See the FAQs below for further information:

You can also refer to the DCSI Screening Unit FAQs

 


 

FAQs for prospective employees

Q1: What is 'child-related employment screening'?

A: Child protection laws in South Australia make it mandatory for certain organisations (including universities) to ensure particular employees and volunteers have met specific screening requirements. A child-related employment screening is a combined process of background (criminal history) checking, risk assessment and decision-making with regard to a person’s relevant history in relation to the risk they would pose to children if employed (or volunteering) in a prescribed position.

Q2: What does 'prescribed position' mean?

A: A prescribed position (according to the Children's Protection Act 1993, section 8B (8) is:

  1. A position that requires or involves the performance of 1 or more prescribed functions; or
  2. A position, or a position of a class, in a government organisation designated by the responsible authority for the government organisation as a prescribed position for the purposes of this section

See also Prescribed Position flow chart

Q3: What does 'prescribed' function mean?

A: ‘prescribed function’ (according to the Children's Protection Act 1993, section 8B (8) means:

  1. regular contact with children or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis, unless the contact or work is supervised at all times; or
  2. supervision or management of persons in positions requiring or involving regular contact with children or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or
  3. access to records of a kind prescribed by regulations relating to children; or
  4. functions of a type prescribed by regulation.
See also Prescribed Position flow chart

 

Q4: What does relevant history mean?

A: Relevant history means the information that is released as part of a national criminal history record check, following a request for child-related employment screening. Where an assessment of relevant history is conducted by a screening unit, this also includes information relating to findings of guilt and charges, expanded information obtained through the Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working With Children Intergovernmental Agreement and information held by Government agencies (such as child protection information, and outcomes of disciplinary matters and special investigations conducted by some government departments).

Q5: What if I refuse to undergo a screening?

A: If you have any concerns about the requirement to undergo screening, these should be discussed with the Chair of the Selection Committee. Undertaking screening is an inherent requirement of role and forms part of your acceptance of the terms and conditions of employment with Flinders University.

Q6: What type of clearance is required for staff in a prescribed position?

A: A child-related employment screening via the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit.

Q7: I already hold a current National Police Certificate. Will this suffice?

A: No, a child-related employment screening by DCSI unit (the University’s preferred route for obtaining history checks) is required for staff appointed to prescribed positions. Such screening involves a wider scope of information, as well as a risk assessment specifically focused on the applicant’s risk of harm to children in a workplace or volunteer environment. A National Police Certificate is simply a record of a person’s disclosable criminal conviction history, therefore a child- related employment screening is still required.

Q8: How long does a clearance last for?

A: Usually 3 years. The DCSI will not usually issue a new clearance unless the screening is within 6 months of renewal.

Q9: I work in an area where I need another form of screening. Do I also need to obtain a child-related employment screening?

A: Your Position Description and/or Letter of Offer will detail the employment screening(s) that you are required to obtain. The Position Description and/or Letter of Offer will clearly indicate if you are working in a position that is deemed prescribed. If you have been offered a prescribed position then you will be required to obtain a child-related employment screening, as it specifically determines whether a person may pose a risk to the safety of children (in the University’s case students under the age of 18) if appointed to or engaged to act in a ‘prescribed position’.

Q10: What does mandatory notification/mandated notifier mean?

A: Under Section 11 of the Children's Protection Act 1993, “any person who is an employee of, or volunteer in, a government or non-government organisations that provides health, welfare, education, sporting or recreational, child care or residential services wholly or partly for children, being a person who:

  1. Is engaged in the actual delivery of those services to children.
  2. Holds a management position in the relevant organisation the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of those services to children.

is also obliged by law to notify the Child Abuse Report Line (13 14 78) if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person has been or is being abused and/or neglected and the suspicion is formed in the course of the person’s work (whether paid or voluntary) or in carrying out official duties.

Q11: Are staff members of the University in prescribed positions also mandatory notifiers?

A: Yes.

Q12: As a mandatory notifier, do I have to undergo mandatory notification training?

