Criminal History Checks

Version Number

3.3

Implementation Date

10/10/2017

Scope

Department-wide

Purpose

​Outlines the Department of Education and Training procedures in relation to conducting criminal history checks on current public service employees and intending employees who have been recommended for engagement in recognised and non-recognised public service positions within the department (excluding classroom teachers, school leaders and heads of programs in state schools).​​​

Overview

​The Department of Education and Training is committed to creating and maintaining safe and secure environments for all employees and students by ensuring:

  • that appointment processes do not result in the engagement of a person with a criminal history that would prejudice safe and proper operations; and
  • that employment screening, including criminal history checks are conducted consistently and in a non-discriminatory manner.

The Director-General may conduct a criminal history check of an employee or nominated applicant under the Employment Screening Directive.

A criminal history check may only be conducted on an individual who has given written consent and provided satisfactory proof of identity.

A criminal history check will be initiated for an employee or potential employee who:

  • is recommended for engagement in a recognised position and the engagement is permanent or temporary; or
  • is undertaking higher duties or is relieving at, below or above level in a recognised position for a period greater than 6 months; and
  • has not previously undergone a criminal history check during their employment with the Department of Education and Training in the past two years.

A criminal history check may be initiated for:

  • Potential employees recommended for engagement in non-recognised positions within the Department of Education and Training;
  • Current employees as a result of changed employment circumstances which include:
    • redeployment, secondment, transfer or appointment to a position;
    • work performance or interchange arrangements;
    • commencing training as an apprentice or trainee; or
    • incorporation of new tasks or responsibilities into a position and higher duties. 
  • Current employees as a result of their notification of a relevant charge or conviction to the department; or
  • Current employees as a result of notification to the department through the Queensland Police Service or Director of Public Prosecutions.

Departmental employees who undertake work within another agency will be subject to the policy of that agency.

Where contractors are engaged in recognised positions via a contracting company, whether through a tendered procurement process or not, the company is responsible for ensuring Criminal History Checks are completed for each contractor. The contracting company is responsible for providing to the department all employment screening and criminal history check information prior to the commencement of the contractor. This may include a police certificate from jurisdictions where the person has resided. Contractors are not able to commence work with the department until the Queensland Police Service has advised of a clear criminal history check, or a determination has been made by the delegate regarding the relevance of the criminal history to the work being undertaken.

Where contractors are engaged in recognised roles via a recruitment agency, that agency is responsible for ensuring Criminal History Checks are completed for each contractor. The recruitment agency is responsible for providing to the department all employment screening and criminal history check information prior to the commencement of the contractor.  This may include a police certificate from jurisdictions where the person has resided. Contractors are not able to commence work until Queensland Police Service has advised of a clear criminal history check, or a determination has been made by the delegate regarding the relevance of the criminal history to the work being undertaken.

Responsibilities

Employee:

Consent for criminal history check

  • Return the completed and signed Consent to Obtain Criminal History Check form, including satisfactory proof of identity within seven calendar days of the request.  If you do not provide written consent for a criminal history check, you will not be appointed to the position or allowed to continue working in the position and may be moved to alternate duties at your substantive level.

Your obligations if charged or convicted of an offence

  • Advise the Director-General or delegate in writing through your supervisor immediately with the details of the charge or offence and the penalty imposed:
    • after being charged with an indictable office; and/or
    • convicted by a court of any offence; or
    • if the department is notified of a change in your criminal history and where a criminal history check reveals that you have been charged with or convicted of an indictable offence (whether or not the conviction has been recorded).
  • Failure to disclose any charges and convictions for indictable offences may result in disciplinary action and if charged or convicted of a serious offence, your employment may be suspended or you may be moved to alternative duties. Disciplinary action depending on the seriousness of the offence may include termination of employment.

Declaration of criminal history for relieving arrangements of less than 6 months

  • Advise your supervisor in writing of criminal history status (declaration) where the relieving at level or higher duties arrangement is for less than 6 months. The written advice should be in the form of an email. 

Nominated applicant:

Consent for criminal history check

  • Return the completed and signed Consent to Obtain Criminal History Check form, including satisfactory proof of identity, within seven calendar days of the request. If you do not provide written consent for a criminal history check, you will not be considered for the position.

Adverse Decision – Queensland Public Service Employees

  • Understand that you may lodge an appeal against an adverse criminal history  directly with the Public Service Commission, as the matter is not required to be resolved through a grievance process.  Appeals against an adverse criminal history decision will proceed to hearing as a Fair Treatment Appeal without a preliminary conference.  The appeal must be lodged within 21 calendar days of receipt of an adverse decision

Adverse Decision – Non Queensland Public Service Employees

  • Understand that nominated applicants who are not currently employed within the Queensland Public Service do not have the right of appeal against an adverse criminal history decision, however you may request a statement of reasons for an adverse criminal history decision under the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld)

Volunteer at TAFE Queensland Institute:

  • Understand where a person volunteers to work in or on behalf of a TAFE Queensland Institute or TAFE Statutory Authority, the volunteer is required to complete the Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check form 12/61099 consentrequestform.pdf and obtain the Police Certificate containing details of relevant criminal history, where relevant history has been detected.

