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.
As a part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework, the Commonwealth, states and territories will implement nationally consistent worker screening arrangements from 1 July 2019. Until then, your employer will need to comply with their state and territory worker screening arrangements. New South Wales and South Australian providers who will be subject to the new NDIS quality and safeguards arrangements from 1 July 2018, will 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.
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’. See your state and territory for guidance in this area.
From 1 July 2018 in New South Wales and South Australia, if you work for a registered NDIS provider, you will need a check if you:
- are a key personnel
- are in a role for which the normal duties include the direct delivery of specified supports or specified services to a person with disability
- are 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.
If you are a secondary school student on a formal work experience program, 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 else 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:
- From 1 July 2018, 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.
- From 1 July 2019, you will be able to start applying for the new national NDIS Worker Screening Check instead of a state-based check.
- 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 closer to the date.
If you are in another state or territory, your current state or territory requirements will continue to apply until the NDIS Commission starts in your area.
Applying for a check
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.
If you are asked to work after submitting an application, 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 this written notice and they have kept a record of the application number.
A new NDIS Worker Screening Check is coming
A new NDIS Worker Screening Check is being introduced from 1 July 2019. This will replace the different arrangements operating in each state or territory, and set a single national standard for all workers.
Once fully rolled out, it will enable a screened worker to deliver services and supports in any state or territory, or for any employer delivering services and supports under the NDIS, reducing paperwork for workers and employers, while increasing the safety of participants.
The NDIS Worker Screening Check will start in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria from 1 July 2019, and in Western Australia from July 2020. Until then, existing state or territory worker screening or police check requirements will continue.
More information about the future arrangements will be provided shortly.