A: There is no legal requirement to undertake the mandatory notification course as offered by Families SA, however mandatory notifiers have a legal obligation to personally report suspected abuse or neglect to the Child Abuse Report Line (13 14 78).

Q13: What are my obligations as a mandatory notifier?

A: Mandatory notifier obligations are outlined here.

In addition to your legal obligations as a mandatory notifier, as a University employee you are also required to report your suspicions to the Director, People and Culture, if they relate to a staff member or student of the University.

Q14: Who pays for screening?

A: The preferred candidate pays for the screening.

Q15: Will I be reimbursed for the cost of the screening?

A: The University will not reimburse you for the cost of your screening application.

Q16: I am a prospective employee and the position I am applying for is prescribed. If I am successful in the position will I be able to salary sacrifice the cost of obtaining the screen clearance?

A: No, taxation rules do not allow prospective employees requiring the clearance to salary sacrifice the cost of obtaining the screening clearance.

Q17: Who carries out the screening?

A: The University submits screening applications to the DCSI Screening Unit. If you are a preferred candidate for a role, once you have sent your acceptance of offer documentation back to HR Client Services, an application will be initiated online by your local HR Adviser following which you will be sent activation and log in details directly from the DCSI to complete your application. Further details on how to apply.

Q18: How long will the screening take to be processed?

A: Processing times for clearances using the DCSI online process may be under a week. However, if the screening unit obtains information that requires further assessment, this will considerably add to the time taken. Turnaround time may also be impacted by the time of the year. For example, traditionally DCSI’s busiest time of year is between January and April.

Q19: What do I do when I receive my screening clearance?

A: Keep this certificate safe, this belongs to you and you may need this documentation in the future. HR Client Services will retain the notification of clearance that is provided to it by the DCSI Screening Unit. If you have a clearance that was not initiated by HR Client Services, please bring it to HR for inclusion on your staff file.

Q20: What if I already have a child-related employment screening  clearance?

A: If you already have a clearance, for example:

  • a letter of clearance obtained within the last three years may be acceptable if it is current with at least 6 months’ validity until it is due for renewal;
  • a current teacher registration (which includes screening as part of the registration process);

please bring the clearance or registration (certified copy or original) to Human Resources for noting on your staff file. Please note that this is subject to there having been no changes to your relevant history since the screening was conducted.

Q21: If I have not received my clearance prior to my commencement date, can I still commence employment with the University on that date?

A: If you have not received your clearance prior to starting with the University you may be able to commence employment, subject to the nature of the role. Where employment is able to commence, you cannot however carry out any prescribed functions (unless directly supervised at all times) until you receive your clearance. Obtaining your clearance forms part of your terms and conditions of employment and is a condition of your probation.

Q22: How will my screening clearance information be stored?

A: The record of clearance (as issued by the DCSI to the University or provided by you) will be held on your personal file and date of issue and renewal will be input on the HR system for compliance reporting, monitoring and renewal purposes.

Q23: What happens if my screening comes back with further information on it and how will the University handle this?

A: Where matters are identified by the screening process, these will be assessed in accordance with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, by trained and experienced DCSI staff in strict confidence and in accordance with legislative requirements and standards. Where the information obtained suggests that there are matters of concern that could impact on the screening outcome, applicants (i.e. prospective or new employees) are provided with an opportunity to provide further information.  Screening Unit staff may deal directly with applicants and the requesting organisation (i.e. the University) to clarify and/or confirm details when required.

Where appropriate, the Screening Unit will consult with the University (with authorised officers as nominated by the University – Mr Steve Barrett, Director, People and Culture and/or Mr Steve Waltham, Associate Director, HR Client Services) before any final recommendation is made in relation to a screening outcome. The final decision as to whether or not an applicant is suitable rests with the requesting organisation. Any such decision taken by the University must be: subject to the principles of natural justice as set out in the Child Safe Environment Procedures (and therefore consistent with the Act); and consistent with the relevant industrial instrument.


 

FAQs for supervisors and managers

Q1: What is 'child-related employment screening'?

