It is typical for volunteers to undergo mandatory screening before starting a role to assess their suitability. This is especially true when volunteers work with what are referred to as ‘vulnerable populations’. Vulnerable populations refer to children, the elderly, at-risk persons and people with disabilities. These background screenings are essential to ensure the safety of Australia’s vulnerable populations.
Police checks disclose both pending charges and finalised court outcomes of the individual undergoing the police check. This information is pulled from Australian police databases and will be sourced from all states and territories. Although the entire criminal history will be made available, please note that if an individual has past criminal behaviour that falls under the spent convictions scheme certain past convictions will not be shown. The spent convictions scheme annuls a past conviction in the event that the individual has no further offences after 10 years.
Not all volunteer roles may require a police check. This is required at each state, territory and organisation’s direct discretion. Typically, for any organisation dealing with vulnerable populations, it is essential that each prospective volunteer undergoes a police check. The advertisement for a volunteer position will usually state that a background screening is required. Some types of volunteer work that may require a police check are as follows: aged care, child care, driving, finance work, public health and teaching – to name a few.
While volunteer police checks and employee police checks will have the same information, the prices will vary. Volunteer background checks will always be discounted. Many organisations will also pay for their volunteers’ police checks for them. Be sure to ask your contact at the organisation if they cover the cost of the police check or if they expect you to.
The discounted price for volunteers varies from state to state and between organisations. South Australia, for example, provides free police checks for volunteers working with vulnerable populations as long as the organisation has a Volunteer Organisation Authorisation Number.
National police checks are known as ‘point-in-time’ checks, meaning they are considered valid as of the date printed on them. While they have no set expiry, the general rule of thumb is that you should have a police check that is less than three months old.
As stated above, some volunteer organisations pay for their volunteer’s police checks. This is a sign of good faith that can make more volunteers feel valued and want to work with an organisation. If you are an organisation that wants to pay for volunteer police checks, CrimCheck specialises in police checks for organisations and can process multiple police checks seamlessly.
Just need a police check for yourself? No problem, CrimCheck also offers our National Criminal History Check service to individuals looking to volunteer or take paid employment. We can do everything online and over the phone, so you don’t have to worry about mailing documents or dropping them into an office.
Each state and territory have different requirements for volunteer police checks. But all states and territories require those working in government-funded aged care to have a police check.
Any volunteers coming into contact with children in Victoria must get a Working With Children check. This check is valid for five years.
In NSW, volunteers are required to get a police check when working within the aged care field. However, a Working With Children Check is not necessary. Instead, volunteers who work with children must sign a ‘Prohibited Employment Declaration’ form that the employer provides.
Volunteers in Queensland coming into contact with children must also get a Working With Children check known as a Blue Card. The Blue Card is valid for two years and requires a police check as well as disclosure of disciplinary information held by any professional organisations.
In South Australia, aged care and child-related volunteer work requires mandatory police checks. It is the responsibility of the employer, and free volunteer police checks are available to organisations with a Volunteer Organisation Authorisation Number,
Working With Children checks are mandatory for child-related volunteer work in Western Australia. If a volunteer requires a police check and a Working With Children Check, the police check will be free if the evidence is shown of a Working With Children application.
In the Northern Territory, police checks are mandatory for volunteers working within the aged care field. Working With Children Clearance Notices and an ‘Ochre Card’ are now compulsory for those coming into contact with children.
Volunteers in Tasmania are not legally required to obtain any kind of background check. But organisations have their own policies regarding the hiring process.
Volunteers in the ACT are not legally required to complete police checks or Working With Children checks. However, most organisations do request them to ensure they hire ‘fit and proper’ individuals.
"I have been using CrimCheck for some years now and I have had nothing but great service from the system and staff. I would recommend CrimCheck to anyone wanting an efficient, user-friendly service."
Andrea, St. Luke's Anglicare