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Everything you need to know about security clearances

Many organisations require these checks for their permanent, contract and temporary employees, such as community housing organisations, state and local Government departments, police departments and more. We provide the who, what, where, when and why of getting your security clearances in South Australia.

The two most common security checks needed for people working in property and related industries are national police checks and working with children checks. These clearances are requested for people working in sensitive areas such as:

  • Aged Care
  • Disability Services / NDIS
  • General Employment Probity
  • Working with Vulnerable People
  • Working with Children

National Police Check

The purpose of a National Police Check (also known as a Police Check) is to identify any possible risks an individual might pose to an organisation if employed there. Obtaining a police check involves providing personal information and identification in order to obtain a full criminal history background check and report. Police checks can be applied for through the SAPOL website and the process is straightforward. To request a check, you will need to prove your identity with at least 100 points of ID. The check is then processed, and a certificate is provided stating the outcome. Standard police checks cost about $50 and can take anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks to process.

DHS Clearance

A DHS (Department of Human Services) check is a more substantial background check and assesses additional information that would not be detected through a standard police check. DHS clearances must be auspiced through the organisation you intend to work for, so when applying for a clearance you will be asked what organisation and role the clearance relates to. The only way to obtain a DHS clearance independently is through a Centrelink provider or recruitment agency. Here at Edge, we have initiated the clearance process for many of our temps working for organisations in sensitive areas.

The good news is there are different types of DHS clearances specific to each sector, so you won't need to apply and pay for a blanket clearance to cover them all. Simply apply and pay for the specific clearance/s relevant to your role, each costing between $98 and $118 inc GST pending on the type of check. These include:

  • working with children check;
  • NDIS worker check;
  • Aged care sector check;
  • Vulnerable person-related employment check
  • General employment probity check.

Once the organisation has initiated the process for you, the screening department sends an email with some online forms to fill out. This then gets sent off for screening and takes approximately 4-6 weeks to process. DHS clearances cost between $98 - $118 inc GST pending on the type of check and is usually paid for by the individual.

Some final points to note

  • Each organisation sets their own policies relating to clearances. For example, even if you have a recent police clearance for the purpose of volunteering at a school or club, you may need to get another police clearance stipulated by the organisation you are looking to join.
  • If you think you may get a role in an area that requires a DHS, it’s best to start the process early as some organisations require your clearance to be finalised before you start!

We hope this article answers any questions you may have about obtaining security checks in South Australia and provides a useful point of reference for future use. For further information about screening and background checks, visit the website or the DHS website.