A: Child protection laws in South Australia make it mandatory for certain organisations (including universities) to ensure particular employees and volunteers have met specific screening requirements. A child-related employment screening is a combined process of background (criminal history) checking, risk assessment and decision-making with regard to a person’s relevant history in relation to the risk they would pose to children if employed (or volunteering) in a prescribed position.

Q2: My staff members have never had to have a child-related employment screening before. Why do they need to go through this process now?

A: The Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA) (the Act) determines that any person carrying out a ‘prescribed position’ is required to have a child-related employment screening to ensure that any children are safe from harm. This requirement arises from Section 8B of the Act, which applies inter alia to organisations that provide education services (including universities). Notwithstanding this, the Children’s Protection Regulations contain an exemption from the application of Section 8B for,

“... a person who undertakes, or a position that only involves, work that is not for the exclusive benefit of children and is not provided to any child on an individual basis.”

For many years this has been assumed to have wide application in universities. In this context, the University has ensured that the requirements of the Act were implemented, for staff in external engagement roles that involve prescribed functions and where external organisations required University staff to have clearances. The requirements of the Act have also long been implemented in the context of student placement requirements. However, upon recently seeking clarification about the exemption, the South Australian universities received advice from the Minister that the exemption can only be applied if no child received a service on an individual basis. This set a much wider scope for identifying positions in the University as prescribed.

Q3: What does 'prescribed position' mean?

A: A prescribed position (according to the Children's Protection Act 1993, section 8B (8) is:

  1. A position that requires or involves the performance of 1 or more prescribed functions; or
  2. A position, or a position of a class, in a government organisation designated by the responsible authority for the government organisation as a prescribed position for the purposes of this section

See also Prescribed Position flow chart

Q4: What does 'prescribed' function mean?

A: ‘prescribed function’ (according to the Children's Protection Act 1993, section 8B (8) means:

  1. regular contact with children or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis, unless the contact or work is supervised at all times; or
  2. supervision or management of persons in positions requiring or involving regular contact with children or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or
  3. access to records of a kind prescribed by regulations relating to children; or
  4. functions of a type prescribed by regulation.
See also Prescribed Position flow chart

 

Q5: What does relevant history mean?

A: Relevant history means the information that is released as part of a national criminal history record check, following a request for child-related employment screening. Where an assessment of relevant history is conducted by a screening unit, this also includes information relating to findings of guilt and charges, expanded information obtained through the Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working With Children Intergovernmental Agreement and information held by Government agencies (such as child protection information, and outcomes of disciplinary matters and special investigations conducted by some government departments).

Q6: How do I know if the position I am recruiting for is a prescribed position?

A: Follow the Prescribed Positon Flowchart in the Child Safe Environment Policy to assist you in conducting an initial audit. If you are still in doubt you can seek further advice from your HR Adviser/Senior HR Adviser or by emailing employment.screening@flinders.edu.au

Q7: What if my staff member refuses to carry out a screening?

A: If s/he is in a position that has been deemed ‘prescribed’, it is a legal requirement that the University receive clearance for people who work in prescribed positions. The University’s preferred route of obtaining a current child-related employment screening is via the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit in South Australia.

Q8: One of my staff member's positions has been deemed as prescribed however s/he disagrees with this. What do I do?

A: Refer to the Prescribed Position Flowchart in relation to the duties that staff member is carrying out. If you are unsure following further review whether the position should be deemed prescribed, you can seek further advice from your HR Adviser/Senior HR Adviser or by emailing employment.screening@flinders.edu.au

Q9: What type of clearance is required for staff in a prescribed position?

A: A child-related employment screening via the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit.

Q10: My staff member already holds a current National Police Certificate. Will this suffice?

A: No, a child-related employment screening by DCSI unit (the University’s preferred route for obtaining history checks) is required for staff appointed to prescribed positions. Such screening involves a wider scope of information, as well as a risk assessment specifically focused on the applicant’s risk of harm to children in a workplace or volunteer environment. A National Police Certificate is simply a record of a person’s disclosable criminal conviction history, therefore a child-related employment screening is still required.

