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I’m interested in becoming accredited

To help protect the Australian community, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) works together with Australian police agencies and accredited bodies to deliver the National Police Checking Service (NPCS or the Service). The Service allows individuals to apply for a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, which is commonly referred to as a police check.

Important notice: The National Police Checking Service is not currently accepting new applications for accreditation while we undergo significant changes to our business processes. We anticipate the application process will open again in early 2018. However, there are a number of activities organisations can undertake in preparation to become an ACIC accredited body during this period. For more information, please contact the NPCS team.

About accredited bodies

What is an accredited body?

An accredited body is an organisation that has been assessed by the ACIC and approved to request a police check on behalf of an individual. Accredited bodies are entrusted with direct access to the ACIC’s National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS) to submit applications and retrieve police check results for consenting applicants.

Having direct access to police check results supports organisations to determine the suitability of applicants in an efficient and timely manner. However the benefits of direct access to NSS come with a greater degree of responsibility to protect the personal information the accredited body has access to.

Who can become an accredited body?

Accredited bodies include Australian federal, state and local government agencies, private sector businesses, not-for-profit organisations and screening units for working with children or vulnerable people. These organisations have a direct relationship with the police check applicant or the applicant’s employer.

The ACIC has accredited more than 240 organisations.

Who can accredited bodies submit checks for?

Your organisation may be able to perform police checks for a variety of people and for different purposes, depending on your organisation’s function. Generally, there are four service models that you can apply for. Your organisation may wish to apply for more than one service model.

You may wish to:

  1. Perform checks for individuals, as members of the general public and charge a fee for your service;
  2. Perform checks on behalf of other organisations who are your customers (including private, not-for-profit and government entities) and charge a fee for your service;
  3. Perform checks on your organisation’s potential and current employees (including consultants, contractors and volunteers) to assist with employment screening; and
  4. Perform checks for individuals for a specific legislative, licensing or registration scheme that your organisation is required to undertake.

As part of the application process you will be asked to identify who you want to conduct police checks on and why.

Integration into your business

How does an accredited body access the Service?

You will be required to incorporate a number of processes and capabilities into your business to ensure full integration and compliance with the Service. The diagram below summarises the process your organisation must undertake to participate in the Service.

What legislation do accredited bodies operate under?

Access to the Service is largely administered under the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 (Cth) (ACC Act). The Service works in cooperation with all relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation to the information collected, used and disclosed on a police check result.

As an accredited body you will be entrusted to collect and store applicants’ personal information. In some cases you will need to disclose police information to a third party. As such, your organisation must comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Australian Privacy Principles, the Agreement for controlled access by duly Accredited Bodies to Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks (Agreement) and a range of policies and procedures enforced by the ACIC.

What are the privacy and information security requirements?

Your organisation must practice under a written privacy and information security policy. Your organisation must also comply with security standards to protect sensitive information. Compliance with these standards may require your organisation to implement a higher level of security and introduce new procedures and protocols into your business.

More information about the privacy and security requirements is available in the Agreement.

How do accredited bodies submit police checks and retrieve results?

As an accredited body, your organisation will have direct access to the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS), which allows users to request police checks, monitor progress, access reporting, respond to requests for further information and retrieve results.

Depending on operational requirements, IT capability and the quantity of police checks, your organisation can choose which of the following methods to use when submitting police checks:

  • Log into NSS directly and manually enter police check data
  • Log into NSS directly and upload a file containing a batch of police check data
  • Transmit police check data system-to-system via messaging, using either WebSphere MQ or Web Services.

More information on submission options and technical connectivity will be available through the application process.

What are the staff resourcing requirements for accredited bodies?

Your organisation must assign sufficient staff to ensure full integration of the Service into your business. As part of the application process, your organisation will be asked to nominate the following personnel:

  • Authorised officer (1 person)—this person accepts responsibility for operation of the Service within your organisation, including all contractual issues. Their contact details will be registered with the ACIC National Police Checking Service (NPCS) team.
  • NSS users (number of staff dependant on operational requirements)—these staff will have access to the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS) to facilitate submission, monitoring and retrieval of police checks and other administrative tasks such as downloading reports.
  • NPCS contacts (up to four staff, including the authorised officer)—these staff are nominated by your organisation and are the only personnel authorised to make contact with the NPCS team to discuss national check and result enquiries, applicant disputes and requests for further information.

