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  • What does passing a criminal background check mean

    Most employers in Australia seem to employ only candidates who have passed their Police Check. This worries applicants who always hope they pass their Police Check. Now, most applicants only focus on "passing" their Police Check as if it is some form of exam or test.

    The Police Check is nothing close to all these, “Passing” a Police Check is just an innocent term used to tell that the candidate does not have a record that compromises the position they seek.

    Or

    The Candidate’s Police Check returns with a No Disclosable Court Outcomes (no convictions are found on their Police Check certificate).

    What is an example of a Passed Police Check?

    Generally, passing your Police Check means that the candidate does not have a Disclosable Court Outcome (D.C.O.) on their Police Check certificate.

    The Disclosable Court Outcomes are the convictions of an individual that are considered releasable under the State jurisdictions. It contains all the convictions of the individual related to the role or applications the candidate seeks. However, a No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO) means the candidate does not have a releasable conviction record on their Police Check.

    Furthermore, passing your Police Check may depend on the organization or type of role you are applying for. For example, an employer may consider that you have passed your Police Checks if you don't have a conviction related to the role you are applying for.

    What happens if I don’t pass my Police Check?

    Employers mostly insist on passing your Police Check before admitting or hiring you into the role or position. If you don't pass your Police Check, the organisation may refuse to accept or hire you for the role.

    However, agencies like the AHRC and the E.O.C. encourage employers to consider other factors when analysing a candidate's Police Check certificate in a practice that prevents discrimination and unfair treatments.

    For example, if the candidate has a conviction record, the decision-makers should consider the relevance of that conviction to the role.

    What do I do if I have failed a Police Check?

    Technically, you cannot fail the Police Check; it can only reveal certain conviction records that make your certificate look "bad" before employers. Yet, this should not stop you from applying for the role or license, especially where there are some hidden circumstances about your conviction history.

    Although employers state what they want candidates who have “passed’ Their Police Check, the assessment may be lenient if such records;

    • Are not relevant to the role or position,
    • The offences were minor and happened long ago,
    • The conviction had Extenuating circumstances.

    How can I pass my Police Check?

    Since most employers only care about the candidate passing the Check, candidates now get obsessed with how to “pass” their Police Check. There is no specific skill to “passing” a Criminal History Check in Australia.


    • Maintain a Clean record in Australia

    The path to having an "impeccable record" does not start when you apply for the Police Check; it is a process that culminates from your early actions with the Australian laws. The best way to "pass" your Check is to abstain from every criminal act in Australia – Yes, you can have a clean record.


    • Seek other programs instead of a court conviction

    However, if you already have a conviction or an ongoing charge, always get a lawyer to seek other diversionary programs or sentence suspension. If the Magistrate considers you worthy for a suspended sentence or release under a Good Behaviour Bond, it has a minimal effect than having a conviction recorded against you.

    For example, a Good Behaviour Bond will “disappear” from your Police Check as soon as the bond duration expires. Also, the court may even order some of your offences Spent immediately after you satisfy a conditional release order.


    • Consider seeking Out of Court settlements

    Before or while your matter is in court, discuss with your prosecutors or other parties to find if the case can be settled Out-Of-Court. Settling an issue outside the courtroom is better than receiving a conviction for the charge.

    Matters settled out of court do not appear on the Police Check or the candidate's criminal records.

    Furthermore, if the traffic or Police official issues an infringement notice or other tickets instead of a court summons or charge, try to settle such Tickets.

    What appears on a Police Check or Makes you fail a Police Check?

    Usually, the records or details determine whether a candidate/applicant has failed or passed the Police Check. Passing your Police Check depends mainly on the organisation's policies or role they are hiring for.

    The records that appear on your Police Check certificate are the Disclosable Court Outcomes (D.C.O.). The details of your D.C.O. includes;


    • All court convictions

    Your DCOs are the only records that appear on your Criminal History Check in Australia; they are court convictions by an Australian court. Once the court issues a sentence against a person, it will go into their criminal records in Australia and show up on their Check.


    • 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 a sex offender.


    • Fraud related offences

    Stealing and other fraud-related offences will primarily appear on a Police Check certificate if the candidate seeks a finance-related role.

    Having a fraud offence is a potential for a "failing" a Police Check, especially in a finance-related role.


    • Pending or ongoing charges

    The court can decide to include an individual's pending charges to their Police Check certificate, especially those relevant to the roles. It does not matter how far the court proceedings or hearing has gone before the details are included in your criminal history.


    • Arrest warrants

    If the court issues an arrest warrant against a person for a criminal offence, it enters their criminal record on the Australian database.

    The Australian Police forces execute the Arrest warrants from the Justice or Courts. However, if the Police cannot find the person within that period, the arrest warrant will remain on their Criminal records.


    • Non-conviction sentences

    Even where the court does not issue a conviction against the candidate, it will still appear on their Criminal record if the court finds them guilty of the offence. A no conviction sentence does not appear on the Police Check if some diversionary programs are issued instead of it.


