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  • Can an employer do a police check?

    It is never easy for Employers or organisations during recruitments, from calling for applications to examining and assessing the candidates. And this is why some employers choose to outsource this process.

    When employers are recruiting for specific roles, they must assess the Candidate beyond their academic qualifications, abilities and certifications. Some positions require more than the surface "suitability" of the Candidate, and in some cases, even the Australian government and legislation agrees. In such cases, the Employer will likely include a police check as part of the requirement for the role.

    How can an Employer do a Police Check?

    Individuals

    If you are an individual, your employer can ask you to do a national police check online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application and informed consent form. The results are dispatched via email.

    Business Portal for Employers

    Business and Enterprise customers (employers) are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view criminal history check results on their business portal. Organisations will undergo a process of approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal.

    After an employer orders a check using the business portal, ANCC’s system sends an invite to the applicant to complete their criminal history check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.

    What is the Criminal History Check certificate?

    Almost all employers now request a Police Check certificate as part of the recruitment process in Australia. It never matters the role or the level; if you seek paid employment in Australia, you will have to present a Police Check certificate for evaluation.

    The Criminal History Check certificate contains the criminal history of the Candidate in the Australian Criminal records. The certificate results from the Checking by the NPCS compares the applicant's details with the information on the Australian Criminal Database.

    Who can apply for a Police Check in Australia?

    The Police Check has many useful purposes in Australia; any candidate can apply for it whether another party requests it.

    • ✔ Citizens and non-citizens over 18 can apply for a Police Check anytime they need it.
    • ✔ Minors or people under 18 years old can only apply for a Check if their parents or guardians provide the informed consent form in Australia.
    • ✔ All immigrants can apply for the Police Check in Australia, depending on the purpose.
    • ✔ Employers, businesses, and other enterprises can apply for the Police Check on behalf of their employees or applicants with their informed consent. There are many reasons and benefits for employers and big organisations to initiate the Police Check application for their candidates.

    How to obtain the Police Check in Australia

    The Australian government provides two main channels for any applicant or business to obtain a valid Police Check in Australia;

    • Accredited Service Providers (Australian National Character Check, Australia Post, Etc.),
    • A Local Police Force

    However, some organisations, for different reasons, may prefer one method over the other. While this does not diminish the legitimacy of the other Police Check results, the applicant must follow the instructions.

    Can an employer do a Police Check?

    Yes, an employer may initiate a Police Check process through a Business Portal (ANCC) to Start the Check application. However, the Employer cannot do/conduct the Police Check on behalf of the employee or Candidate.

    An employer can register on business portals like the one provided by Australian National Character Check to initiate a Police Check and streamline the process, but that is about it. The Employer cannot “force” the applicant or employee to follow through with the application.

    Does the Employer need the Candidate’s consent?

    The Australian legislation is stern about the use and disclosure of Candidate's records. Employers must be cautious and explore only legal means and aids when handling Candidate's personal information like the Police Check result in Australia.

    Employers who want to obtain a Criminal History Check on behalf of their employee or Candidate must obtain the consent from the Candidate. When applying for checks via the ANCC Business Portal, this is taken care of by Australian National Character Check. It may result in an offence if the Employer engages in methods or ways contrary to the Privacy Act and relevant acts of disclosure in Australia.

    Why should Employers do a Police Check on behalf of the Candidate?

    The Police Check is a document to assess the Candidate's suitability for the role they apply for. In ensuring safe practices, the Employer needs the Candidate to be free of indictable crimes (where the inherent requirements of the job mandates it), especially relating to certain offences.

    There are many reasons why the Employer should streamline the process of the Police Check in their organisation. Some of them are;


    • Safety and authenticity

    There is the risk of candidates being dubious or dishonest in the Police Check process. This includes forging a criminal history check certificate. The best precaution for employers is to preclude all these is to streamline the process through services like the Business Portal of ANCC.

    Using this means, employers can manage, choose and order the Police Check through a private, safe and secure account and ensure that the source of the background check is a legitimate source.