Q11: What if my staff member already has a child-related employment screening clearance?

A: If your staff member already has a clearance, for example:

  • a letter of clearance obtained within the last three years may be acceptable if it is current with at least 6 months’ validity until it is due for renewal;
  • a current teacher registration (which includes screening as part of the registration process);

please advise your staff member to bring their clearance or registration (certified copy or original) to Human Resources for noting on your staff file. Please note that this is subject to there having been no changes to their relevant history since the screening was conducted.

Q12: How long does a clearance last for?

A: Usually 3 years. The DCSI will not usually issue a new clearance unless the screening is within 6 months of renewal.

Q13: I supervise an area where another form of screening is also required. Do my staff members also have to apply for a child-related employment screening?

A: If your staff are working in positions that are deemed prescribed then yes they will be required to obtain a child-related employment screening as it specifically determines whether a person may pose a risk to the safety of children (in the University’s case students under the age of 18) if appointed to or engaged to act in a ‘prescribed position’.

Q14: I do not perform any of the prescribed duties myself, but some of my direct reports are in prescribed positions. I understand that I need to obtain a clearance. Is this correct?

A: Yes – you will need to go through the same process as your staff to obtain a clearance to work with children.

Q15: What does mandatory notification/mandated notifier mean?

A: Under Section 11 of the Children's Protection Act 1993, “any person who is an employee of, or volunteer in, a government or non-government organisations that provides health, welfare, education, sporting or recreational, child care or residential services wholly or partly for children, being a person who:

  1. Is engaged in the actual delivery of those services to children.
  2. Holds a management position in the relevant organisation the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of those services to children.

is also obliged by law to notify the Child Abuse Report Line (13 14 78) if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person has been or is being abused and/or neglected and the suspicion is formed in the course of the person’s work (whether paid or voluntary) or in carrying out official duties.

Q16: Are staff members of the University in prescribed positions also mandatory notifiers?

A: Yes.

Q17: Do staff members who are mandatory notifiers have to undergo mandatory notification training?

A: There is no legal requirement to undertake the mandatory notification course as offered by Families SA, however mandatory notifiers have a legal obligation to personally report suspected abuse or neglect to the Child Abuse Report Line (13 14 78).

Q18: What are our obligations as mandatory notifiers?

A: Mandatory notifier obligations are outlined here.

In addition to your legal obligations as a mandatory notifier, as a University employee you are also required to report your suspicions to the Director, People and Culture, if they relate to a staff member or student of the University.

Q19: What if a staff member approaches me with their suspicions regarding another staff member or student. What do I do?

A: Advise the staff member to contact the Director of People and Culture with his/her concerns

Q20: Pre-employment screening - If a staff member has not received their clearance prior to commencing employment can they still start in the position?

A: The preferred candidate may be able to commence employment prior to receiving screening, subject to the nature of the role. Where employment is able to commence, s/he must not meet with students on an individual basis without supervision until satisfactory clearance has been received.

Q21: Who is responsible for monitoring the staff member to ensure they do not have contact with any student on an individual basis?

A: As the staff member’s supervisor you are responsible for monitoring this and ensuring that the staff member has no individual contact with students during this period.

Q22: Who is responsible for ensuring the employee applies and obtains their clearance and what system will be in place for monitoring this?

A: Staff members in prescribed positions are responsible for obtaining their clearances as a condition of their employment with the University. The application for screening will be initiated by HR Client Services, following which staff members will be responsible for activating and completing their application within 72 hours of receipt of the activation email.

As a staff member’s supervisor, you are also responsible for ensuring the staff member has obtained their screening clearance, as part of her/his meeting the University’s requirements. The HR System is enabled to provide reporting on compliance with the requirement for screening. HR will partner with managers to follow up on instances of non-compliance.

Q23: Who pays for screening?

A: For the initial implementation phase of screening for existing staff (in continuing and fixed term appointments) the University will pay the cost of the initial screening application if the staff member is now required to obtain a child-related employment screening because it has been deemed that s/he occupies a prescribed position. Thereafter the cost of any renewal will be the responsibility of the staff member.