Your organisation must ensure all personnel are of good fame and character and act in a fit and proper manner in relation to all personal and police information they have access to.

What are the compliance obligations to access the Service?

Your organisation must comply with:

  • minimum standards of accreditation (provided during the accreditation process)
  • terms and conditions set out in the Agreement.

The ACIC will monitor your organisation’s compliance through a formal program comprised of:

  • Data quality monitoring
  • Investigations following referrals alleging non-compliance
  • Periodic reviews of accredited bodies and/or legal entity customers
  • Ongoing suitability assessments.

If your organisation cannot meet its obligations, the ACIC may review your organisation’s accreditation and suspend or terminate the contract if necessary.

What are the fees for police checks?

There are fees associated with the submission of each police check through the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS). The current fees are:

  • $23 (GST exclusive) for each standard police check
  • $7 (GST exclusive) for each volunteer police check.

A volunteer check must only be used if an applicant:

  • will freely hold the position or perform the role identified in the purpose of the police check on the application and informed consent form on a voluntary basis
  • will not be an employee or contractor of the position identified in the purpose of the police check on the application and informed consent form and will not be entitled to a salary or other entitlements associated with the position or role, other than payment of out of pocket expenses
  • is a student undertaking a compulsory vocational placement as a requirement of an Australian-based academic institution or training course.

Becoming an accredited body

What are the eligibility requirements to become an accredited body?

Your organisation must:

  1. be of good character and able to demonstrate a contribution to community safety through delivery of the Service within your business
  2. be a registered Australian business with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Business Register (ABR)
  3. be able to achieve a minimum volume of police checks (500 over a 5 year period)
  4. be a legal entity for the purposes of contracting with the Commonwealth of Australia, with particular emphasis on the ability to participate in the delivery of a statutory service [1]
  5. adequately demonstrate, through the conduct of business and/or services, the appropriate compliance under the Agreement for access to the Service.

In assessing these criteria, the ACIC considers whether your organisation, including its Directors and key personnel, has ever been: 

  • bankrupt, applied to take the benefit of a law for the benefit of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, colluded with his or her creditors, or assigned his or her remuneration for the benefit of creditors
  • disqualified from managing corporations under Part 2D.6 of the Corporations Act 2001
  • identified as persons of interest to police and law enforcement agencies
  • subject to criticism, discipline, disqualification or removal by a professional or regulatory body, including the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or equivalent State/Territory authority, or Court.

[1] Where a prospective organisation is a Commonwealth entity, assessment of access suitability will be considered under a memorandum of understanding (non-legally binding) arrangement.

What is the process for accreditation?

There are a number of steps your organisation must take to become an accredited body:

Step 1 – Determine eligibility

To determine your organisation’s eligibility to become an accredited body, please complete and submit the ACIC eligibility questionnaire.

Step 2 – Complete an application form

If deemed eligible, the ACIC will provide you with an information pack where you will be asked to complete and submit an application form.

Step 3 – Assess suitability

The ACIC will assess your application form and business operations to determine your organisations suitability and readiness to become accredited.

Step 4 – Approve application

If deemed suitable, the ACIC will recommend to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) that your organisation be approved as an accredited body. Your organisation will be notified of the approval in writing, and the ACIC will begin the process of drafting the Agreement with your organisation.

If deemed unsuitable, the ACIC will inform your organisation of the reasons for denial. Your organisation will have the opportunity to resubmit an application once you can successfully demonstrate that any concerns raised have been remedied.

Step 5 – Sign agreement

The ACIC will work with your organisation to finalise your contract and ensure your organisation effectively executes the Agreement.

Step 6 – Test and train

Secure connectivity is set up for your organisation and staff to use the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS) and training is provided. The ACIC will conduct an accredited body preparedness assessment prior to providing full access to the Service and its systems. This will test and evaluate your organisation’s understanding of its compliance obligations.

Step 7 – Submit checks

Your organisation can start submitting police checks into the system.

What is expected during the accreditation process?

To become accredited, your organisation:

  • must comply with all requirements of the accreditation process, relevant legislation, policies and procedures
  • should seek independent legal advice with respect to accessing the Service and contracting to the Commonwealth
  • must actively participate in the full accreditation process.

Where a prospective organisation is a Commonwealth entity, assessment of access suitability will be considered under a memorandum of understanding (non-legally binding) arrangement.