for screening online. This involves nominating officers to specific roles for the purposes of online screening. Once successfully registered, a nominated requesting officer able initiate an online application form.
The following roles within the customer organisation are important contact points for liaison with the DCSI Screening Unit in relation to screening applications:
- Requesting Officer - submits applications and received notifications of progress and clearances (via email);
- Verifying Officer - checks and confirms application identity (ID) and Informed Consent to the screening;
- Authorised Officer - usually executive level HR or similar, liaises with the Screening Unit in relation to complicated cases and 'Not Cleared' outcomes - after having personally signed a 'Deed of Confidentiality'.
All organisations (with the exception of sole traders) can register as many business units as required using the one Australian Business Number (ABN).
How will we be advised of the result?
Requesting organisations will be advised by email as soon as possible after an applicant receives a clearance outcome to their screening.
Email notification if a 'name match' is identified
Updates during the screening process: The Screening Unit will notify the organisation by email if it has identified a need for further assessment in a particular case, based on the information received during the initial stage of screening, so as to keep the Requesting Officer informed about the progress of an application.
An example is if a name match has occurred for the individual, when their name is checked against one or more databases and further assessment is needed to confirm or rule out the match. More information about name matches is available from Frequently Asked Questions.
What if risk is detected?
The organisation will be notified if the Screening Unit determines that a person poses an unacceptable level of risk and is therefore not provided with a clearance.
In the event that some (but not an unacceptable) level risk of harm to children or vulnerable people is detected, a manager or senior assessment officer from the Screening Unit may contact the Authorising Officer at the organisation to discuss and help finalise their determination.
Queries about an application in progress
The Screening Unit receives a large volume of applications each week, and processes them in order of receipt. Individual applications can not therefore normally be fast-tracked.
Email queries about the progress of an application should be directed to: DCSIScreeningUnit@sa.gov.au. Please:
- outline your enquiry
- the applicant's full name
- the applicant's date of birth
- the reference number from the acknowledgement email.
Please note that emails containing requests for updates should not contain more than one name per email for follow up. Bulk requests for updates (more than one name) will not be processed.
Note: Due to confidentiality requirements, the Screening Unit is unable to discuss specific details regarding the progress of an application with the requesting organisation.
Paying for an application/ Invoicing
Organisations which screen 100 or more applicants annually can apply to set up invoicing arrangements with the Screening Unit. Terms and conditions apply, eg payment is required within 30 days of the receipt of invoice.
To enquire about setting up invoicing arrangements, please email the Screening Unit at DCSI.ScreeningFinance@sa.gov.au.
Government agencies will be invoiced for screening (with the exception of business units that manage their own budgets, such as individual schools etc).
Non-government organisations (NGOs)
Non-government organisations (NGOs) may requiring screening services from the DCSI Screening Unit for their employees and volunteers in conducting their important work in contributing to the community.
The Screening Unit seeks to engage with NGO organisations through regular customer liaison activities, including site visits. It is also the intention of the DCSI Screening Unit to institute a cyclical audit schedule for all major customer agencies, particularly for larger NGOs. Regular customer agency compliance audits are aimed at verifying conformity and compliance of the NGO organisation with:
- the Australian Privacy Principles;
- requirements arising from the provisions of DCSI Screening Unit's contracts (such as its contract with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission regarding the provision of criminal history reports); and
- and other contractual obligations relevant to NGOs, such as screening data disposal protocols and limiting data access to personnel, which obligations are bound by a Deed of Confidentiality.
NGO customers are welcome to contact the DCSI Screening Unit at any time with any issues, questions or concerns by emailing DCSIScreeningPolicy@sa.gov.au or telephoning 1300 321 592.
Education Service Providers
For more information go to our education sector page.