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Home Blog What does manual processing mean for a national criminal history check?

What does manual processing mean for a national criminal history check?

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National Criminal History certificates have become something of a prerequisite document for most roles, license, accreditations, or employment opportunities in Australia.

If you are the purpose you need them for are considered "sensitive positions'' it becomes all the more mandatory.

Gratefully, when you apply online, the application process for National Criminal History is convenient and faster. Agencies such as the Australian National Character Check (ANCC) return completed Check certificates to applicants in a timely manner and the process can be completed online.

The online application methods via such agencies are by many considered to be the fastest and most convenient means possible for applicants to get their police check certificate.

After an application is submitted, it goes through a compliance check by ANCC’s verification team. If the application is filled out in compliance with government and police agency requirements, it gets forwarded through a secure server for a result. Whilst most applicants receive their check result within hours of completion, some applications may get referred for “manual processing”. This process occurs after an applicant's criminal history check application is submitted to the central government database for a result.

Below, we outline what it means when an application gets referred for manual processing.

What happens when my Criminal History check is delayed longer than three business days?

Roughly about 25% of the total applications for a National Criminal History Check usually take longer than three business days to obtain a result. The plausible explanation in most cases is that such an application is flagged by Australian police agencies for “manual processing”.

What is Manual Processing?

If an application is flagged for "manual processing", an official from a state or territory police agency must manually supervise the checking.

When you submit your details for the criminal history checking process, the computer algorithms at a central government database compares your information to data on the criminal database. Where the computer experiences complexities in the search, it will flag such an application. After flagging such an application, a human at an Australian police agency must “complete” and vet the check process.

However, only a little fraction of applications are flagged for manual review - around 25% or so. Most applications pass through the checking process without hiccups.

If an application is flagged for manual review, it does not imply that the applicant will/has to fail their Criminal History checking.

What can make an application be flagged for manual review?

Lots of reasons can make the check algorithm flag your application. Since a computer system initially completes all checks, it may be difficult to tell apart complexities. Some of these complexities could be;

As the computer system in the central government database will not make inconclusive results, it will simply flag these applications for “human/manual review”.

1. Where there is a potential Criminal record

The computer system will flag your application for a manual review in the presence of a Disclosable Court Outcome if;

2. Where there is no Criminal History record

A National Criminal History record may also be flagged even when there is no disclosable court outcome (DCO) for the applicant. However, the reasons are quite different and more obvious than when there is a DCO. Some of the reasons are;

What happens to my application after flagging for “manual review”?

Although a time consuming action, there is nothing the requesting agency or any other person can do to influence this process. Flagged police check applications may be delayed for up to 15 business days.

Applicants can mitigate the risks associated with flagged applications by requesting their check well in advance of when they are needed.

How can you tell which application will be flagged for manual review?

No agency or official can tell beforehand which application may be flagged for manual review. It is a random and unexpected occurrence. Hence, no agency can influence the period when such applications will be completed.

However, we advise that all applicants remain patient if their application gets flagged for manual review.

How does an applicant prevent further delays in reviewing?

When filling the application either online or in-person for a National Criminal History Check certificate, always input the correct details. Crosscheck all the details you have filled in before submitting your application. ANCC’s compliance team will send a request for further information (RFI) if an application does not meet government requirements.

Also if you have lived in multiple States and Territories, you must provide enough details on all addresses, aliases, names (changes of names), and so on.

Applicants should ensure that the details and identification documents they submit for verification match the details they submit. For example, all identification documents should match your legal name, or alternatively you should provide an acceptable change of name certificate issued by the registry of births, deaths and marriages.

What is the best method to apply for a Police Check?

There are several methods for applicants to apply for a criminal record check in Australia. All these methods will provide applicants with a valid, legal document at the end of the check. Although no method is “better” than another, applying online provides tends to be the easiest and fastest method of obtaining your National Criminal record Check certificate.

When you apply via our online portal, you can complete all applications and payments within 12 minutes. Applicants can do it all via a PC, mobile device or Tablet as long as they have an internet connection.

After applications, the applicant will receive an electronic copy of their check mostly within 24 to 48 hours, with the option of paying for a hard copy.

Where is a National Criminal History Check valid?

As the name implies, it is valid and useful throughout all States and Territories in the country. However, it may also be referred to by other names such as;

The check certificate is valid for use in employment, volunteering and licensing within all the States and Territories in Australia.

Why Police Checks are important

It helps organisations make important recruitment decisions: Employers must protect the assets, life and resources entrusted in their care.

It helps Volunteering organisations: Volunteering especially in sensitive roles like Child care, vulnerable care, and related positions require the highest form of staff assessment.

It helps individuals: Only those who have a Police Check can factually know their convictions at the Criminal records. It includes knowledge about their Spent offences, charges, and other DCOs.

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The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

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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