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  • No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO) on a Police Check

    When you apply for a Police Check in Australia, your certificate can either return with;

    • Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO),
    • No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO).

    When your Police Check certificate comes out with an NDCO, it means you have no releasable criminal records and you "have passed" your Police Check.

    The NDCO on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is the most desired result every employer, decision maker or candidate wants to see.

    What is the Police Check in Australia?

    The Police Check is a nationwide method of tracing a person’s legal/criminal history in Australia. The National Police Checking Service in Australia conducts the check by comparing the details the applicant submits with the data on the Australian Criminal database.

    The Police Check certificate or result contains the list of all the person's Disclosable convictions (if available). However, if the applicant has no records or any that can be released, the Police Check returns as an NDCO.

    What are the Disclosable Court outcomes?

    The DCO is the conviction records that you will find displayed on the Police Check certificate. Any record that is not Spent or excluded through some legal programs is the candidate's DCO.

    The details of Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs);

    • Criminal convictions given in an Australian Court,
    • Ongoing or pending charges,
    • Sexually related offences,
    • Finance related offences,
    • Arrest warrants for a criminal offence,
    • Offences against corporate organisations
    • Good Behaviour bonds for the bond duration
    • Assault offences
    • Robbery and Theft related offences.

    What are No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO)?

    All violations on your criminal records but cannot be released on your Police Check are called the NCOs. Your Police Check will also return as NDCO if there are no convictions on your criminal records at all.

    A person with a clean record will have an NDCO as a result. The Spent Convictions (if any) are also part of your NDCOs.

    What offences are not disclosed in a Police Check?

    Not all violations or offences appear on the Criminal History Check in Australia; these offences fall outside the scope of the criminal records.

    The criminal records only contain offences given by an Australian court within Australian laws.

    The following offences will not appear on your Police Check; these offences are all in some way part of the NDCO.

    While these "offences" may be found in other records/checks, they will not appear on your Criminal records or your Police Check certificate. Some examples of the offences that will not appear on your Police records in Australia include;

    • Diversionary programs

    The Court can decide against sentencing an offender and instead commit them to diversionary programs. If the Court issues a diversionary program, the offender will have to obey the conditions that the Court includes.

    • The Court finds no guilt

    Where the Court does not find the person guilty of the offence on completion of the hearing, it will discharge and acquit the offender. If the Court acquits or releases a person, there is no record of it on the criminal records.

    • Police cautions

    The Police can issue cautions to an offender instead of charging them to Court. The Police will usually issue cautions for less severe offences that would be "too insignificant" to the law. The Police may/not attach a condition depending on the offence. However, Police Cautions do not appear on a Police Check.

    • Infringement notice

    Minor Traffic offences and other offences can be settled through Police fines or tickets. The Police or official issues an infringement notice informing the offender of the breach and their penalty. Once the offender settles the fine or tickets, the infringement notice is wiped off with no other effect.

    The law does not record an infringement notice as part of a criminal record.

    • Restriction/Court Orders

    The Court can order a restriction order against a person if they "find" them potentially harmful to another person or property. Although the Restriction orders are issued in a Court, they do not enter the criminal record unless their conditions are breached.

    Your Restriction or Court Orders will not show up in a Police Check, so they are an NDCO.

    • Overseas conviction

    All convictions given in an overseas court or by Overseas legislation do not form part of your criminal record. The Police Check only reveals convictions in a criminal record regarding Australian laws.

    An employer or agency seeking to access a candidate's overseas records must employ other means to source these checks.

    • Spent convictions

    Some convictions are permanently removed from a candidate’s record once the person satisfies a Good Behaviour Period.

    The Spent Convictions Scheme

    The administration and execution of making an offence Spent falls under the Spent Convictions Scheme. The scheme is present across all States and jurisdictions in Australia, though the guidelines vary slightly.

    Generally, all Spent Convictions are part of a person’s No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO); they do not appear in a criminal record check in Australia.

    How can an offence become Spent in Australia?

    The Spent convictions guidelines vary slightly across the States and Territories in Australia. An offence can be spent in the following ways;

    1. Convictions Spent immediately

    The Magistrate of Justice can use their powers following the Sentencing Act (or equivalent) of their State or Territory to decide against recording a sentence against the offender. An offence is automatically Spent if the Court does not sentence the offender nor issue a "finding of guilt".

    All convictions against a person under 15 years in Victoria becomes automatically spent.

    In Victoria, if the Court transfers the trial of a person based on the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997, it will enter a special hearing.

    1. Convictions Spent after the Good Behaviour Period

    Most of the Spent Offences in Australia are only eligible after the offender has satisfied a crime free period without re-offending as per the Spent Convictions Scheme legislation of their State or Territory.

