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I’m interested in becoming accredited

To help protect the Australian community, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) works with Australian police agencies and accredited bodies to deliver the National Police Checking Service. The Service allows people to apply for a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, commonly called a police check.

About accredited bodies

What is an accredited body?

An accredited body is an Australian organisation or business that has been assessed and approved by the ACIC to have access to the Service to request police checks on behalf of individuals. ACIC accredited bodies are entrusted with access to the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS) in order to submit applications and retrieve police check results for consenting applicants.

Having access to police check results supports organisations to determine the suitability of applicants in an efficient and timely manner. However, this comes 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.

We have accredited more than 200 organisations as ACIC accredited bodies.

If your organisation will submit more than 500 police checks in a five year period and can demonstrate that conducting these checks provides a contribution to community safety, you may be eligible to become an accredited body.

Due to the sensitive nature of the information your organisation will have access to as an accredited body, your organisation must demonstrate the ability to comply with the Agreement and the Australian Privacy Principles prior to applying.

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.

On approval, accredited bodies may:

  1. submit checks for individuals (as members of the general public)
  2. submit checks on behalf of other organisations who are your customers (including private, not-for-profit and government entities)
  3. submit checks on your organisation’s potential and current employees (including consultants, contractors and volunteers (where approved)) to assist with employment screening.
  4. submit checks for individuals for a specific legislative, licensing or registration scheme that your organisation is required to undertake. This is generally restricted to Government licensing bodies who are bound by legislation that mandates the requirement to conduct police checks for the purposes of issuing licenses.

As part of the application process you must identify how you will contribute to community benefit and safety, including any specific legislative or regulatory requirement.

As part of the application process you may apply for approval to submit volunteer checks.  The ACIC will consider the community safety aspects of granting approval to your organisation on the basis of demonstrable community benefit and recognition of your organisation as a volunteer or charitable body.

Expectations of Accredited Bodies

How does an accredited body facilitate access to 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.

If we assess your organisation as suitable to become accredited, you enter into a legally binding contract (known as the Agreement for controlled access by duly Accredited Bodies to Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks with the ACIC).

The ACIC governs access to the Service by accredited bodies as part of its functions provided by the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002.

By executing the Agreement, you confirm your understanding and commitment to comply with the:

  1. Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 (Cth) 
  2. Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  3. Australian Privacy Principles
  4. Spent conviction schemes
  5. All terms and conditions of the Agreement, including any guidelines or directions issued by the ACIC throughout the life of your contract.

All accredited bodies must accept and sign the Agreement before we grant access to the Service and accept the liabilities and conditions therein. The Agreement remains in force for five years (standard term) unless lawfully terminated earlier. You must follow all conditions in the Agreement and strictly comply. You are responsible for staying up-to-date on any amendments or guidance we may make to the Agreement or any changes to relevant legislation.

We will monitor your organisation’s compliance through a formal program comprising:

  • 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 your obligations, we may review your organisation’s accreditation and suspend access to the Service or terminate the Agreement if necessary.

What legislation might apply to accredited bodies?

We administer access to police checks under the ACC Act. We abide by all relevant Commonwealth, state and territory legislation relating to the collection, use and disclosure of information for police checks.

As an accredited body you will be entrusted to collect and store applicants’ personal information.  Your organisation must comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Australian Privacy Principles and all other relevant Laws.

What are the information security requirements?

In addition to the privacy requirements outlined above, your organisation must practice under a written information security policy in order to 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. In the life of your contract you will also be asked to provide evidence of your compliance with relevant areas in the Australian Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework and the Information Security Manual. More information about these requirements can be found at www.protectivesecurity.gov.au

More information about the 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 reports, respond to requests for further information and retrieve police check 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 (Manual Input)
  • log into NSS directly and upload a file containing a batch of police check data (Batch Upload)
  • transmit police check data system-to-system via messaging, using either WebSphere MQ or Web Services. There is currently a substantial wait time to access these submission methods and you may not be able to access these methods right away. Your organisation should be prepared to use either the Manual Input or Batch Upload submission method initially until the WebSphere MQ or Web Services submission method becomes available to your organisation. 

We provide more information on these options and technical connectivity through the application assessment process.

What are the staff resourcing requirements for accredited bodies?

Your organisation must assign sufficient staff to ensure your full compliance with our expectations as part of 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 and approving requests for access to the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS). Their contact details are registered with the ACIC National Police Checking Service (NPCS) team. This person should be easily contactable and accessible and is not linked to a specific level or delegation (for example this person is not required to be the CEO).
  • NSS users (number of staff depends on operational requirements)—these staff have access to the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS) to handle the 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 the only personnel authorised to contact the ACIC NPCS team to discuss police 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 fees for police checks?

There are fees associated with submitting 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 (where approved).

A volunteer check must only be used if an applicant:

  • will freely perform the role identified on the application and informed consent form on a voluntary basis
  • will not be an employee or contractor 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.

Accredited bodies may apply to the ACIC for approval to submit volunteer check types. For further information about how to apply to be approved to submit volunteer checks, please contact the NPCS Team at npcs [at] acic.gov.au.

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 by facilitating access to our Service
  2. be a registered Australian business with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Business Register (ABR)
  3. be able to achieve a minimum volume of police checks (500 over a five year period). Periodic reviews of this requirement will be undertaken to validate this.
  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, we consider whether your organisation, including your Directors and key personnel, has ever been: 

  • bankrupt, or insolvent debtors, colluded with their creditors, or assigned their 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 or tribunal.

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

What is the process for accreditation?

There are seven steps in the accreditation process:

Step 1Determine eligibility

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

Step 2Complete an application form

If your organisation is deemed eligible, we will provide you with an information pack that includes an application form you need to complete and submit.

The accreditation process is run in cycles throughout the year. Each cycle represents a 10-week period.Once the completed application form is received by the ACIC it will be processed as per the relevant accreditation cycle (outlined in the table below).

 

Cycle 1 2019

Cycle 2 2019

Cycle 3 2019

Cycle 4 2019

Assessment dates

28 January – 5 April 2019

22 April -28 June 2019

15 July – 20 September 2019

7 October – 13 December 2019

 

Applications received in this time will be processed in the next cycle.

Applications received in this time will be processed in the next cycle.

Applications received in this time will be processed in the next cycle.

Applications received in this time will be processed in the next cycle.

 

 

Step 3Assess suitability

We assess your application form and business operations to determine your organisation's suitability and readiness to become an ACIC accredited body.  We will contact you should we require clarification or further detail about your application and business practices.  We will undertake a variety of checks on your organisation and key personnel.

Step 4Approve application

If your organisation is deemed suitable, we recommend to the ACIC Chief Executive Officer that your organisation be approved as an accredited body. You will be notified in writing the outcome of your application. If approved, we begin the process of drafting the Agreement for your organisation.

If your organisation is deemed unsuitable, we provide a written explanation for denial. Your organisation has the opportunity to resubmit an application once you can successfully demonstrate you have remedied any concerns raised.

Step 5Sign agreement

We work with your authorised personnel to finalise your Agreement and ensure your organisation effectively executes the Agreement.

Step 6Test and train

We set up secure connectivity for your organisation and staff in order to access the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS), and we provide training on how to use the system. In this step you will nominate the staff that require access to the system and also the staff that you would like to be authorised to contact the ACIC for check enquiries.

A compulsory training session is held in Canberra during Week 9 of each accreditation cycle. This session will give your organisation an overview of the Service, how it works and how your organisation can best comply with the Agreement. At the conclusion of this training session we conduct an accredited body preparedness assessment. This test evaluates your organisation’s understanding of your compliance obligations.

Step 7Submit checks

When all steps have been completed and ACIC are satisfied that your organisation is ready to access the Service, your organisation is provided with full access to the system and you 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 is considered under a memorandum of understanding (non-legally binding) arrangement.