Director, Talent Unit:

  • Ensure all documentation in relation to criminal history checks is managed (handled, collected, stored, secured, accessed, used, disclosed and destroyed) in accordance with sections 169 and 172 of the Public Service Act 2008 (Qld)  and the Information Privacy Act 2009. Refer to Guidelines - Privacy Principles for detailed information on how to meet the department’s obligations.
  • Ensure departmental requirement for conducting a criminal history check is included in role descriptions for all positions.  
  • Determine whether further criminal history checks are required for current employees who have changed employment circumstances and who have previously undertaken a criminal history check during their employment with the department.
  • Coordinate the invoicing of business units for the cost of the criminal history check conducted on nominated applicant/s.
  • Provide Payroll Services with satisfactory outcome notification for recording on the HR system following receipt of criminal history results. 

Clear Criminal History Check

  • Advise the Panel Chair that the criminal history check by Queensland Police Service is clear and that the appointment can proceed.
  • Notify nominated applicant and issue letter of offer of appointment.

Adverse Criminal History Check (i.e. existence of a criminal history)

  • Forward adverse criminal history to delegated decision makers for assessment of individual's suitability to be appointed to the position.
    • If, following the review process, it is determined that the nominated applicant is suitable for appointment, notify the Panel Chair.
    • If the review process determines that the nominated applicant is unsuitable for appointment, advise the nominated applicant and the Panel Chair of the decision and provide them with written reasons for the outcome.
  • Provide nominated applicants with reasonable opportunity to make written representations about their criminal history report, where nominated applicant's criminal history is considered to be relevant to their suitability to perform the duties of the position.

Process for engaging volunteers

  • Advise the Panel Chair of the outcome of the criminal history check. 
  • Advise the Panel Chair of the outcome of the assessment of the volunteer’s suitability and relevance of the volunteer’s criminal history to the area in which the volunteer would be working.

Talent Unit:

  • Collect, store, secure, access, use, disclose and destroy all criminal history check information in accordance with sections 169 and 172 of the Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld)Refer to Guidelines - Privacy Principles for detailed information on how to meet the department’s obligations.
  • Check that documentation to initiate criminal history check is complete:
    • Confidential Request for Criminal History Check to be conducted by Queensland Police Service form;
    • Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check form; and
    • two identification documents (legible photocopies of proof of identity which include full name, previous name/s, address, date of birth and signature e.g. Driver’s License).
  • Input information from Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check form onto the Criminal History Check database.
  • Transfer entries from the Criminal History Check database onto the Police Record Checks database. Once all entries have been entered export file to Queensland Police Service spreadsheet and email spreadsheet to the Queensland Police Service (PIC.EAUSupervisors@Police.qld.gov.au). 
  • Receive the criminal history checks report from the Queensland Police Service and update the Criminal History Check database.
  • Complete the Talent Unit QPS Results form and email to Payroll Services with a copy of the Queensland Police Service report. 
  • Complete Criminal History Check Email Advice to Panel Chair template and email to the relevant Panel Chair advising that they can proceed with appointment for the nominated applicant, if there is no relevant criminal history.
  • Send the Queensland Police Service report to the delegated decision makers if there is a relevant criminal history.
  • Store all Criminal History Checks records in confidential and secure location at all times until the expiry of the public service appeals and judicial review timeframes (three month period), after which all documents must be destroyed confidentially. 
  • Update the department’s human resource information system as required.

Business Unit Manager:

Process for recognised position:

  • Review role description prior to advertising a vacant recognised position and check that it states that a criminal history check will be conducted on the nominated applicant.
  • Pay cost of criminal history checks conducted on nominated applicant/s.
  • Ensure a written declaration of criminal history status is received from an employee who is relieving at, above or below level or undertaking higher duties for less than 6 months. The written advice should be in the form of an email from the employee. The supervisor is responsible for maintaining a record of the declaration and providing this information where requested.
  • Ensure a criminal history check is conducted where extension of a relieving period or period of temporary employment is extended to beyond the initial period of less than 6 months.
  • Ensure a criminal history check is conducted where extension of a relieving period is greater than three months in a TAFE Queensland Institute or TAFE Statutory Authority.

Process for non-recognised position:

  • Review role description prior to advertising a vacant position and check that it states that a criminal history check may be conducted on the nominated applicant.
  • Pay cost of criminal history checks conducted on nominated applicant/s.

