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What is a Probity police check?

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

A time arises when you may need a background check for representing yourself as a fit and proper person for a decision making role or for an entitlement. These types of checks are commonly called probity checks.

The Probity Check is a document of proof that you are suitable for the decision making role or entitlement you apply for.

Probity police checks are submitted by individuals for personal probity reasons. This includes where an applicant must provide a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check to represent themselves as a fit and proper person. The “Probity” purpose on a police check application form may include decision making roles or an assessment for an entitlement.

General examples of a police check for a Probity role may include:

  • School board member role,
  • Student work experience placements that relate to their studies or qualifications,
  • Foster Parent entitlement,
  • And more.

Who can apply for a Probity police check?

Workers for a Company or Corporate organisations

Probity checks can be conducted on corporate workers in the case of Business to Business transactions, financial dealings, IPOs, mergers, partnerships and other corporate activities. The probity Check can also determine if the individual qualifies to carry out specific duties to the public like;

  • Working with a particular group or board (e.g. A company’s board of directors),
  • Partnering with the government,
  • Providing services to vulnerable groups (e.g. Aged care police checks).

Workers of a Not for Profit Organisation

Non-profit organisations also need probity checks for almost the same reason as any corporate body. It reveals an individual’s suitability for the needs or roles they carry out in society. Most NGO organisations may need to present a probity check for their workers as part of their compliance requirements.


Probity checks are helpful for personal proof of suitability for a decision making role or entitlement. Getting certain appointments, functions or entitlements in Australia may require you to apply for a probity check.

Any person may apply for a probity check if it is a requirement.

What is a Probity police check used for?

There is much use for a probity check in Australia; it is used to check the suitability of a person or group for specific purposes like;

Foster parenting or Child adoption

Adopting a child is not a walk in the park in Australia. The process includes deeper and broader background checks about the individual, their history, family records, addresses, etc. Applying for a probity check for foster parenting will reveal the following details;

  • The criminal history of the person,
  • Any records of child abuse or violence,
  • Violence orders,
  • Offences that constitute irresponsibility,
  • Financial standing through bank and credit records,
  • Other checks the agency deems relevant for child adoption.

Student Placements

You may also require a probity check when applying for student placements or internships. The company or organisation that admits you to an internship may request a probity check for you. With the probity check, they aim to access details like;

School Board member

It may be impossible to get membership into a school board without submitting your probity check. Probity checks for educators are specially dedicated to the behaviours in a learning centre and towards children.

Education, especially for the young, is essential for the nation; there must be deeper checks on these educators.

The probity check for a school board member may include;

Public appointment Probity Checks

An appointed public official may be required to present their probity checks before commencing decision making roles. The probity check will assess the candidate based on;

  • Criminal history,
  • Court orders related to criminal offences.

The use of the probity checks is not just limited to these that are discussed here. The different roles or entitlements you apply for may require you to undergo a probity check.

What are the different types of Probity Background Checks?

Australia has a special database dedicated to all criminal offenders, offences and convictions given in a court.

These records contain the offender details, history and penalties imposed for such offences. The standard police checks compare a person's details to information in the criminal records.

The criminal records include;

  • All Criminal Charges, including suspended sentences,
  • All traffic-related criminal offences,
  • All finding of guilt where the Magistrate issues no conviction,
  • Pending charges,
  • Court appearances.

There are different details the probity checks disclose from a person's record. Note that a probity check will only reveal details that are relevant to what the applicant states.

For example, a probity check for a society board member may produce a different result from a probity check for an aged care worker.

Furthermore, it is impossible to use a probity check interchangeably. The agency or party must only accept probity checks conducted for the role or service they offer.

Various checks fall under the general probity checks in Australia. Depending on the organisation's internal risk mitigation policies, conducting a probity check may also be a combination of any of the following checks.

  • Identity Verification Checks

Confirming a candidate's identity is one of the primary and fundamental probity checks in Australia. This Check provides the requesting party information of the identity of a person compared to the identity that is stored in an official government database.

With an identity verification check, you can not only confirm the person's identity to the information they provide but also confirm that they are who they say they are.

Confirming a candidate's legal right to work in Australia is paramount if organisations wish to avoid hefty fines from the Department of Home Affairs for employing an individual that may be residing illegally, or past the expiry date of their visa grant notice.

  • Employment Reference Checks

It is getting more popular, albeit notorious, for people to swap jobs even after a horrible employment history. The new employer can often not determine the candidate's previous employment behaviour as such information doesn't appear in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check.