    • Sexually related offences

    Suppose you are applying for a paid or volunteering role relating to the care of vulnerable or other groups. In that case, a sexual-related offence can cause the candidate to “fail” their Police Check certificate.

    Employing a repeat sexual offender is a significant risk, especially where the role involves;

    • The Aged,
    • Children and other vulnerable populations,
    • The disabled or those with special needs,
    • Foster care homes.

    • Offences against corporate bodies

    Another important detail for most employers is digging through the candidate's history with corporate bodies. Conviction records against corporate bodies cause the candidate to "fail" their Police Check certificate.

    Offences against corporate bodies can range from;

    • Forgery,
    • Financial crimes,
    • Improper work behaviours,
    • Misappropriations,
    • Stealing offences.

    • Driving/Traffic offences

    A Traffic conviction in your Police Check certificate can make you "fail" the certificate if you apply for a driving-related role.

    For example, if you are applying as a company driver or a school bus driver, a Traffic conviction will be a dent in your application.


    • Other Unspent Convictions

    All Spent offences are removed from the candidate's criminal records; only unspent offences appear on a person's records. However, the type of unspent offences usually determines whether you pass or fail a Criminal History Check certificate.

    Will failing a Police Check affect my chances?

    Yes, there are many disadvantages to failing the Police Check in Australia; usually, it dents the candidate's applications. Failing your Police Check in Australia can have dire consequences, especially if the employer is strict in interpreting/assessing your Police records.


    • Paid Employment

    Most employers prefer to hire candidates whose Criminal History Check certificate comes out as a No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO). However, they will still assess employers with D.C.O.s where it does not affect the role or position they are applying for.


    • Volunteering roles

    All volunteers must pass their Police Check, especially where they want to volunteer in the vulnerable sector. In some cases, the Australian government even mandates some volunteer organisations to include a Criminal History Check or other required check as a requirement for screening volunteers in Australia.

    If you have failed your Police Check, the volunteer organisation may change your volunteer role in Australia.


    • Licensing agencies

    You must generally submit a Police Check certificate before you obtain specific licenses in Australia. For example, the Agency issuing Commercial Driver Accreditation licenses may demand your criminal records before issuing you such a permit. The records that are usually evaluated on a police check for license purposes are those relating to (and not limited to);


    • Accreditation or professional bodies

    Almost all professional or accreditation bodies assess the candidate's criminal history and records before admitting them into the organisation. If the professional body finds certain compromising records or offences against the individual, they can refuse the position.

    How many times do I need to “pass” a Police Check?

    Most employers request a current Police Check certificate from the candidate or employee before hiring them or admitting them into the role. For employees or members of professional bodies or current staff, the organisation may demand the candidate to provide Police Checks at regular intervals (e.g. annually).

    Can an Employer assess my Criminal records?

    Yes, most employers consider the Police Check as the utmost reflection of a candidate’s criminal records. An employer cannot assess your criminal records or any other record without your consent in Australia.

    Also, the organisation or employer must employ safe and secure practices while handling a candidate’s Criminal records.

    How do I correct a Failed Police Check?

    People wonder if they can alter the result of their failed Police Check before submitting it to the requesting party; the short answer is NO. The only thing that may happen to your Police Check is that some of your offences that are eligible for the "Spent conviction scheme" will be taken off your records.

    There is practically no way to correct or change the outcome of your Criminal Background Check. If you really must appear for the role or position, you can discuss the conditions of your convictions with the employer or the decision-makers.

    Can I complain about an unfair assessment of my Police Check?

    The Australian legislation sets up a special commission to ensure no discrimination or any form of sidelining a candidate unfairly.

    However, if you feel the employer or agency has been unfair about assessing your criminal records, you can complain about the

    • Equal Opportunity Commission, or
    • Australian Human Right Commission (AHRC).

    These agencies even provide guidelines that help employers in assessing the candidate's criminal background checks. For example, it can be unethical for an employer to indiscriminately dismiss or refuse a candidate based on their Police Check without evaluating the convictions step by step.

    Do all Conviction records show up on my Police Check?

    Some records may appear in other records apart from the Criminal records on the Australian Criminal Database. These records are part of your No Disclosable Court records (NDCOs) regardless of their severity or type as long as they do not appear on the criminal records.

    Some of them include;


    • Overseas convictions

    Regardless of the convictions on your overseas records, they cannot cause you to “fail” a Police Check. Any conviction given by an overseas court does not enter your Australian Police records on the criminal database.


    • Spent Convictions

    Once your convictions are spent, they can no longer appear on your conviction records or criminal history. The Spent convictions scheme present in every State and Territory guides all the processes that can make an offence eligible to be spent.

    However, the candidate must have satisfied a period of good behaviour before their offences can be eligible to be “Spent”.

    Other offences that are not disclosed on the Criminal background checks include;

    • Diversionary programs,
    • No findings of guilt,
    • Police cautions,
    • Infringement notice,
    • Restriction/court orders,
    • Convictions given by agencies/societies other than an Australian court.

    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 of approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal for the purpose of criminal history checks.

    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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