For prospective employees, the preferred candidate will bear the cost of the screening.

Q24: Will the preferred candidate be reimbursed for the cost of the screening?

A: The University will not reimburse the preferred candidate for the cost of her/his screening application.

Q25: Will the staff member be able to salary sacrifice the cost of the child-related employment screening and other screenings?

A: In accordance with taxation rulings, a staff member (continuing or fixed term appointments only) will be able to salary sacrifice cost of the screening if s/he is required to obtain a screening or screening renewal in relation to her/his current position.

The staff member will not be able to salary sacrifice the cost of the screening if:

  • s/he obtains a new position in the University that requires her/him to obtain a child- related employment screening
  • the screening is now required as a result of gaining a promotion.

Q26: If a prospective employee is successful in gaining a prescribed position in the University, will s/he be able to salary sacrifice the cost of obtaining the screening clearance?

A: No, prospective employees requiring the clearance will not be able to salary sacrifice the cost of obtaining the screening clearance, in accordance with taxation rulings.

Q27: Will casual members of staff be required to have a child-related employment screening?

A: Casual members of staff will only be required to obtain a child-related employment screening

  • if their role/duties in the University involve prescribed functions such as:
    • working in regular contact with students or working in close proximity to students on a regular basis - unless the contact or work is supervised at all times; or
    • supervision or management or persons in positions requiring or involving regular contact with students or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or
    • working with student on an individual basis; or
    • access to records of a kind prescribed by regulations relating to children.
  • the role/duties do not meet the criteria for an exemption.

See also Prescribed Position flow chart

Q28: Will academic status holders be required to have a child-related employment screening?

A: Academic Status holders will only be required to obtain a child-related employment screening:

  • if their activities with the University involve:
    1. working in regular contact with students or working in close proximity to students on a regular basis - unless the contact or work is supervised at all times; or
    2. supervision or management or persons in positions requiring or involving regular contact with students or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or
    3. working with student on an individual basis; or
    4. access to records of a kind prescribed by regulations relating to children
  • the activities do not meet the criteria for an exemption.

See also Prescribed Position flow chart

Q29: Will visiting scholars be required to have a child-related employment screening?

A: The same considerations apply as for academic status holders.

Q30: Who carries out the screening?

A: The University submits screening applications to the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit. For preferred candidates for a new role, once s/he has sent her/his acceptance of offer documentation back to HR Client Services, an application will be initiated online by your local HR Adviser, following which the preferred candidate will be sent activation and log in details directly from the DCSI to complete her/his application for screening.

Q31: How long will the screening take to be processed?

A: Processing times for clearances using the DCSI online process may be under a week. However, if the screening unit obtains information that requires further assessment, this will considerably add to the time taken. Turnaround time may also be impacted by the time of the year. For example, traditionally DCSI’s busiest time of year is between January and April.

Q32: What should the staff member do when s/he receives her/his screening clearance?

A: S/he should keep this certificate safe, this belongs to the staff member and s/he may need this documentation in the future. HR Client Services will retain the notification of clearance that is provided to it by the DCSI Screening Unit.

Q33: What if a preferred candidate or staff member already has a clearance

A: If a preferred candidate or staff member already has a clearance, for example:

  • a letter of clearance obtained within the last three years may be acceptable if it is current with at least 6 months’ validity until it is due for renewal;
  • persons with a current teacher registration do not need to undertake this screening as it is included as part of the registration process;

noting that this is subject to there having been no changes to the person’s relevant history since the screening was conducted. Evidence of the clearance or registration will be required by Human Resources for noting on the person’s staff file.

Q34: How will the screening clearance information be stored?

A: The record of clearance (as issued by the DCSI to the University or provided by the staff member) will be held on the staff member's personal file and date of issue and renewal will be input on the HR system for compliance reporting, monitoring and renewal purposes.

Q35: What happens if a screening comes back with further information on it and how will the University handle this?

