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  • How to get a pre-employment police check

    It is now standard and popular for organisations, companies and other employers to include the Police Check as a requirement for employment, jobs, volunteering and other paid positions. All those who do not have a Police Check certificate up until that point must obtain a pre-employment Police Check in Australia.

    The Pre-employment Police Checks are the same as the general Employment Police Check certificate. They are conducted to bring into light criminal records relevant to the role or position the candidate is applying for.

    What is a Pre-employment Police Check?

    Depending on the organisation’s internal policies, they can ask you to include your Police Check certificate in your application for a role. Most employers conduct the Police Check assessment as the final step before granting final employment, hence the “Pre-employment Check”.

    Furthermore, the Check is not a one-off process, primarily if the organisation deals in "sensitive sectors" of the economy. The legislation even encourages employers in specific sectors (e.g. aged care) to request regular criminal history checks from their employees within respectable periods.

    How can I get a Pre-employment Police Check?

    Getting a Police Check in Australia these days is easier whether as a candidate or as the employer/agency.

    As a candidate applicant;

    There are three main ways of obtaining a valid pre-employment Police Check in Australia regardless of where you are. However, most candidates usually prefer to apply through accredited service providers like Australian National Character Check (ANCC).


    • Online application

    If you have a mobile, Tablet or P.C. device connected to the internet, you can complete your Police Check application in less than 15 minutes assuming you have all identification for the criminal history check on hand. The great thing about this method is that it is entirely inline; you can complete it from anywhere.

    Also, you can email the Police Check certificate to your prospective employers immediately after you get the electronic copy.

    Online Pre-employment Police Checks generally take 48 hours to process, except in the case of a delay due to a potential match (manual processing).


    • The Local Police office

    Applicants can also get their Pre-employment Police Check when they apply physically through an Australian police force. Local police forces issue the certificates through their website or via regional Police offices.

    However, as this process may be paper-based and it takes around 10 to 15 days before the applicant gets their result.

    Yet, if your prospective Employer stipulates that you apply through this process, comply with it.


    • Applying through the Post office

    Applicants can also submit their applications to the local Post office, but if they are required to verify ID documents, they must do this physically. Also, all applications through the local post office must be complete with the scanned I.D.s, applications form, consent forms and all other documents.

    As an employer/business/Group

    Employers fear that some candidates will be dubious/unfair in the recruitment process and instead prefer to conduct the Police Check in a streamlined form. However, doing this manually will be cumbersome and sensitive for the Employer unless through an online method.

    The ANCC offers a Business Portal for employer police checks on the platform that allows employers and other organisations to streamline the Police Check of their candidates. Using the portal, the organisation can initiate, monitor, pay, and view the Police Check of the candidate. This is all completed with the candidates informed consent.

    Employers and decision makers who handle criminal history check results must always be conscious of Privacy and Disclosure principles when handling criminal records.

    Who can apply for a Pre-employment Check in Australia?

    All persons above 18 years can apply for a Criminal History Check for employment purposes. All other applicants must obtain written consent from their parents or guardians.

    The ANCC Business Portal allows the employer/business to initiate a Police Check request from an applicant.

    Can I be disqualified for a role because of my criminal history?

    Although the criminal history can provide grounds for refusal, the Australian government encourages that an objective assessment precedes it.

    An employer or other decision-maker has a duty of care for persons in the workplace and their clients. They can declare you unfit for the role after assessing your Police Check certificate. This is particularly important if the criminal record will impact the inherent requirements of the job role.

    Workplaces should ideally have policies in place that will guide decision makers on how to prevent discrimination based on a criminal record.

    However, if you feel the evaluation was unfair, biased or skewed, you can lodge a complaint at the;

    • Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), or
    • Equal opportunity Commission (E.O.C.)

    These are Australian government agencies that ensure that persons are not discriminated against or evaluated unfairly due to a criminal record.

    However, if the Employer gives a fair assessment considering their written internal policies, you can be disqualified if your criminal history contradicts their requirement.

    Are there some criminal records that can exclude me from a role?

    Yes, some records are “by default” unsuitable to a role.

    Usually, the Employer will disclose their internal policy and factors for assessing the person through written policies. These policies must not contradict the legislation of the State or jurisdictions. Where the candidate’s criminal history contains such compromising records, it will influence the Employer's decision on disqualifying them.

    For example, the legislation is against a convicted sex offender working in a School, as a Commercial Vehicle driver, Child care worker or volunteer caring for the aged.

    Can an Employer access my records without my consent?

    No, whether you have a compromising criminal record or not, it is an offence for anyone to abuse your privacy.

    Checks via the ANCC Business Portal can only be obtained with the candidates informed consent.

    What does the Employment Police Check reveal?

    Generally, the Police Check is a search of an individual's profile on the Australian Criminal Database and the Police records. The certificate/result that comes after the search displays all the releasable convictions of the applicant that is on their criminal records in Australia.

    The details that can be released in a Police Check certificate are the Disclosable Court Outcomes (D.C.O.). The details/convictions released on a Police Check certificate may vary by State/jurisdiction depending on their legislation.

    The Pre-employment Police Check will show the following details as a D.C.O. (if any);


    • Offences against corporate bodies

    There are a lot of offences a person can commit against a corporate body in Australia; it can range from severe crimes of fraud and stealing offences. Your prospective employers are interested in this type of information and may rely on a Police Check for it.


    • Sexually related offences

    Sexual offenders may be a potential risk in working in some roles; such offenders operating in the vulnerable sector may even draw the ire of the community. Employers who cater to vulnerable or sensitive populations will refuse such an offender.


    • Fraud offences

    Employers in the finance sector have rigid policies when it comes to employment. One of their policies is to run a complete background check on the candidate, including the Police Check.

    Serious fraud offences in a candidate's criminal history check are always a deterrent to employing the person. If it happens at all, the candidate will need a sound defence.


    • Pending Charges

    Most of the ongoing court hearings and charges show in an Australian Police Check.

    If the pending charge is in a criminal related offence, it will likely show on the candidate’s Police Check.


    • Non-conviction sentences

    Although the court decides against convicting a person it finds guilty, it still shows in a Police Check. The only time a sentence does not show on a candidate’s record is if the court orders it so through some diversionary programs.


    • Other unspent convictions

    There are many other classes of offences that show on a candidate's Police Check in Australia. The offences shown in the result are usually unspent and relevant to the role the candidate is seeking with the organisation.

    Unspent convictions cannot qualify under the Spent conviction scheme, which removes all eligible offences after a period.

    How can I obtain a national criminal history check?

    Individuals

    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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