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Home Resources & Technical Articles Pre-Employment Screening Topics Police Checks What is a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

What is a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

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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.

Police checks are prevalent in Australia, especially where a third party (organisation/agency) needs specific details about an individual to vet them for a position, application or recommendation. One of Australia's foremost and essential background checks is the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC), previously referred to as the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check.

The NCCHC is beyond the scope of records prosecuted by the Police or similar records; it includes all your records in the various Australian databases. The NCCHC covers the main scope of a background check in Australia in detail and general acceptability. You may be refused some roles, positions or applications if you do not submit an NCCHC Check.

What will I find in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Australia?

The NCCHC is a broad background check that includes all the relevant details of the candidate's criminal records. It consists of all court convictions, violations, fines, sentences and other penalties issued in court, including the information on the offence.

Generally, if the court finds you guilty of an offence without particular circumstances or sentences, it automatically appears on your criminal records.

Now, the jurisdiction does not release "all" records of the individual. The details that are "releasable" under the State rules all form the candidate's Disclosable Court Outcomes.

What are the Disclosable court outcomes?

If the court finds you guilty of a criminal offence and does not issue a sentence suspension, or any other programs for your offence, it will likely show up in your NCCHC. Most of the offences in your Disclosable Court Outcomes come from the candidate's criminal record/history that the jurisdiction is "satisfied" for disclosure.

People mostly equate a DCO on a person's Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC), resulting in them failing their NCCHC Check.

Some of the records that form a DCO are;

  • All court sentencing for a criminal offence

A criminal conviction by any of the legal courts in Australia may mean a dent in your criminal history. The only time a court conviction may not lead to a record on your criminal record is when the court or the legislation issues specific mitigating programs for your offence.

The details of your court sentencing, including the penalties, bonds, and other court conditions, will appear on the result.

Some examples of offences where the court issues sentences include;

  • Traffic offences settled in court; your traffic violations and other misdemeanours are part of your criminal records when a court gives them. Generally, the court handles severe traffic offences that cannot be settled on infringements.

  • Robbery/stealing offences; regardless of whether they are handled as indictable offences or summary offences, will appear on the NCCHC result if the court finds you guilty. The Check result will even state if there was an aggravating circumstance in the offence.

  • Murder/manslaughter offences; the offence of taking another’s life is a grievous one, and if the offender ever comes out of imprisonment, this record will remain on their NCCHC result for life.

  • Rape/sexually related offences; most employers want to distance their brand from any form of negative PR, especially one for sexually related offences. For most assessments, a sexually related offence is a deal-breaker for the applicant.

  • Treason offences; offences against the government or the Crown are serious offences that usually remain on the NCCHC result for life. Most employers consider such records critically when assessing their candidates.

  • Other minor or summary offences; Any other minor offence where the court convicts you remain on your Nationally Criminal History Check. The offences/records on your NCCHC can either be severe or minor as long as the court issues a conviction.

  • Findings of guilt; Like a court sentencing, the court finds the person guilty but opts against giving a sentence for some reason. If the court grants you non-conviction sentencing, it is not an automatic escape from having a criminal record, it only means it will be a different record. Exceptions to a “guilty with no convictions recorded” offence recorded showing up on a police check may apply for convictions recorded (Vic). The court will issue non-conviction sentencing when it confirms the person is guilty of a charge, but not to the extent of getting a conviction.

  • Arrest warrants for a criminal offence

The court grants warrants from the Police or DPP if it considers it imperative. An arrest warrant for a criminal offence is an urgent and severe form of a warrant; it means the person's presence is paramount for a legal cause or potential danger to society.

  • Pending Criminal Charges

Most of a candidate’s pending convictions are included in their NCCHC results. If the jurisdiction considers such records are relevant, especially for the role or position the candidate is seeking, it will consist of it in their NCCHC.

Although not all the pending records are passed to the NCCHC result, it certainly does not mean the candidate has failed the result. Some employers even wait until the conclusion of the case to make their final assessment.

  • Good Behaviour Bonds

The period immediately after a conviction is the Good Behaviour Period of the applicant. The court can order some conditions to abide by this period instead of punishing them with a sentence. If the candidate completes this period, including the court conditions, the offence record will not appear on their criminal history.