A: Where matters are identified by the screening process, these will be assessed in accordance with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, by trained and experienced DCSI staff in strict confidence and in accordance with legislative requirements and standards. Where the information obtained suggests that there are matters of concern that could impact on the screening outcome, applicants are provided with an opportunity to provide further information.  Screening Unit staff may deal directly with applicants (i.e. prospective/new/existing staff) and the requesting organisation (i.e. the University) to clarify and/or confirm details when required.

Where appropriate, the Screening Unit will consult with the University (with authorised officers as nominated by the University – Mr Steve Barrett, Director, People and Culture and/or Mr Steve Waltham, Associate Director, HR Client Services) before any final recommendation is made in relation to a screening outcome. The final decision as to whether or not an applicant is suitable rests with the requesting organisation.  Any such decision taken by the University must be: subject to the principles of natural justice as set out in the Child Safe Environment Procedures (and therefore consistent with the Act); and consistent with the relevant industrial instrument.

The University will retain the information it receives from the screening unit, under confidential arrangements, until a decision is made regarding whether the person poses a risk to children, following which the criminal history information will be destroyed. This will normally occur within 3 months.

 


 

FAQs for existing employees

Q1: What is 'child-related employment screening'?

A: Child protection laws in South Australia make it mandatory for certain organisations (including universities) to ensure particular employees and volunteers have met specific screening requirements. A child-related employment screening is a combined process of background (criminal history) checking, risk assessment and decision-making with regard to a person’s relevant history in relation to the risk they would pose to children if employed (or volunteering) in a prescribed position.

Q2: I've never had to have a child-related employment screening before. Why do I need to go through this process now?

A: The Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA) (the Act) determines that any person carrying out a ‘prescribed position’ is required to have a child-related employment screening to ensure that any children are safe from harm. This requirement arises from Section 8B of the Act, which applies inter alia to organisations that provide education services (including universities). Notwithstanding this, the Children’s Protection Regulations contain an exemption from the application of Section 8B for,

“… a person who undertakes, or a position that only involves, work that is not for the exclusive benefit of children and is not provided to any child on an individual basis.”

For many years this has been assumed to have wide application in universities.

In this context, the University has ensured that the requirements of the Act were implemented, for staff in external engagement roles that involve prescribed functions and where external organisations required University staff to have clearances. The requirements of the Act have also long been implemented in the context of student placement requirements.

However, upon recently seeking clarification about the exemption, the South Australian universities received advice from the Minister that the exemption can only be applied if no child received a service on an individual basis. This set a much wider scope for identifying positions in the University as prescribed.

Q3: What does 'prescribed position' mean?

A: A prescribed position (according to the Children's Protection Act 1993, section 8B (8) is:

  1. A position that requires or involves the performance of 1 or more prescribed functions; or
  2. A position, or a position of a class, in a government organisation designated by the responsible authority for the government organisation as a prescribed position for the purposes of this section

See also Prescribed Position flow chart

Q4: What does 'prescribed' function mean?

A: ‘prescribed function’ (according to the Children's Protection Act 1993, section 8B (8) means:

  1. regular contact with children or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis, unless the contact or work is supervised at all times; or
  2. supervision or management of persons in positions requiring or involving regular contact with children or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or
  3. access to records of a kind prescribed by regulations relating to children; or
  4. functions of a type prescribed by regulation.

See also Prescribed Position flow chart

Q5: I have more than one position in the University. Do I need the clearance for all positions?

A: Not all positions in the University are prescribed. You can check the status of your position by accessing the prescribed position checker. Even if all positions you occupy are prescribed, you will only need to obtain one child-related employment screening which will be recorded on your file and the HR system once you have received this.

Q6: What does relevant history mean?

A: Relevant history means the information that is released as part of a national criminal history record check, following a request for child-related employment screening. Where an assessment of relevant history is conducted by a screening unit, this also includes information relating to findings of guilt and charges, expanded information obtained through the Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working With Children Intergovernmental Agreement and information held by Government agencies (such as child protection information, and outcomes of disciplinary matters and special investigations conducted by some government departments).

