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  • Are police checks free for volunteers?

    Volunteers who come to Australia to take up a role or other volunteering-based tasks wonder if they have to pay for their Police Check. Of course, there are many unverified accounts of the government "sponsoring" Police checks for volunteers. This is false.

    The Police Check is a paid background check that the Australian Police Agencies issue as part of their statutory functions. Every applicant must pay for their Police Check during the application.

    Every applicant that applies for a police check (including volunteers) must pay for the check. Eligible volunteers may be eligible for a discounted check.

    Applicants who wish to obtain a volunteer check should approach the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) website to find organisations that are accredited to provide the volunteer check type.

    What options do Volunteers have in applying for a Police Check?

    There are some standard routes to apply for the Police Check;

    Apply through Australian Police Agencies

    An intending volunteer will have to visit the local Police Office or police force website to complete their Police Check application and receive their certificate.

    Online processes tend to be seamless and suitable for persons with rigid schedules.

    Apply through the Local Post office

    The Local Post office will direct all Police Check applications to the required location (National Police Checking Service).

    The payment option for this is almost immediately (together with the submission of the Police Check application form).

    Who pays for the Police Check for a Volunteer?

    Police Checks are personal documents or records of a person. It is standard practice for the person themselves to fund the base fee of their Police Check.

    Any law or pact does not bind the organisation requesting a Police Check (unless pre-signed) about covering the costs of a Police Check.

    Can an Employer cover the cost of the Police Check?

    An employer/organisation can streamline the process of a Police Check for their candidates. The Employer must obtain the candidate's permission and even retain the consent all through the checking process.

    When employers streamline a Police Check, it is easier for all parties to complete the assessment stages. The organisation can easily access the results by using their streamlined account to cover the costs and access the candidate's results.

    However, there is no compulsion on organisations or Employers to cover the cost of the Police Check.

    Is there any form of Free background checks in Australia?

    All legitimate background checks in Australia have a form of a base fee or another. Payment for a background check is not necessary for profit but for covering the costs of human and technical power expended on the check.

    If you are applying through accredited agencies, there are helpful payment options a volunteer could consider. Also, you can reach out to your volunteer organisation about the possibility of them funding your Police Check application.

    However, an employer may carry out a "general check" on the potential volunteer in the absence of any of these. This includes searching through;

    • References from the previous employer
    • The candidate's past employer should also offer insightful remarks about them. Infer the applicant's person/character from these references, and you may do this privately through correspondence.

    • The web/internet search
    • There is a lot of information on the internet, including the physical presence of such a person. You can also access the candidate's past life and events through their Social media accounts and other registered platforms.

    • Browsing through Documents of other Australian agencies
    • The archives of most Australian agencies contain great information about persons in the country.

    Do Police Check for volunteers expire?

    Police Checks are point-in-time checks, and they remain valid until the candidate requests an updated background check. The industry has tacitly adopted a standard of 3 months for any current Police Check; else, the applicant (volunteer) must apply for an updated Check.

    Police Check contains the applicant's conviction history up until the Police Check document is issued. The organisation will not see any recent conviction history on the Police Check until the applicant updates the check.

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