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Department for Communities and Social Inclusion

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Why is it required?

Why is it required?

A screening assessment is an important component of taking a preventative approach towards the care and protection of vulnerable people in our community.

Screening of volunteers or employees is a measure taken by organisations to help prevent people with a known history of violent or abusive behaviour towards others gaining access to children and other vulnerable people through their work or volunteering role when engaged by the organisation.

In some circumstances, screening is necessary in order to comply with legislation or regulation. Where not mandated by law, the employing organisation determines whether to screen its employees/volunteers, and to what extent.  Sometimes human resources policies or contracts with third parties impose a requirement for personnel screening to be conducted.

Although it is a useful tool for risk mitigation, screening on its own is limited to identifying known perpetrators.  It is recommended therefore that organisations supplement screening with interviews, thorough reference checks, and policies aimed at maintaining a 'safe' working environment.

How often is it required?

How often is it required?

A DCSI screening clearance is valid for three years, which means that screening is normally only required once every three years.  Screening renewal applications should be submitted no more than six (6) months prior to expiry of a current clearance.

A clearance letter issued by the DCSI Screening Unit is portable across organisations within South Australia, i.e. it can be taken from workplace to workplace (the general employment probity check excluded).  In the case of a general employment probity clearance only, the clearance is not transferable.  Therefore, if the employee or volunteer changes agencies — or even changes roles within the same agency — the person may need to be rescreened.

In some cases there an organisational policy requiring screening more than once every three years.

How long does it take?

How long does it take?


Our aim is to process the majority of screening applications with 30 business days.

However, the time taken in each case will depend on the relevance, complexity and amount of any relevant background information identified during the screening process which pertains to an applicant.  This includes any relevant criminal history information and information from courts, police agencies or other sources

If no risk is identified that requires further assessment, the turnaround time to obtain a clearance should be approximately 30 business days.

If the applicant's name registers as a match in any of the databases assessed by the Screening Unit, additional time may be required to process the application.

Where a criminal history report indicates that there is a relevant criminal history for the applicant, or there is a match of their name against government records, the process will typically take longer than if this does not occur.  In this case, an application may take more than 8 weeks to process, depending on the relevance, complexity, and amount of information to be assessed. 

A number of other factors may affect the amount time taken to complete a screening application, including:

  • the time of year (January-April is usually the busiest time of year for the Screening Unit);
  • the length of time taken to obtain relevant information from other agencies across Australia, including confirmation or ruling out by police agencies of any database 'matches' against the applicant's name.

We recommend you allow as much time as possible for your screening check to be completed.

You can help make sure your check is processed as quickly as possible by providing complete and accurate personal information and role-related information in your application.

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State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS .

Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
17 Aug 2018
The DHS website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016