The NDIS Worker Screening Check is part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Many disability support workers operating under the NDIS must complete this background check. Its purpose is to:
- ensure providers don’t pose a risk to people with disability
- decrease risk of harm to vulnerable people, i.e. NDIS participants
- safeguard the rights of NDIS participants
- have only suitable and safe individuals employed in the disability sector.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check is a requirement for both NDIS providers and workers.
For providers, it ensures legal obligations are being met. It also helps them employ only suitable care workers who have passed necessary background checks.
For workers, it shows suitability of employment. It also gives peace of mind for both them and their potential employer.
The application process for the NDIS Worker Screening Check involves:
- completing an online application form
- providing proof of identity
- sharing details of relevant criminal history via a national police check
- submitting additional information or documentation, in some instances.
Once the application has been submitted, it’s reviewed by relevant authorities. This includes the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Worker Screening Unit.
If approved, the applicant receives a Worker Screening Clearance that’s valid for 5 years, unless surrendered or revoked.
Understanding the NDIS Worker Screening Check
The NDIS Worker Screening Check is an important component of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission framework. It helps ensure the safety and wellbeing of NDIS participants. Essentially, it aims to prevent unsuitable workers from entering the NDIS workforce.
The Screening Check is a process that assesses the background of individuals seeking to work with NDIS participants. It includes a range of checks and verifications, including:
- criminal history records
- employment history
- other relevant personal information.
The check applies to registered providers. It’s also for unregistered providers, if providing supports to a participant who requires they have it. Some volunteers and students need it too.
Secondary students doing formal work experience with an NDIS registered provider don’t necessarily need a clearance. This is usually the case if they are directly supervised by another worker with an:
- NDIS Worker Screening Clearance, or
- Acceptable check.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check also gives peace of mind. It helps NDIS participants and their families feel looked after. It gives confidence that the disability support workers providing their services are safe and trustworthy.
Worker Screening Units
NDIS Worker Screening Units in each state or territory conduct these checks. They are responsible for:
- assessing applications
- issuing clearance status
- maintaining a register of workers, containing details and status of workers with clearance.
This is useful as checks operate according to a national standard. Therefore, once approved, workers can provide services in any Australian state or territory.
Between 2018 and 2019, there was a transition period where worker checks weren’t essential. The specific date varies between states and territories.
From then until 31 January, 2021, transitional arrangements for disability Worker Screening Checks often took the form of Acceptable Checks.
Who Needs to Apply for the NDIS Worker Screening Check?
NDIS Worker Screening Checks are mandatory for certain types of workers and roles involved in the NDIS scheme. This includes:
Registered NDIS Providers
Registered providers who work in risk-assessed roles must do a Worker Screening Check for their employees and contractors. All workers in risk-assessed NDIS roles must have this NDIS check before they can provide services. This also applies to sole traders, self-employed workers and organisations listed as registered.
Types of risk assessed roles include:
- key personnel roles;
- when normal duties include the direct delivery of specified supports/services to people with disability; and
- when normal duties require more than incidental contact with participants, including:
- physical touch;
- building rapport with people with disability as an expected part of normal duties; or
- contact with multiple people with disability during the direct delivery of a specialist disability support or service, or in a specialist disability accommodation setting.
Volunteers who are:
a) in regular contact with people with disability
b) providing risk-assessed supports or services to a person with disability.
Worker Screening Clearance is not essential where:
- workers have only incidental contact with a participant;
- workers are not in a risk-assessed role;
- they are a secondary student doing formal work experience with an NDIS registered provider;
- they work for an unregistered provider and are not providing supports to a participant who requires they have the Check; or
- they work with self-managed participants.
According to Worker Screening Law, penalties apply to those who require checks but do not have them. Also, workers with a criminal record or charged with relevant offences cannot work under the NDIS scheme. This includes sexual offences and those involving violence.
Preparing for Your NDIS Worker Screening Check Application
Preparing for your NDIS Worker Screening Check application may feel overwhelming. However, this important process helps ensure the safety and wellbeing of NDIS participants.
Here’s how to prepare for your NDIS Worker Screening Check application, according to current requirements:
1. Determine if you need an NDIS Worker Screening Clearance
Check the list above, or consult the requirements in your state or territory. Remember, it’s mandatory for people working in certain NDIS roles.
2. Gather documentation and proof of identity
You will need to provide several documents as part of your application. These include:
- 2 proof of identity documents, including a photo identity card (passport or driver’s licence)
- Australian birth certificate, Australian passport, foreign passport linked to a valid Australian visa, Valid ImmiCard, Australian citizenship certificate, Medicare card, Australian driver licence, or a marriage certificate issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages
- relevant qualifications or certifications.