Selection Panel Chair:

  • Ensure you are familiar with the criminal history check process.
  • Ensure all criminal history information is treated in accordance with 169 and 172 of the Public Service Act 2008 and the Information Privacy Act 2009, kept strictly confidential at all times and not included in the selection documentation or disclosed to anyone except for the purpose of assessing the suitability of the person for particular duties. Refer to Guidelines - Privacy Principles for detailed information on how to meet the department’s obligations.
  • Ensure shortlisted applicants are not asked to disclose personal criminal history information to selection panel or other public service employees during selection process other than information necessary to allow the conduct of a criminal history check. 
  • Inform applicants at the time of interview:
    • the department's requirement to conduct a criminal history check for the nominated applicant;
    • that no criminal history information will be stored on any personnel or other departmental file; and
    • all information is private and confidential.
  • Ensure nominated applicant has completed and signed the Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check form and provided two identification documents as proof of identity within seven calendar days of request.  
  • Submit the following completed documentation to the Talent Unit to arrange Criminal History Check by Queensland Police Service:
    • Confidential Request for Criminal History Check to be conducted by Queensland Police Service form; and
    • Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check form; and
    • Two identification documents as proof of identity (legible photocopies of proof of identity are required).
  • Finalise appointment if criminal history report provided by Queensland Police Service is clear.
  • Consider the second nominee on the order of merit list if the nominated applicant is found not suitable due to their criminal history.  A criminal history check must then be conducted on the second nominee.  To minimise delays with appointments:
    • Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check forms may be obtained from all shortlisted applicants at the time of interview;
    • Interviewees are to be provided with a sealable envelope for this purpose; and
    • Immediately forward envelopes containing individually completed Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check forms in a sealed envelope marked Private and Confidential to the Talent Unit or via email (all documents scanned) with Private and Confidential in the subject heading.
  • Ensure where an applicant has a criminal history and following consideration is not appointed to the position, that the selection report makes reference to the applicant not being suitable due to their criminal history.  No other detail or information is to be recorded in the selection report.
  • Ensure where an applicant has a criminal history and is appointed to the position that any special conditions placed on their employment as a consequence of their criminal history is recorded on the selection report and HR system. 
  • Retain all Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check forms obtained from the other shortlisted applicants in secure storage and destroy following the completion of the selection process.

Human Resource Managers, TAFE Queensland Institutes and TAFE Statutory Authorities:

  • Ensure you are familiar with the criminal history check process
  • Submit the following completed documentation to the Talent Unit to arrange Criminal History Check by Queensland Police Service when advised of the name of the nominated applicant:
    • Confidential Request for Criminal History Check to be conducted by Queensland Police Service form and
    • Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check form; and
    • Two identification documents as proof of identity (legible photocopies of proof of identity are required).

Procedure for engaging volunteers

  • Submit the following completed documentation to the Talent Unit to arrange Criminal History Check by Queensland Police Service:
    • Confidential Request for Criminal History Check to be conducted by Queensland Police Service form; and
    • Consent to Obtain a Criminal History Check form; and
    • Two identification documents as proof of identity (legible photocopies of proof of identity are required).
  • Understand because volunteers are not employees, the Queensland Police Service will not provide the department with any details.  Where a relevant criminal history is detected, contact the volunteer and request the volunteer to obtain a Police Certificate containing details of the relevant criminal history.
  • Forward Police Certificate and any other details provided by the volunteer to the Talent Unit for assessment of the volunteer’s suitability and relevance of the volunteer’s criminal history to the area in which the volunteer would be working.

Delegated Decision Makers:

  • Refer all matters to the Crime and Corruption Commission where it is alleged that an employee has committed a serious criminal offence in the course of their employment with the department.

Where an employee has been charged with an indictable offence

  • Determine, in consultation with the employee’s supervisor, whether the charge directly affects the performance of the employee’s duties and whether any action should be taken with respect to the employee. In making this decision, consider the nature and seriousness of the charge and whether its relationship to the employee’s duties is such that an ethical and/or professional conflict exists.

Where an employee has been convicted of an offence

  • Determine, in consultation with the employee’s supervisor, the course of action to be taken with respect to the employee.

Assessment of Suitability

  • Assess nominated applicant's suitability to be appointed to the position and decide relevance of their criminal history.
  • Ensure nominated applicants who have a criminal history that is not directly relevant to the requirements of the position are not discriminated against.
  • Determine relevance of a criminal history check giving consideration to:
    • the nature of the offences committed;
    • their imputed effects on the outcome of the required position in question; and
    • any other matters the Director-General deems relevant.
  • Ensure when a decision is made to consider the criminal history of a nominated applicant, that it is based on the nature of the relevant duties to be performed and the following circumstances are considered:
  • the perception of public and client confidence in the performance of relevant duties and in the department; and/or
  • the occupational values, code of behaviour and client service required by the performance of relevant duties.