However, their NCCHC result will contain their Bond (including offence) for the bond duration. Typically, bond durations usually last for between 2 to 5 years.

All these Disclosable Court Outcomes have formed the central part of the candidate's assessment in Australia. Employers and decision-makers are concerned about the DCO of the candidates and how it may impact their role, performance and PR of the organisations.

What does not show up in the Nationally Coordinated History Check?

Although the NCCHC is a check that is supposed to show how a candidate fairs per the Australian laws, not all violations are worthy of inclusion. However, it may not mean these non-releasable records will not come out in other background checks.

The records that are not part of the NCCHC result are not custom selected but precluded through the Disclosure policies of the State. By law, the NCCHC is only conducted for Australian records that a legal court issues. Therefore, offences that fall outside these categories are not included on the certificate.

  • Overseas conviction

A person who has resided abroad may have a conviction in their overseas profile, but even this does not show up in the NCCHC result. The concept of overseas convictions may be vast, but if an Australian court was never involved in the process (international crime/conviction), it does not appear on the check.

  • Diversionary Programs

The Magistrate may commit sentencing into a diversion program for some minor offences. However, the court can only grant a diversion program after considering all factors and concluding that the program is appropriate for the offence.

Not all minor offences are qualified for the diversion programs, but those never appear on the candidate's records.

  • Convictions issued by non-statutory agencies

The convictions/punishment issued by the various cultural, social or religious groups in Australia has nothing to do with the Australian Criminal database. Of course, such punishment must not be illegal or contradict Australian law and must fall within the scope of the agency.

The matter can only get to the candidate’s record if the agency charges the offender to court.

  • Matters not prosecuted by the Police

The Police or Department of Public prosecutions usually charges offenders and guilty parties before the court unless outside their jurisdiction. For example, civil matters do not constitute a criminal charge even if the court pronounces a party guilty;

  • A family feud,
  • Testament and issues relating to wills,
  • Political squabbles,
  • Property/infringement laws
  • And other civil matters between two parties settled in court that do not translate to a conviction record.

  • Non-finding of guilt

If the court finds you not guilty and acquits you of a charge, all records about that matter will be dropped and erased. It also means the candidate will not have any history on the database concerning such issues.

A criminal record can only appear on your NCCHC result if you have a court-issued conviction or finding of guilt. A non-finding of guilt means dismissing the matter and absolving the defendant from all future records or links with the charge.

Matters settled by infringements, tickets and other non-court actions

Not all violations lead to a court summon and punishments in Australia. "Every day" offences are settled on infringements. If a Police officer finds you guilty of a minor offence, it can issue a ticket, fine or other infringement against the offender. For example, if the Police apprehend a person speeding by less than 10km/h, it will fine the candidate per the Australian laws and Road Traffic Acts of the State or Territory in which the offence was committed.

Such fines must be appropriate with the offence the offender has committed. For example, the penalty for overspeeding (over 40km/h) varies from a person parked in a pedestrian way.

What are the common uses of a police check in Australia?

There is hardly a sector that does not require the NCCHC in Australia; it more than gives accurate information about the candidate's criminal background, but it also ensures authenticity.

Generally, the police check is used for;

Employment purposes;

It informs the employers and decision-makers more about their candidates and potential employees. Most businesses include it as an internal policy to reduce "certification-only bias" in the recruitments.

Licensing purposes;

One process to obtain some licenses is that you provide your NCCHC results as part of the requirements. It is hard to get, say, a firearm license, real estate license, liquor or other sensitive licenses without evaluating your NCCHC result.

Who can apply for the police check?

Candidates who need the police check can apply through the online portal of ANCC. It tends to be faster, more convenient, and takes less time to complete than any traditional means of application.

However, there are other available means of application like applying;

  • Via the AFP or the Local Police office,
  • The Post office.

Can Employers Do a police check?

Yes, even employers and other approved corporate agencies can initiate the police check process through a business portal of the ANCC. The Business Feature of the ANCC portal helps employers streamline the application process for their candidates NCCHC applications.

How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check online via Australian National Character Check’s 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’ police 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 police checks.

ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their background 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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