You must also verify your identity using your smartphone. This process checks your face against your photo documents.
The required documentation may differ slightly between states and territories.
3. Collect personal details
You will need to provide certain personal details, such as your:
- full name
- date of birth
- email address
- contact details
- employment history
- details about any criminal history, charges, or convictions.
4. Research the application fee
Some states or territories charge a fee for the NDIS Worker Screening Check application. Check the relevant authority in your area to determine if a fee applies and how to pay it.
5. Prepare to be patient
After you submit your application, you’ll need to be patient. Processing times vary, so check with the relevant authority in your area to determine how long it may take.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check Application Process
This step-by-step guide will help you apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check.
Step 1: Contact your local Worker Screening Unit
The following authorities are responsible for conducting NDIS checks:
- Australian Capital Territory: Access Canberra
- New South Wales: Office of the Children’s Guardian
- Northern Territory: NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services
- Queensland: Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
- South Australia: Department of Human Services
- Tasmania: Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
- Victoria: Department of Justice and Community Safety
- Western Australia: Department of Communities
Step 2: Create an account or profile
Some states need you to create an account or profile before you can apply for the screening check.
You need to follow instructions on the website to create an account or profile. You must provide personal details, such as your name, address, email, and phone number.
The Worker Screening Unit in your region can answer any questions..
Step 3: Complete the application form
Ensure information you input into the application form is accurate and complete.
You’ll need to provide personal details and information about your previous employment. This includes the name of your employer, job title, and start/end dates. You’ll also be asked about your criminal history.
Failing to provide accurate information may result in application delays.
Step 4: Submit documentation
Submit all the requested documents and identification to complete your application. This may include a copy of your:
- driver’s licence or passport
- birth certificate
- other documents required by the state or territory authority.
You may also need to provide a police clearance or criminal record check.
Step 5: Pay the application fee
There are costs involved with being an NDIS provider.
If necessary, pay the Worker Screening fee using the online payment system provided. There are multiple payment options available.
Step 6: Wait for application processing
How long does NDIS Clearance take? Each state has a different processing time for applications. Therefore, ask the NDIS Worker Screening Unit in your location about what to expect.
Most of the time, applications are processed within 12 weeks. Applications from workers that are missing information may take longer.
Receiving Your NDIS Worker Screening Check Results
Your NDIS Worker Screening Check results will be labelled Clearance or Exclusion.
This means you passed the screening check and are deemed safe to work with NDIS participants.
In this instance, a portable Certificate of Clearance will be issued. It includes your name, date of birth, and NDIS Worker Screening ID.
Clearance is valid for 5 years in all Australian states and territories, unless surrendered or revoked. This means it’s unnecessary to do another NDIS Worker Screening Check if you change locations or NDIS providers.
Prior to expiry, you must have a new screening check to continue working in NDIS roles. This ensures a consistent approach to your work in the long term.
This means you may pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of NDIS participants. For this reason, you are prohibited from working in NDIS-related roles.
Results from the worker check clearance are added to the national Worker Screening Database.
Renewing or Updating Your NDIS Worker Screening Check
An NDIS Worker Screening Check is valid for 5 years. If your Clearance is close to expiring, you’ll receive a notification that it’s time to renew. If your details have changed, the onus is on you to update your information.
Renewing Your Clearance
Submit a new application to the Worker Screening Unit in your state or territory.
You’ll need to (again) provide personal details, contact information, and relevant documents. A risk assessment will decide whether you pose harm to people with disability.
You will be notified of the outcome, i.e. whether you maintain Clearance status.
Updating Your Clearance
The Workers Screening Act states you must update any changes to your details within 3 months. This is part of the ongoing monitoring that occurs within the NDIS clearance system.
Using the applicant portal, you can login and update changes to your:
- residential address
- contact details (email and phone number)
- criminal record
- relevant convictions.
If you’re unsure if you need to update your Clearance, check with your employer or screening unit. They’ll explain when you need to update your Clearance and what information you need to provide.
After you update, the screening unit in your area will (again) make informed decisions about your suitability for Clearance.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check is an essential part of the NDIS system. It assesses risk factors for disability employers and workers via a rigorous checks system.
Not all NDIS workers need to complete a check clearance application. However, it is mandatory for registered NDIS providers who work in risk-assessed roles. These workers must receive valid clearance – and maintain it – to care for people with disability.
Always stay informed and diligent in maintaining NDIS Worker Screening Check Clearance. Stay abreast of NDIS Commission changes and follow update processes as needed.
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