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  • Difference between Volunteer and Employment Police Check

    Volunteers do a great job around the country and are present in almost all sectors of the economy. Volunteers may have slight differences in their operations or recruitment process.

    The Police Check is a nationwide means of assessing a candidate's criminal records in Australia. The certificate lists all the recorded convictions of the individual under the Australian Criminal Database.

    Does the Police Check certificate differ for various purposes?

    Generally, the Police Check certificate is the same and contains the Disclosable Court Outcomes of the candidate. However, there may be slight variations depending on the purpose or role the applicant selects.

    The Police Check discloses convictions that are relevant to the roles or purpose that the candidate specifies. Therefore, a Police Check for Paid employment is slightly different from a Police Check for a Volunteer or even licensing purposes.

    Before you apply for the Check, applicants must know and select the purpose of the Check.

    Can you switch between Police Check results?

    No, you cannot submit a Police Check for an employment purpose where the agency requests a Police Check for volunteer purposes. Every Police Check certificate you present has a function or role it is conducted for; the details disclosed are all related to the purpose that the candidate has selected.

    A Police Check for employment can and should only be used for Employment purposes in Australia. A Volunteer organisation can rightly refuse your Criminal History Check certificate if it is conducted for a separate role.

    Where do you need an Employment Police Check in Australia?

    An employment Police Check is the necessary Check document when the candidate seeks a Paid role in Australia. It includes all paid employment cases, whether in a factory, academics or informal sector.

    Applicants for the following role generally must obtain a Police Check;

    • Healthcare professionals
    • Aged care workers
    • Childcare workers (A working with children check is mandatory for regulated roles)
    • Tutors
    • Correctional Staff
    • Mining workers
    • Government Personnel
    • Financial Service workers
    • Legal Workers
    • Liquor sellers
    • Pawnbrokers
    • Real Estate agents
    • Construction workers and contractors
    • Public vehicle drivers
    • Vehicle dealers
    • Civil servants
    • Chef, Cooks, Nannies
    • Fireman services
    • Domestic Staffs
    • Air hosts/hostesses
    • Hoteliers and hotel managers
    • And any other profession that grants the personnel direct or indirect access to sensitive positions or positions of trust.

    What does the Employment Check reveal in Australia?

    Recruitment periods are challenging for employers. The candidates must be put through all the available screens to ensure they are “fit” for the organisation.

    The Employment Police Check is generally a suitable fit for recruitments; it contains all the relevant Police and Criminal records of the individual that are permitted to be disclosed.

    Therefore, the Employment Police Checks will disclose the following details if available on the criminal record;

    Who should get an Employment Police Check?

    All applicants who seek employment in Australia can obtain an employment Police Check.

    The Employer can also order a Police Check from an employee to streamline the application process. However, in all types of application processes, the applicant must provide their informed consent to carry out a check.

    Who should get a Volunteer Police Check?

    These Police Check certificates are strictly for volunteers and anyone who wants to take an unpaid role in Australia. People can volunteer in many forms and places in Australia, but it is the role or act itself that needs assessment.

    Most volunteers attend to the "vulnerable" in the community, which is why the checking can be more rigorous.

    Generally, all persons that want to volunteer or work in any NGO must submit their Volunteer Police Checks. The government even makes it mandatory for specific volunteer roles for the candidate to produce a Volunteer Police Check.

    Volunteers in Australia include and are not limited to;

    • Health care Volunteers,
    • Student interns/placements,
    • People seeking work experience (unpaid),
    • Driver volunteers,
    • Volunteer teachers,
    • Emergency Volunteers.

    When should I apply for the Volunteer Police Check?

    Candidates or potential volunteers should apply for their Police Check as soon as they have concluded that they will work in a particular role. While the Police Check does not expire (it is a point in time check), the volunteering organisation may prefer the age of Police Check they accept.

    Can I be disqualified from volunteering based on a Volunteer Check?

    Yes, the recruitment process for volunteers, in many cases, may be more rigid than for employment. Volunteering organisations in sensitive roles are careful not to aggravate a situation by employing a "worrying" criminal history to handle specific functions.

    For example, a candidate with a history of sexual assault can be refused the opportunity to volunteer in a roles that involves vulnerable people.

    A Candidate's Police Check will be evaluated based on the relevance of the offence to the position they seek.

    What does the Volunteer Check reveal?

    A Police Check for volunteers is one of the methods most organisations assess their volunteers in Australia. It contains all criminal history relating to your past volunteering and unpaid work in Australia.

    It may prioritise Disclosable Court Outcomes relating to;

    Do Spent Convictions appear in a Police Check?

    Your Police Check in Australia does not release Spent Convictions per Australian laws. However, these convictions may be disclosed in other background checks depending on their relevance to the role or position.

    All offences that are “Spent” in Australia are automatically removed from the candidate’s conviction records. Besides the fact that they are no longer on the person’s record, the candidate does not have to discuss or reveal details of their Spent convictions.

    If the Employer requires a broader background check of the applicant, especially where it is mandated by the legislation, they can request;

    Where can I apply for the Police Check in Australia?

    The Police Check is conducted nationwide, using the details on the general Australian criminal database. You can use the Police check obtained in one State for an application in a different state within Australia.

    For example, a volunteer in Tasmania can use the same Police Check for the same type of volunteering Job in Victoria provided the check is not too old.

    Is the Police Check free for volunteers?

    Some people wrongly think the police check is freely accessible for volunteers because they don't receive a wage. While some volunteering organisations may reimburse the police check fee to volunteers, it is not a general rule.

    The Police Check application has a standard application fee regardless of the method you apply. It is up to the organisation through pre-stated policies to reimburse the application fee directly to the candidate.

    Is the Police Check free for paid employment?

    No, Police checks are never free for employees, volunteers or candidates; they must remit the base fee to complete the application. However, an employer may cover the Police Check cost depending on their agreement or the company's policies.

    How long does a Police Check last?

    The Police Check is a point-in-time check in Australia; it does not expire regardless of the candidate's purpose. However, most organisations and employers have a consensus policy of not accepting Police Check certificates older than three months.

    In some regulated industries, the Australian government advises recruiters in sensitive sectors to only evaluate a Police Check certificate that shows reasonably recent convictions.

    How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application and informed consent form. The results are dispatched via email.

    Business and Enterprise Customers

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

    ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their criminal record 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.

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