Q7: What if I refuse to undergo a screening?

A: If you have any concerns about the requirement to undergo screening, these should be discussed with your supervisor in the first instance. If you are in a position that has been deemed ‘prescribed’, the University must require you to undergo screening in accordance with the Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA). It is a legal requirement that the University receive clearance for people who work in prescribed positions, to work with children. The University’s preferred route of obtaining a current child-related employment screening is via the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit in South Australia.

Q8: My position has been deemed prescribed. However I disagree with this. What do I do?

A: If you believe your position is not a prescribed position firstly discuss this in more detail with your supervisor including the reasons why you do not think your position meets the criteria for a ‘prescribed position’. Your supervisor can seek further advice from your HR Adviser/Senior HR Adviser or by emailing employment.screening@flinders.edu.au

Q9: What type of clearance is required for staff in a prescribed position?

A: A child-related employment screening via the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Screening Unit.

Q10: I already hold a current National Police Certificate. Will this suffice?

A: No, a child-related employment screening by DCSI unit (the University’s preferred route for obtaining history checks) involves a risk assessment specifically focused on the applicant’s risk of harm to children in a workplace or volunteer environment. A National Police Certificate is simply a record of a person’s disclosable criminal conviction history, therefore a child-related employment screening is still required.

Q11: What if I already have a child-related employment screening clearance?

A: If you already have a clearance, for example:

  • a letter of clearance obtained within the last three years may be acceptable if it is current with at least 6 months’ validity until it is due for renewal;
  • a current teacher registration (which includes screening as part of the registration process);

please bring the clearance or registration (certified copy or original) to Human Resources for noting on your staff file. Please note that this is subject to there having been no changes to your relevant history since the screening was conducted.

Q12: How long does a clearance last for?

A: Usually 3 years. The DCSI will not usually issue a new clearance unless the screening is within 6 months of renewal.

Q13: I work in an area where I also need another form of screening. Do I also have to apply for a child-related employment screening?

A: If you are working in a position that is deemed as prescribed then yes you will be required to obtain a child-related employment screening as it specifically determines whether a person may pose a risk to the safety of children (in the University’s case students under the age of 18) if appointed to or engaged to act in a ‘prescribed position’.

Q14: What does mandatory notification/mandated notifier mean?

A: Under Section 11 of the Children's Protection Act 1993, “any person who is an employee of, or volunteer in, a government or non-government organisations that provides health, welfare, education, sporting or recreational, child care or residential services wholly or partly for children, being a person who:

  1. Is engaged in the actual delivery of those services to children.
  2. Holds a management position in the relevant organisation the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of those services to children.

is also obliged by law to notify the Child Abuse Report Line (13 14 78) if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person has been or is being abused and/or neglected and the suspicion is formed in the course of the person’s work (whether paid or voluntary) or in carrying out official duties.

Q15: Are staff members of the University in prescribed positions also mandatory notifiers?

A: Yes.

Q16: Do staff members who are mandatory notifiers have to undergo mandatory notification training?

A: There is no legal requirement to undertake the mandatory notification course as offered by Families SA, however mandatory notifiers have a legal obligation to personally report suspected abuse or neglect to the Child Abuse Report Line (13 14 78).

Q17: What are my obligations as a mandatory notifier?

A: Mandatory notifier obligations are outlined here.

In addition to your legal obligations as a mandatory notifier, as a University employee you are also required to report your suspicions to the Director, People and Culture, if they relate to a staff member or student of the University.

Q18: What if a staff member approaches me with their suspicions regarding another staff member or student. What do I do?

A: Advise the staff member to contact the Director of People and Culture with his/her concerns.

Q19: Who pays for screening?

A: If you are an existing staff member (on a continuing or fixed-term contract) who is now required to obtain a child-related employment screening as a new requirement of your position, the University will pay for the cost of the initial screening thereafter the cost of any renewal will be the responsibility of the staff member.

Q20: Will I be reimbursed for the cost of my renewal screening?

A: No, the University will not reimburse you for the cost of your renewal screening application.