    • Reduces delay and waiting time

    In most cases, it takes less than 48 hours for the criminal record check certificate to be dispatched to the applicant unless the check is referred for manual processing. However, there is the possibility of a delay from the NPCS, candidates cannot access their Police Check certificate for that period.

    However, ANCC provides a "Track a Check" option that allows the candidate/enterprise to monitor the progress of an ongoing check.


    • Get the Police Check result faster and easier.

    Leaving the application to the Candidate may slow down the process, as applicants may use different means. It means some applicants' results will return faster than others, slowing down the entire assessment process.

    With the Business Portal, the Employer can supervise and receive the Check. They can contact the applicant if there is any noticeable delay from the applicant’s end.


    • Easy access to a candidate’s records

    Approved organisations can access their online account at any time and from any location in the world. Big organisations do not need to conduct a different Police Check for their various branches; they have to input the Candidate's current data.

    It also makes updating the Candidate's records easier.


    • Customer Support

    The criminal record check process can be challenging for some applicants, and that is why the government has approved service providers like ANCC to provide innovative methods of customer support. The customer support keeps constant communication between the service provider and applicant throughout the entire process.

    Obtaining the Police Check for a candidate as an Employer

    ANCC provides a solution for Police Check ordering, tracking and evaluation through the Business Portal. It is a service that allows the business an easy and secure method of assessing the Police Check result of multiple candidates.

    Any business can use this service by going through the following simple steps;


    • Registering for a Business Account on the ANCC website

    The business can apply for the Business Service on the portal of Australian National Character Check. Of course, the Employer will have to provide details about their enterprise and the type of service they need. There is a general mandatory approval process before the organisation gets access to the business portal.


    • Add Candidates/Applicants

    The organisation must provide all the names and information of the people they want to obtain a Check for.


    • Inviting the Candidate for the Police Check

    On confirming the above process for legitimacy, ANCC’s system contacts the specified individual for a Criminal History Check application.

    The organisation's role in obtaining a Police Check on behalf of an applicant ends at sending them “Invites for Police Check application". The remaining process from collecting the application form and informed consent, checking compliance and various other support tasks are handled by ANCC.


    • Track and Monitor the process

    If the Candidate accepts the invite, they will then provide other details and personal information the central government agency requires for the Checking. After the Candidate completes their application, the organisation can monitor the process and status using their account.


    • Access and evaluate the results

    After a result has been released, the Employer can access the Police Check certificate whenever it is ready. A certificate is also dispatched via email to the applicant.

    How should an Employer evaluate the Police Check certificate?

    Personal information is "sacred" under Australian laws regarding criminal history disclosure. Your organisation can face stiff penalties for improper use or handling of a person's criminal records in Australia if not done with the correct protocols.

    When handling a Police Check or other personal information of the Candidate, the organisation must;

    1. Ensure the safety and security of all data and information processed through and within their organisation. The police Check result should only be used and interpreted for relevant purposes.
    2. It is an offence to transfer/release a candidate’s personal information to unauthorised third parties without their consent.


    1. Explain the organisation's internal assessment policies regarding the use and disclosure of the Check.

    1. The primary criteria for assessing the Police Check should be the relevance of the offences/records to the role or position the applicant seeks. It may count as discrimination if the Candidate feels the Employer has evaluated them unfairly based on an irrelevant conviction.

    1. The Employer should not assess the Candidate's Spent Convictions unless;
      • ✔ The legislation mandates the Spent offences to constitute part of the details to be assessed.
      • ✔ The Spent Convictions are detrimental to the role the person is seeking.
      • ✔ When ordering a check via ANCC, convictions that are eligible to be spent will not show up on a criminal history check.

    Is there a difference between an Employer and the Employee Police Check?

    No, all Police Checks for a specific purpose and individuals will return the same valid information of their Disclosable Court Outcomes per the jurisdiction laws.

    So, it is still possible to request the employee to provide their own Police Checks, though this may be more challenging to streamlining the process.

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