Volunteer coordinators / managers

The DCSI Screening Unit conducts a range of screening services on behalf of volunteer organisations.

Choosing the right person for a volunteer role is vital.  Many volunteer organisations conduct screening and police checks as part of their recruitment processes.  Screening can also be a requirement under legislation for volunteers working with vulnerable groups, such as children, older people and people with a disability.


When is screening of volunteers required?

A screening assessment may be required before the volunteer is permitted to participate in particular activities. Depending on the role or roles they are performing, volunteers may be required to have either a police check or screening check.  Whether or not screening is required needs to be determined on a case by case basis. For some volunteer roles, more than one type of screening may be required, based on the nature of the volunteer activities and nature of the participant's contact with vulnerable groups of people.

Organisations have a responsibility to understand and meet screening requirements to help ensure all volunteers and community members can enjoy a safe environment.

Legislative requirements: The relevant staff in organisations engaging volunteers need to be aware of any legislative requirements under the Children's Protection Act 1993, Aged Care Act 1997 and/or Disability Services Act 1993.

Where there is no legislative requirement for volunteers to have a current screening clearance from the DCSI Screening Unit, the organisation can determine the level of screening, if any, that is required by volunteers.  Many organisations choose to conduct screening or obtain police checks of their volunteers as part of their risk management policy and recruitment processes.  Organisations may create specific policies requiring their volunteers to have a current screening clearance, or a specific screening requirement may be part of a contractual arrangement.

The Office of Volunteers website provides a flowchart which can help determine whether a volunteer must be screened by the DCSI Screening Unit or obtain a police check.

Not all volunteers have to undergo a police check or a screening  check.

Screening may be required if the role  involves:

  • supporting vulnerable members of the community, such as children, older people or people with a disability;
  • access to certain types of sensitive information;
  • volunteering with a government agency, or with a non-government organisation that receives government funding based a set of requirements, which may specify requirements for screening;
  • volunteering with an organisation that chooses to screen the criminal history of its volunteers as part of its risk management policy and recruitment processes.

Reduced screening fees

In recognition of the time and energy given by volunteers in contributing to the South Australian community, a reduced fee rate applies to the screening of volunteers, and where more than one type of screening is required, only one screening fee is charged.

Applications for screening are now submitted online. In exceptional circumstances only, hard copy application forms can be submitted. If using hard copy forms, please ensure that they are attached together and submitted to the DCSI Screening Unit at the same time, in order to be eligible for the 'one fee only' provision.

Police Checks

Organisations may choose to obtain a Police Certificate, which provides an Australia-wide summary of a person's criminal history, if this satisfactorily meets their screening requirements. Police checks can only be obtained with the informed consent of the individual concerned and may be obtained through a commercial service or from a police service such as the South Australia Police.

Further information/links

Office for Volunteers

Volunteers on Department of Education and Child Development (DECD) sites

  • Volunteers working on DECD sites or in DECD services are required to undergo screening.
  • The type of screening required depends on the volunteer's role in terms of interaction with children.
  • Go to the DECD website for more information about relevant criminal history screening and use the helpful screening tool to find out what kind of screening clearance is needed in your particular circumstances.

Volunteering Australia

Go to the website of Volunteering Australia (the national peak body for volunteering) for some useful information and resources about volunteering.  These include the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement.