The role of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s (ACIC) National Police Checking Service (NPCS) is to manage the system that Australian Police Agencies and Accredited Organisations use to submit National Police History Checks. It is important to know the ACIC does not directly receive application forms or submit police checks on behalf of individuals.
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.
The ACIC partners with Police Agencies in Australia to provide the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). The NPCS provides Accredited Organisations with timely and accurate police history information, helping you and your customers make informed decisions surrounding applying for positions of trust.
There are currently more than 230 Accredited Organisations comprising Australian Government agencies, private sector businesses, not-for-profit organisations and screening units for working with children or vulnerable people.
Frequently asked questions
What makes an organisation eligible to become accredited?
An organisation is eligible if they:
- have read and understand the information on our website before submitting an application
- are an Australian registered business
- can commit to submitting a minimum of 500 checks over a three-year period
- agree to be bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and Australian Privacy Principles
- can implement the security management measures required to protect all personal and police history information belonging to an applicant
- will dedicate personnel to the onboarding process and ongoing business as usual management.
What information should an organisation read before applying?
1. Terms of Service—Accredited Organisations must agree to these terms before co-signing a Schedule.
To support the function of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2006 (ACC Act), the ACIC has established a Terms of Service for controlled access by duly Accredited Organisations to the National Police Checking Service. The Terms of Service provides access to the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS) and is underpinned by the ACIC's statutory functions and its commitment to uphold protections afforded to personal information under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The Terms of Service establishes specific conditions for the operation and delivery of the police history check including how check requests are submitted and returned.
LIMITATIONS ON ACCURACY AND USE OF THIS INFORMATION
While every care has been taken by the ACIC to conduct a search of police history information held by Australian police agencies that relate to the applicant, the accuracy and quality of this National Police History Check (NPHC) depends on accurate identification of the applicant (including aliases) according to the information provided in the application form and the comprehensiveness of police records. The NHPC is a 'point in time check' and should not be relied upon for an unreasonable period of time.
The release of police history information by Australian police agencies is subject to relevant spent convictions, non-disclosure legislation or information release policies.
NPCS Terms of Service
NPCS Terms of Service Schedule - Broker Example
NPCS Terms of Service Schedule - Non-Broker Example
2. The NPCS process—this flow chart shows the process from submitting the police check to receiving the result. Click here to review the check process in full.
3. Functional requirements: Accredited Organisations — this document details the functional requirements for Accredited Organisations using the National Police Checking Service (NPCS).
Functional Requirements - Accredited Organisations
4. NSS submission options—this document explains the different ways Accredited Organisations can submit police check requests to the NPCS.
NSS submission options
5. Information Technology: Security management—this document explains the measures Accredited Organisations need to implement to ensure security of personal information.
NPCS Information Technology - Security management
How much does it cost to become an accredited organisation?
There is currently no application fee to become an Accredited Organisation. Once your organisation is accredited, the NPCS will issue tax invoices each month for the police check requests submitted during that time.
The current fees are:
- $23.00 (GST exclusive) for each standard national police history check
- $7.00 (GST exclusive) for each volunteer national police history check.
The Accredited Organisation must pay the invoice/s within 30 days. If an invoice is not paid within 30 days, the NPCS may suspend or terminate an organisation's access to the system.
All fees are reviewed annually and at present Accredited Organisations are given six months written notice of upcoming fee changes.
The National Police Checking Service defines a volunteer check as a police check submitted by an individual person, government or non-government entity where the check request is for an person who is:
- undertaking work with an employer where a person is not entitled to be paid any remuneration, except for authorised out-of-pocket expenses
- undertaking work as a student completing a compulsory vocational placement as a requirement of an Australian-based academic institution or training course.
Therefore a ‘volunteer’ check can only be submitted by an Accredited Organisation if the applicant is:
- not bound by a legal contract with an employer and no remuneration is paid to the applicant for the work undertaken
- a student undertaking a compulsory vocational placement for an Australian-based academic institution or training course
- providing voluntary foster care where they are not an employee of the foster care agency and are only receiving payments to help meet the costs associated with providing care for foster children, including basic foster care subsidies.
Work for the Dole checks
Checks submitted under the Department of Employment or Jobactive Work for the Dole scheme are not volunteer checks and Accredited Organisations are required to pay the standard fee of $23.00 (GST exclusive) for these checks. This applies whether the applicant participates in the Work for the Dole Scheme to meet an 'annual activity requirement' or independently requests placement within the Work for the Dole scheme in order to maintain or develop their skills.
Can an Accredited Organisation submit police checks on behalf of their own customers?
Yes. Please indicate your intention to submit police checks on behalf of your customers in your customer application form. Once accredited, an organisation will need to enter into a customer contract with each of its customers, as outlined in the Terms of Service.
NPCS Terms of Service
What is involved in the accreditation process?