If nominated applicant is suitable for appointment

  • Notify Panel Chair of outcome and appointment is then finalised.

If nominated applicant is not suitable for appointment

  • Ensure the principles of natural justice are applied before a final decision is made that is adverse to the interests of the employee on the basis of the criminal history checking process by allowing the person the opportunity to present a response prior to a final determination:
  • providing nominated applicant with a copy of the criminal history report;
  • immediately advising the nominated applicant of reasons for considering that an individual has a relevant criminal history which may prevent the performance of certain duties; and
  • giving nominated applicant a reasonable opportunity (within five working days) to make written representations about their criminal history report.
  • Once a response is received from the nominated applicant, a review is undertaken to make a final recommendation to the Director-General.

Director-General, or nominated delegate: 

  • Determine, following recommendation through the review process, whether an employee or nominated applicant should or should not be appointed to a position because of their criminal history.
  • Determine, following recommendation through the review process, that a current employee be deployed to other duties as their ongoing employment in their current role poses an unacceptable degree of risk to the department, but they are still suitable for employment with the department.

Process

Online Resources

Review Date

31/03/2014
Attribution CC BY

Applicant
A person applying for a job in the department who, depending on the duration and location of the position applied for, may be required to undergo a requisite criminal history check.

Appointment
The employment of a person to work in the department in any paid or unpaid employment capacity including volunteering.

Criminal history
The conviction/s for criminal offences recorded against a person. Criminal history does not include spent convictions, e.g. quashed convictions, pardons or those convictions for which a person was not sentenced or where the rehabilitation period has ended.  Refer to Employment Screening Directive for more detailed information.

  • Clear criminal history
    When the department receives advice from the Queensland Police Service that the recommended applicant has a clear criminal history, the department advises a satisfactory outcome of the criminal history check to the Panel Chair or Authorised Officer who requested the check.  The proposed appointment of the recommended applicant can proceed.
  • Adverse criminal history
    When the department receives advice from the Queensland Police Service that the recommended applicant has an adverse criminal history, the department will consider and determine the suitability of the recommended applicant through a review process and advise the outcome of the review to the Panel Chair or Authorised Officer who requested the check.  The proposed appointment of the recommended applicant may or may not proceed.
  • Adverse decision
    The recommended applicant is considered unsuitable for engagement to perform the relevant duties of the position and/or employment with the department.

Employment screening
The process of undertaking criminal history checks or other relevant checks authorised by legislation to determine the suitability of a recommended applicant.

Engaging a person/ engagement
Acting, relieving, higher duties, appointing, employing, promoting, redeploying, transferring or seconding an individual, work performance or interchange arrangements, training an apprentice or trainee within the meaning of the Further Education and Training Act (Qld).

Proof of identity
Proof of identity must be either:

  • Two primary identification documents; or
  • One primary identification document and one secondary identification document; or
  • any other document or documents that, in the chief executive’s opinion, are capable of establishing the person’s identity.

Providing that the document or documents show between them the person’s full name, previous name/s, address, date of birth and signature.

  • Primary identification documents:  birth certificate, citizenship certificate, current Australian or overseas passport, current Department of Immigration and Citizenship travel document, current driver’s licence, or current proof of age card.
  • Secondary identification documents: current identification card issued by the Commonwealth or a State as evidence of the person’s entitlement to a financial benefit (e.g. Medicare card, pensioner concession card), financial institution cards or statements, student identification cards issued by an Australian educational institution or recent notice of assessment issued under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth).

Recognised positions
Recognised positions are positions that have:

  • financial responsibilities (other than petty cash), or
  • been recognised as carrying a risk to the safety and proper operations of the organisation and/or being detrimental to public confidence in the department if an individual with a relevant criminal history were engaged.

Recognised positions include but are not limited to:

  • All DET positions at the Senior Officer and Senior Executive level
  • All positions operating in or out of TAFE Queensland Institutes and Statutory Authorities
  • Casuals and volunteers operating in or out of TAFE Queensland Institutes or TAFE Statutory Authorities
  • Auditors
  • Human Resources employees
  • Ethical Standards employees
  • Legal and Administrative Law Branch employees (other than employees who are currently admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland)
  • Finance Officers (Regional Office, Central Office and school based employees)
  • Information and Technology Branch employees
  • Corporate Procurement employees
  • Infrastructure Services employees
  • Information Technology employees – any work location
  • Business Service Managers
  • School Administration Officers (including Administrative Assistance Enhancement Program)
  • Schools Officers (Grounds and Facilities)
  • Teacher Aides (if they are relieving in an administrative role or handling money).

Recommended applicant
A person recommended for appointment to a role for which the provision of a criminal history is required.

Relevant duties
Duties, other than child-related duties, that the Director-General of the Department of Education and Training decides may require criminal history checking as part of the assessment of the person’s suitability for the duties.