Q21: Will I be able to salary sacrifice the cost of the child-related employment screening and other screenings?

A: In accordance with taxation rulings, if you are on a continuing or fixed term appointments only, you will be able to salary sacrifice cost of the screening if you are required to obtain a screening or screening renewal in relation to your current position.

You will not be able to salary sacrifice the cost of the screening if:

  • you obtain a new position in the University that requires you to obtain a child-related employment screening
  • the screening is now required as a result of gaining a promotion.

Q22: I am a casual member of staff, am I required to have a child-related employment screening?

A: Casual members of staff will only be required to obtain a child-related employment screening:

  • if their role/duties in the University involve prescribed functions such as:         
    1. working in regular contact with students or working in close proximity to students on a regular basis - unless the contact or work is supervised at all times; or
    2. supervision or management or persons in positions requiring or involving regular contact with students or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or
    3. working with student on an individual basis; or
    4. access to records of a kind prescribed by regulations relating to children
  • the role/duties do not meet the criteria for an exemption.

See Prescribed Position flow chart

Q23: I am an Academic Status holder. Am I required to have a child-related employment screening?

A: Academic Status holders will only be required to obtain a child-related employment screening:

  • if their activities with the University involve:
    1. working in regular contact with students or working in close proximity to students on a regular basis - unless the contact or work is supervised at all times; or
    2. supervision or management or persons in positions requiring or involving regular contact with students or working in close proximity to children on a regular basis; or
    3. working with student on an individual basis; or
    4. access to records of a kind prescribed by regulations relating to children
  • the activities do not meet the criteria for an exemption.

See Prescribed Position flow chart

Q24: I am a visiting scholar. Am I required to have a child-related employment screening?

A: The same considerations apply as for Academic Status holders.

Q25: Who carries out the screening?

A: The University submits screening applications to the DCSI Screening Unit. Once your application has been initiated by HR you will receive activation and log in details directly from the DCSI to complete your application. View further details on how to complete your application.

Q26: How long will the screening take to be processed?

A: Processing times for clearances using the DCSI online process may be under a week. However, if the screening unit obtains information that requires further assessment, this will considerably add to the time taken. Turnaround time may also be impacted by the time of the year. For example, traditionally DCSI’s busiest time of year is between January and April.

Q27: What do I do when I receive my screening clearance?

A: Keep this certificate safe, this belongs to you and you may need this documentation in the future. HR Client Services will retain the notification of clearance that is provided to it by the DCSI Screening Unit. If you have a clearance that was not initiated by HR Client Services, please bring it to HR for inclusion on your staff file.

Q28: How will my screening clearance information be stored?

A: The record of clearance (as issued by the DCSI to the University or provided by you) will be held on your personal file and date of issue and renewal will be input on the HR system for compliance reporting, monitoring and renewal purposes.

Q29: What happens if a screening comes back with further information on it and how will the University handle this?

A: Where matters are identified by the screening process, these will be assessed in accordance with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, by trained and experienced DCSI staff in strict confidence and in accordance with legislative requirements and standards. Where the information obtained suggests that there are matters of concern that could impact on the screening outcome, applicants (i.e. the staff member seeking screening) are provided with an opportunity to provide further information. Screening Unit staff may deal directly with applicants and the requesting organisation (i.e. the University) to clarify and/or confirm details when required.

Where appropriate, the Screening Unit will consult with the University (with authorised officers as nominated by the University – Mr Steve Barrett, Director, People and Culture and/or Mr Steve Waltham, Associate Director, HR Client Services) before any final recommendation is made in relation to a screening outcome. The final decision as to whether or not an applicant is suitable rests with the requesting organisation. Any such decision taken by the University must be: subject to the principles of natural justice as set out in the Child Safe Environment Procedures (and therefore consistent with the Act); and consistent with the relevant industrial instrument.

The University will retain the information it receives from the screening unit, under confidential arrangements, until a decision is made regarding whether the person poses a risk to children, following which the criminal history information will be destroyed. This will normally occur within 3 months.