There are four phases to becoming an Accredited Organisation:
- customer application
- customer accreditation
- customer onboarding
- customer commencement.
1. Customer application
A customer application form is submitted to NPCS Customer Support team.
- The NPCS will assess your application to confirm eligibility and make a recommendation to our police partner agencies.
- The police consider your organisation’s application and give the NPCS approval to proceed to the next phase.
NPCS customer application form
2. Customer accreditation
- NPCS Customer Support provides the organisation with pre-accreditation information and education.
- The organisation confirms understanding of and commitment to comply with the ACIC Terms of Service, which is the agreement that is executed to access the NPCS, including agreeing to abide by the Australian Privacy Principles. These principles describe the organisation’s responsibilities in relation to collecting, using, disclosing and storing personal information, including police history information.
3. Customer onboarding
- The NPCS Customer Support team will facilitate contact with our ICT area to organise access to the service through the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS).
- Each Accredited Organisation must conduct training with the NPCS and test connectivity to the system.
- Following this, a business readiness assessment will be undertaken and any additional information and education needed to ensure an organisation is ready to commence will be provided.
4. Customer commencement
- Once an organisation is ready to commence, access will be granted to submit police checks into the NSS.
- The NPCS Customer Support team will provide the Accredited Organisation with early support to resolve any operational issues quickly and help to ensure ongoing compliance obligations are met.
- Quality assurance and audit activities are a regular component of the NPCS and will be conducted as required.
How long does accreditation take?
The process can take about 8–12 weeks from the time an organisation applies for accreditation to the time it can begin using the NPCS. However, this can vary considerably depending on the complexity of your ICT requirements and how responsive each organisation is to fulfilling their obligations.
An Accredited Organisation can assist and expedite the accreditation process by dedicating personnel to the onboarding process and by reviewing the information we provide on our website before submitting your application.
What are the IT security requirements?
Accredited Organisations need to implement certain measures to ensure the security of personal information throughout the process (from the time an informed consent form is received to submitting the police check and receiving the check result).
NPCS Information Technology - Security management
What are the different ways of submitting checks?
There are three different ways an Accredited Organisation can submit a police check request:
1. manually inputting data for individual checks;
2. using XML message format to upload checks in batches; and
3. using XML message format using MQ series to transmit check directly to our National Police Checking Support System (NSS).
NSS submission options
What are the privacy obligations?
When agreeing to the NPCS Terms of Service, Accredited Organisations are bound by the:
- Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), which aims to protect personal information (information that identifies or could reasonably identify an individual).
- Australian Privacy Principles, which aims to regulate the collection, use, disclosure and storage personal information, including police history information.
Can a police check be requested without someone’s consent?
No. As per the Terms of Service, it is unlawful to complete or process a police check for an individual unless the individual has completed an informed consent form. In limited circumstances, police can submit checks for core policing purposes and administration of justice.
How long do checks take to process?
The NPCS aims to process 95 per cent of police checks in 10 business days, noting that:
- Around 70 per cent of police checks are completed in real–time and the results are returned to the organisation that requested the check within minutes.
- Around 30 per cent of police checks are referred to one or more police agency due to similarities in the name of an individual. Sometimes this process takes longer than 10 business days due to the complexity of the check.
The NPCS and its police partner agencies aim to process 95 percent of 'urgent' check requests within 5 business days. An 'urgent' check is a National Police History Check (NPHC) where the purpose falls within a defined set of parameters agreed to by the Australian police agencies.
Your organisation can help to ensure checks are processed as quickly as possible by making sure the personal information provided is complete and accurate.
What information is in the check result?
No disclosable court outcomes
If an individual has no police history information, or none that can be released due to the purpose of the police check, the result will show ‘no disclosable court outcomes’.
Disclosable court outcomes
If there is police history information that can be released, the result will show ‘disclosable court outcomes’. The disclosable police history information will be listed on the police certificate or NPCS report and may include:
- court convictions, including penalties and sentences
- findings of guilt with no conviction
- court appearances
- good behaviour bonds or other court orders
- matters awaiting court hearing
- traffic offences.
The type of police history information that is released depends on the purpose of the police check and any relevant spent conviction legislation or information release policies by which Police Agencies are bound.
Should the police check result be provided to applicants?
Yes. Accredited Organisations and their customers are required to provide the police check result to the applicant either in writing or verbally. This gives the applicant the opportunity to verify their check result and submit a dispute if necessary.
How long are police checks valid for?
There is no standard time frame that a check is valid — a police check is a 'point in time' check, meaning the results only reflect police records on the date that the check is released. Your organisation determines the expiry date, based on a risk management strategy.
How do organisations apply for accreditation?
Download and complete the customer application form once you have read all of the information contained under the ‘information for organisations section of our website. Once complete, press the 'submit' button at the end of the form and the form will be emailed to the NPCS Customer Support team.