Worker screening (Workers)

What is worker screening?

Worker screening is a way to check that the people who are working or wish to work with the NDIS don’t present an unacceptable risk to people with disability. It provides employers with an important tool for their recruitment, selection and screening processes, and in the ongoing review of the suitability of their workers.

A new NDIS Worker Screening Check is coming

As a part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework, the Commonwealth and most states and territories will transition to nationally consistent worker screening arrangements from 1 July 2019.

The NDIS Worker Screening Check will replace the different arrangements operating in each state or territory, and set a single national standard for all workers.  Some States and Territories may have additional requirements in some circumstances, e.g. people working with children may need to undertake additional screening.

When will NDIS Worker Screening start in my state or territory?

New South Wales and South Australian providers who have been subject to the new NDIS quality and safeguards arrangements from 1 July 2018, have interim arrangements in place for worker screening based on their existing worker screening arrangements until the new NDIS Worker Screening Check commences on 1 July 2019.

Other states and territories to transition to implementing the NDIS Worker Screening Check from 1 July 2019 include Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory from 1 July 2019. Western Australia will transition from July 2020.

Until then, existing state or territory worker screening or police check requirements will continue.

Once fully rolled out, national worker screening will enable a worker with clearance to deliver services and supports in any state or territory, or to any employer delivering services and supports under the NDIS. This will reduce paperwork for workers and employers, while increasing the safety of participants.

More information about the future arrangements for other states and territories will be available shortly.

Do I need a check?

Workers in all states and territories, except for New South Wales and South Australia, continue to operate under their existing state or territory worker screening requirements including ‘who needs a check’. However, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, and Victoria will transition to the new NDIS Worker Screening Check from 1 July 2019. Information about how transition will work in each jurisdiction will be available soon.

In all other states and territories except for Western Australia, if you work for a registered NDIS provider, from 1 July 2019 you will need a check if you are:

  • a key personnel
  • in a role for which the normal duties include the direct delivery of specified supports or specified services to a person with disability
  • in a role for which the normal duties are likely to require more than incidental contact with people with disability.

Your employer is responsible for assessing whether or not you need an NDIS Worker Screening Check clearance.

If you do not have more than incidental contact with people with disability as a normal part of your jobs (for example, if you work as administrative support staff), it is not mandatory to have a check, but your employer can still require you to get one.

Exemptions

If you are a secondary school student on a formal work experience placement, you will not need a check to work with people with disability in the NDIS. You should make sure that your employer has organised for you to be directly supervised by someone who does have a clearance.

What do I need to do right now?

If you work for a registered NDIS provider in New South Wales or South Australia, there will be some changes to who needs a check and what check you need to get:

  • If you are already meeting existing state disability worker screening requirements, you can continue to work using your current state-based check until it expires. But if you haven’t had to have a check before, your employer might ask you to get one to meet the new requirements.
  • If you start working in a role that needs a check after 1 July 2019 or your state-based check expires after that date, you will then need to apply for a new NDIS Worker Screening Check. More information on how to do that will be available soon.

If you work for a registered provider in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, or the Northern Territory, existing state or territory worker screening or police check requirements are still in place. More information about transition arrangements to the NDIS Worker Screening Check in those states and territories will be available soon.

Applying for a check before 1 July 2019

Acceptable checks in New South Wales

If your employer requires you to have a clearance and you are working in New South Wales, you need to have:

  • a criminal record check conducted before 1 July 2018 and within the last four years that showed that you do not have a conviction for a prescribed criminal offence, or
  • a criminal record check is conducted between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019 and within the last two years that showed that you do not have a conviction for a prescribed criminal offence, or
  • a current New South Wales Working with Children Check clearance for those providing services to children in the NDIS.

Your employer may ask you to obtain a criminal record check and provide them with a copy, or will organise one for you with your written consent. If you are asked to obtain your own, you can find out more information about the criminal record check from the New South Wales Police Force.

You can find out more about the New South Wales Working with Children Check, including information about whether you are eligible and how to apply, from the New South Wales Office of the Children’s Guardian.

Acceptable checks in South Australia

If your employer requires you to have a clearance and you are working in South Australia, you need to have:

  • a South Australian disability services employment screening clearance obtained in the last three years, or
  • a South Australian child-related employment screening clearance obtained in the last three years.

Your employer is responsible for starting an application for you. Information about this is available from the South Australian Department of Human Services Screening Unit.

Working before you have a clearance

Depending on your employer and the laws in your state or territory, you might be able to begin working in a risk assessed role once you have submitted an application for an NDIS Worker Screening Check or an acceptable state-based check, and before a final decision has been made issuing you a clearance.

Some states do not allow workers to commence employment in a risk-assessed role until clearance has been given. It is up to your employer to check to see if you can start work without a final decision being made about your clearance. If you apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check in any of the states that require workers to have clearance before starting work, you are not permitted to work in a risk-assessed role, even in another state or territory, until a clearance is provided from the state in which you applied.

If you are asked to work after submitting an application and before you have received clearance, make sure that:

  • your employer has agreed for you to work before a final decision is made
  • your employer has checked that you can work without a final decision about a clearance in your state or territory
  • your employer has a written risk management plan addressing the risk of harm to people with disability
  • your employer has arranged for you to be supervised by someone else who has a clearance
  • the NDIS worker screening unit has provided you with a formal written notice confirming that you have made an application
  • you have shown your employer the written notice and they have kept a record of the application number.