    The general Crime free period for offences in Australia are;

    • ✔ Ten years of "crime-free period"; for a conviction by an adult court.
    • ✔ Five years of "crime-free period"; for a conviction by a juvenile court. For NSW, it is three (3) years for offences committed by juveniles to get spent.

    It must also follow that; The individual must not get another conviction in this period, else the period restarts

    • The term of imprisonment the offence incurs is not more than 30 months. (Should be 30 months or less)
    • The conviction does not lead to a further court hearing.

    What are the benefits of the Spent Convictions scheme?

    People who have a conviction on their criminal records look to the Spent Convictions Scheme as a ‘second chance’ for their criminal history. The most significant benefit of the Spent conviction is that it becomes a No Disclosable Court Outcome for life. Yes, there are still other benefits to having your offences Spent in Australia.

    • Right of No-Disclosure

    You can choose not to disclose your Spent convictions even if the Employer or person demands it. The ability to remain silent under oath is another plus to having your convictions spent. Any detail that you do not reveal under the scheme does not hurt you.

    However, the legislation may make disclosure mandatory in cases where the candidate applies for a sensitive position or role (for example, when applying for a working with children check).

    • Employers do not evaluate an NDCO result

    If there are "no disclosable court outcomes'' on a criminal history check result, the Employer cannot assess those.

    What is the benefit of having a No Disclosable Court Outcomes?

    The Police Check certificate is a standard check-in of various sectors and industries in Australia. Employers assess a candidate based on the Disclosable Court Outcomes in their criminal records. If you do not have a DCO on your Police Check, you stand a better chance of getting the role or position you apply for.

    When you have NDCO, you become the most suitable candidate for the role. The Employer does not have further questions for you based on your criminal records.

    How long can a person have an NDCO?

    The NDCO is not restricted by time or any other factor. As long as the person does not receive a new conviction, their Police Check will continue to return an NDCO anytime it is updated.

    The NDCO will only be replaced with the relevant convictions if the person gets a sentence.

    Is it possible to get an NDCO even after I get a conviction?

    Yes, if your convictions become spent, such convictions will automatically become part of your No disclosable Court Outcomes. All Spent convictions immediately enter the NDCO in your criminal records.

    How long does the Police Check last?

    Police Checks are meant to be on-the-point information about the holder's criminal records. A police check older by more than six months or one year may contain gaps in the candidate's criminal records. To solve this, most organisations or decision makers limit the age of the Police Check certificate they accept.

    For example, most organisations do not accept a Police Check certificate older than three (3) months. While a Police Check may not "expire", it can become obsolete for use depending on the organisation's internal risk mitigation policies.

    Where do I need a Police Check in Australia?

    The Police Check certificate has become a standard document for vetting and evaluating candidates for various applications. When you have to submit your Police Check certificate, employers or other organisations prefer the Check result with an NDCO.

    You will need a Police Check for;

    • Paid employment

    Employers in various sectors of Australia refer to the Police Check to differentiate applications they receive. The Employer uses all possible means to hire the "most suitable" candidates for the role.

    Having an NDCO on a Criminal History Check result is the most desirable outcome for the Check.

    • Volunteering Services

    Volunteers provide lots of service for the Australian sector and operate in almost all sectors. However, whether they are paid or unpaid, the organisation prioritises the people that receive their benefits.

    Most volunteering organisations, especially those that work in sensitive sectors, use the criminal history check for the purpose of volunteering to evaluate their candidates.

    • Licensing agencies

    Applying for specific licenses will require the applicants to obtain a Police Check for licensing. You cannot operate some businesses or groups without these licenses.

    For example, you need a desirable Police Check for a Legal firearm possession license. If the agency evaluates the Police Check and finds certain compromising offences, you may be denied the licenses.

    Real Estate Licenses

    Having the NDCO as the Police Check result will increase your chances of getting the Real Estate license. If the licensing agency finds DCO of frauds, deception or other compromising offences, it can refuse you the License to invest in Real Estate.

    Driver Operator Licenses

    Every public vehicle operator or transport operator needs a license to operate in Australia. Getting such licenses to require the applicant to present a "desirable" criminal history check certificate for driver accreditation and licensing. The agency can refuse you the License if it finds serious traffic offences in your criminal records.

    Generally, you will need a “desirable” criminal history check certificate for any of these roles;

    • Healthcare professionals
    • Aged care workers
    • Childcare
    • 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
    • Fireman services
    • And any other profession that involves personnel direct or indirect access to sensitive positions or positions of trust.

    Can an Employer dismiss a candidate due to a DCO?

    The laws encourage all employers to outline and explain the details of their internal company policies before implementing it. An employer can dismiss an employee if they think their recent conviction can negatively affect their role and if the criminal record will impact the inherent requirements of the role.

    However, the Employer must be cautious of such decisions and ensure that such decisions do not amount to discrimination based on a criminal record.

    How can I get a Police Check for Employees?


    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application 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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