Worker screening – transitional and special arrangements

Until the NDIS Worker Screening Check starts in your state or territory, registered NDIS providers providing supports and services to NDIS participants must ensure their workers in risk assessed roles meet the screening requirements for the state or territory in which the worker is operating. A person will have an acceptable check when they meet the requirements of the transitional and special arrangements that apply to the state or territory where they provide NDIS supports and services to people with disabilities. These arrangements are set out in Part 4 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Practice Standards—Worker Screening) Rules 2018. States and territories are responsible for undertaking and issuing acceptable checks.

These acceptable checks are not portable. This means that until a person has an NDIS Worker Screening Clearance, they must have an acceptable check in each state and/or territory where they provide supports and services to people with disabilities.

What is the transition period?

The transition period is, broadly speaking, the period that the transitional and special arrangements apply for each state or territory. In NSW and SA, the transition period commenced on 1 July 2018. In all other states and territories (except for WA), it commenced on 1 July 2019. The transition period for all states and territories is due to end on 31 January 2021.

In certain circumstances, some of the acceptable checks described below can continue to be relied on after the end of the transition period to meet the worker screening obligations. The circumstances are specified in the provisions that relate to the relevant state or territory in Part 4 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Practice Standards—Worker Screening) Rules 2018.

Acceptable checks: New South Wales

All registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services in in New South Wales must ensure that any person engaged in a risk assessed role has:

  • a criminal record check done before 1 July 2018 and within the past four years showing the person did not have a conviction for a prescribed criminal offence within the meaning of the Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW); or
  • a criminal record check done between 1 July 2018 and before the end of the transition period, and within the past two years showing the person did not have a conviction for a prescribed criminal offence within the meaning of the Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW), and the person has not subsequently had a further criminal record check that had a different result, or
  • if the person is engaged in a risk assessed role providing supports and services to children, a current New South Wales Working with Children Check that was obtained before the end of the transition period.

There are a range of organisations providing criminal record checking services, and registered NDIS providers and/or individuals can choose how to obtain a criminal record check, including through the NSW Police, Australia Post and other bodies.

Registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services in NSW will need to register with the New South Wales Office of the Children's Guardian to verify the status of a worker's Working with Children Check or the status of their application for a Working with Children Check online. More information about the New South Wales Working with Children Check, including information about who is eligible and how to apply, can be found at the New South Wales Office of the Children's Guardian.

Acceptable checks: South Australia

All registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services in South Australia must ensure that any person engaged in a risk assessed role meets one of the following requirements:

  • the person is found to be cleared under a Department of Human Services Disability Services Employment Screening check and:
    • it is not more than 3 years since that finding, and
    • there has not been a finding made since that the person is not cleared to work in disability services employment,
    • the risk assessed role does not involve the person engaging in child-related work; or
  • the person is found to be cleared for child related employment under a Department of Human Services Child-related Employment Screening check issued before 1 July 2019 and:
    • it is not more than 3 years since that finding was made,
    • there has not been a finding made since that the person is not cleared for child-related employment, and
    • there has not been a finding made since, under a Department of Human Services Disability Services Employment Screening check, that the person is not cleared for disability services employment, and
    • the person is not a 'prohibited person' within the meaning of the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA); or
  • the person is determined not to be prohibited from working with children under a Department of Human Services Child-related Employment Screening check issued after 1 July 2019 and:
    • it is not more than 5 years since that determination was made,
    • there has not been a finding made since, under a Department of Human Services Disability Services Employment Screening check, that the person is not cleared for disability services employment, and
    • the person is not a prohibited person within the meaning of the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA).

If a person obtains one of the above checks before the end of the transition period, a person can continue to work in a risk assessed role after the end of the transition period until their acceptable check expires.

More information can be found on the South Australian Department of Human Services Screening Unit website.

Acceptable Checks: Victoria

During the transition period for Victoria all registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services in Victoria must:

  • comply with the Safety Screening Policy for registered NDIS providers operating in Victoria (Safety Screening Policy); and
  • ensure that any person engaged in a risk assessed role has a safety screening that is compliant with the Safety Screening Policy.

After the transition period ends, a person can only be engaged in a risk assessed role where both of the above requirements are met and one of the following applies:

  • the person has a current Working with Children Check that was issued in Victoria before the end of the transition period; or
  • it is less than 6 months since the end of the transition period; or
  • it is 6 months or more since the end of the transition period and the person has made an application for an NDIS Worker Screening Check.

More information on the Safety Screening Policy can be found on the Victorian Government website.

Acceptable Checks: Queensland

For registered NDIS providers delivering NDIS supports and services in Queensland, from 1 July 2019 any worker engaged in a risk -assessed role must meet the following requirements:

  • the person holds a current disability check (Yellow Card or Yellow Card Exemption) in accordance with Part 5 of the Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld); or
  • if the person only works with children with disability, and the person holds a current Working With Children Check (Blue Card) in accordance with the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld) in relation to screening for regulated employment or regulated businesses; or
  • the person engages in the risk assessed role in the person's capacity as a registered health practitioner (within the meaning of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009 (Qld)) and the person has a certificate of registration in accordance with that Act.

If workers in risk-assessed roles hold a check before the end of the transition period that already meets these requirements, the check is recognised until the check expires or is cancelled.

Acceptable Checks: Tasmania

All registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services in Tasmania, must ensure that any person engaged in a risk assessed role meets the following requirements:

  • the person is registered to engage in a regulated activity under the Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 (Tas.); and
  • the registration allows the person to engage in the role concerned.

After the end of the transition period, a person engaged in a risk assessed role that met these requirements during the transition period may continue to work in the role for three years, or until the registration expires – whichever is sooner.

Acceptable Checks: Australian Capital Territory

All registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services in the Australian Capital Territory must ensure that any person engaged in a risk assessed role meets the following requirements:

  • The person is registered to engage in a regulated activity under the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (ACT); and
  • the registration allows the person to engage in the role concerned.

After the end of the transition period, a person engaged in a risk assessed role that met these requirements during the transition period may continue to work in the role for three years or until the registration expires – whichever is sooner.

Acceptable Checks: Northern Territory

All registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services in the Northern Territory must ensure that any person engaged in a risk assessed role meets the following requirements:

  • the person has a clearance notice (i.e. an Ochre Card) granted under the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT) that is in force; and
  • the Ochre Card allows the person to engage in the role concerned.

After the end of the transition period, a person engaged in a risk assessed role that met these requirements during the transition period may continue to work in the role for two years, or until the clearance notice expires – whichever is sooner.