With an employment reference check, employers can reference a candidate's past performance or relationship. The new employer can assess the previous corporate links of a candidate. They can also get specific information about their employees based on their relationship with their last employer.

The Check can feature assessment guides like;

  • ✔ How effectively they performed their roles,
  • ✔ Where the previous employer strongly recommends them,
  • ✔ The suggestions the previous employer can provide for their improvement,
  • ✔ What motivated them in their last role,
  • ✔ How the candidate acts when under pressure,
  • ✔ How docile or responsive the candidate is to instructions,
  • ✔ Punctuality and responsibility in officer duties,
  • ✔ Their ability to work for and with others when in a team.

An honest reply to this assessment will provide sufficient information to the new employer on employing the person.

It is not uncommon for aspiring employees to exaggerate the qualities in their CVs. It was once nearly impossible to verify the grades or information of a resume, especially where it relates to how a task impacted the person.

The Employment history check provides more insight into the significance of a role and how it turned out for all parties.

The Employment check helps the decision process by improving the accuracy of the information it provides. It involves duties like;

  • ✔ Confirming responsibilities, titles, positions,
  • ✔ Checking for employment gaps,
  • ✔ Reaching out to others involved in the project.

  • Qualification or Education Probity Check

Being qualified for a job has little to do with the degrees or certificates you accumulate. There are many instances where a candidate may match the qualification and still fall short based on abilities. These Check goes further to determine the;

  • Type and Integrity of the certificate,
  • The date of graduation,
  • The courses and practicals, including the certificate involved,
  • The grades all through the process.
  • Vetting candidates academic record benefits both the reputation and productivity of the employer.

Part of the qualification check is to determine the character of the individual in carrying out their tasks.

  • Digital footprints Check

These days it is easier to determine a candidate's opinion or position on a sensitive matter by scrutinising their digital activities. Many potential employees have sympathized with;

  • Rapists,
  • Insurrectionists, and
  • Other misdemeanours through their social media.

This is a check to check if a person's digital records can impact your organisation's process or reputation.

The digital footprints check assesses a person's action online through their public chats and contents. A person can be denied a role or position due to incriminating or illicit posts they made.

For example, an agency may deny you employment if you have been making anti-semitic posts.

The organisation can refuse the person a position if they consider their digital records a possible stain on their reputation.

  • Financial Probity Checks

Some roles require the candidates to declare their financial records and assets. It will also disclose whether the candidate has a bankruptcy history or is proceeding. It helps the requesting party ascertain the creditworthiness or financial solvency of the applicant.

Interpreting a Probity Check in Australia

The fact that a person has a criminal history or violation in their probity check is not a certain assault on their application. There are different commissions and agencies in Australia that supervises against employment discrimination.

People must not be discriminated against genetically because of their check results, or the employers may face questions from the Equal Rights Commission.

Even where there is a guilt finding, the employer must consider certain factors and procedures in handling a police check to ensure that the criminal record or other misdemeanour relates to the inherent requirements of the role.

  • The relevance of the Offence to the role

Although the probity check is peculiar to the purpose you apply for, it does not guarantee an automatic dismissal. The employer must consider how such Offence will affect the candidate's suitability.

This difference can be explained in;

  • ○ Stealing a $1.50 cookie in a mall when a person was a child and stealing from a pawn shop as an adult.

  • How long the Offence took place

The employer can also consider how the person has turned in a new record since the last offence. Usually, a recent or repeat offence is more grievous and impacting than a lone Offence in the past.

  • The kind of sentencing the Court imposed

The Court may impose less severe sentencing if it considers the Offence or the candidate's participation as minor. An employer can also consider that the Court deemed it satisfactory to issue lesser sentencing.

  • When the Offence was committed

Offences committed as a juvenile should have less impact than those committed while an adult for apparent reasons.

  • If such offences are now decriminalised

The employer can also consider the status of the law that made such an act a criminal act. If such laws are now obsolete in the legislation, it can be a mitigating factor in assessing a probity check.

What an employer must watch out for

Employers must do so with the strictest policies and safety measures when handling a candidates' document or file. Specific legislations like the Privacy Act prohibits indiscriminate use and handling of sensitive information.

How can I obtain background checks for Probity purposes?


If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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 Nationally Coordinated 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.

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The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

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ANCC® enables individuals and approved legal entities to apply for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, which is commonly referred to as a national police check. The nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid all over Australia and can be used when applying for Employment, Probity, Licencing, or Commonwealth check purposes. Get discount police checks online. We beat prices!


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