When researching for information about police checks or applying for a police check online, you might find that the term ACIC accredited body comes up frequently on the different websites of National Police Check (NPC) providers. To ensure you have a good understanding of what a police check is and what the process entails, it’s important to be aware of what an accredited body is.
When applying for an Australian police check, you should use an ACIC accredited provider to ensure the process is done properly. An accredited body will submit a police check on your behalf in order to perform a criminal background check. The results of this will appear on a National Police Certificate. Here is all you need to know about ACIC accredited bodies.
What Is An ACIC Accredited Body?
An ACIC accredited body is an organisation, business or company in Australia that has received acceptance and approval from ACIC to give access to the National Police Checking Service. Access to this service allows the accredited body to request a National Police Check on behalf of individuals who require one.
Accredited bodies are granted a level of authority and trust to use the National Police Checking Service Support System (NSS) and retrieve the applicant’s police history results.
The accredited body is entrusted with confidential information and is responsible for securing the safety of that information.
What Is ACIC?
ACIC stands for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission is the national agency for criminal intelligence in Australia. ACIC works closely with Australian government and law enforcement agencies to fight crime by sharing information between police forces through its services.
According to the ACIC website, its motto is to create ‘An Australia hostile to criminal exploitation’.
What Does ACIC Do?
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission reacts to crime on a national scale in Australia. Through the National Police Checking Service, criminal information can be shared across all states and territories in Australia through law enforcement agencies and police databases. This helps the nation to keep track of criminal activity, conduct background checks, and to tackle crime of the highest level. ACIC aims to keep the nation and the community safe.
What Does An Accredited Body Do?
An accredited body will serve as a provider of Australian Police Checks for individuals who require a check as part of employment screening, registering, licencing and legal purposes. It will submit applications on behalf of the applicant and deliver the results back to them, following national police clearance.
What Is The National Police Checking Service?
The National Police Checking Service (NPCS) is the system which holds the information of police history records. All accredited bodies have equal access to the service, and use it to search and match applicant’s to Persons of Interest.
What Is A Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?
A Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is also known as a National Police Check (NPC). It is delivered as a National Police Certificate which shows the results of a person’s criminal record check taken from the police information gathered in all states and territories. It is mainly used for identity verification purposes and most commonly for pre-employment screening with companies.
Who Can Become An Accredited Body?
There are currently over 180 ACIC accredited bodies in Australia. If successful, the ACIC website states that the following types of organisations can become an accredited body:
- Federal, state and local Australian government agencies
- Businesses in the private sector
- Not-for-profit organisations
- Screening services for child and vulnerable person-related employment
Who Do Accredited Bodies Work For?
Any accredited body will have the potential to submit police check requests for many people and for many purposes. When applying for accreditation, there are different categories available to choose from for who you want to submit police checks for. These are as follows:
- Members of the general public
- Other organisations
- Existing employees or potential new employees
- Individuals for licencing and registration reasons
What Makes An Organisation Eligible?
Over a 5 year period, more than 500 police checks provided by an organisation will warrant possible eligibility for ACIC accreditation, according to the Commission’s website. However, the organisation must be able to prove that its work serves as an important measure for the safety of the community, and that it benefits the community in some way.
I Would Like To Become Accredited. Am I Eligible?
If you are an organisation and would like to become ACIC accredited, there are many requirements which must be demonstrated to meet the eligibility criteria.
All organisations must be able to demonstrate the following:
- Their work offers a positive contribution to community safety by using the police checking service
- Registration as a business in Australia with the relevant authorities i.e. the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or with the Australian Business Register (ABR)
- Meet the minimum criteria for police checks submitted i.e. 500 checks submitted over a period of 5 years
- Be a legal entity
- Comply to the Agreement in order to access the police checking service
More information about the eligibility criteria and process can be found on the ACIC website.
What Is The Agreement?
Every organisation which becomes ACIC accredited must confirm that they have read and understood the conditions of the Agreement, a legally binding contract called the Agreement for controlled access by duly Accredited Bodies to Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks. The Agreement lasts for 5 years unless it is terminated early, for instance, if the organisation has not met its obligations.
The company must comply with several legalities including the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 (Cth), the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), Australian Privacy Principles and Spent Conviction schemes. The Agreement must be read, understood and signed before access is granted to the organisation, allowing it to use the service.
Please note, your organisation will be assessed throughout the term of the contract to ensure all obligations are being met. Failure to do so may result in your organisation losing its accreditation and thereby losing access to the service.
Full details of the Agreement can be found here on the website of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
What Is The Accreditation Process?
7 steps are listed as part of the accreditation process with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
- The organisation must complete the online questionnaire provided by ACIC. This step will determine eligibility and allow you to progress to the next step if you are successful.
- The organisation must then complete and submit the application form
- Following receipt of the application form, ACIC will determine if you are a suitable organisation to register as an accredited body
- You will receive in writing whether your application has been approved or denied
- The agreement is signed and finalised
- Training is supplied for using the service
- In the final step, your organisation will be ready to begin submitting police checks and actively work as an accredited body
How Does An NPC Provider Get Certified?
An organisation which can provide a National Police Check will need to meet a number of requirements set out by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to become ACIC certified. The organisation must have provided the minimum volume of police checks, which is 500 police checks over 5 years, to be given the opportunity to become ACIC accredited. There are several other steps to be taken to meet the standards required, including being able to demonstrate the benefit that the organisation brings to public safety.
After meeting the initial criteria, the organisation must then follow the official process to become an accredited body.
What Legislation Applies?
All accredited bodies who have access to the National Police Checking Service are granted a level of trust. You and your organisation will be responsible for safely storing the personal information of individuals who have applied for a National Police Check. There are laws in place to ensure the protection of information gathered and held by the accredited body. The information gathered from a background check is in compliance with relevant Australian state and territory legislation, as well as Commonwealth laws. Accredited bodies must also respect privacy laws as outlined in the Privacy Act 1988.
How Does An Accredited Body Demonstrate Compliance?
An accredited body can demonstrate its compliance by strictly following the rules and guidelines provided by ACIC. A program is in place to review the organisation throughout the length of the contract. This includes reviewing data quality, investigations into accusations of the company not complying, periodic reviews and ongoing assessments.
By monitoring the companies compliance to the Agreement, professional standards are kept and the correct laws are followed to ensure the protection of individuals using the NPC provider.
What Are The Expectations of An ACIC Accredited Body?
Once qualified as an accredited body with ACIC, the organisation enters into a legal contract. The organisation must administer certain protocols and increase security standards to be able to participate in the scheme and to access the National Police Checking Service.
Full compliance is expected throughout the contract and this will be assessed regularly. In some cases, access to the system will be terminated before the contract ends.
ACIC lays out 9 steps to reach full access to the service.
- Collect police check application
- Collect informed consent from the applicant
- Verify the identity of the applicant
- Lodge the application and monitor it
- Receive check result
- Provision of check result
- Take care of any queries or disputes about check results
- Retain information
- Dispose of information
What Is Informed Consent?
Every Police Check Australia requires consent from the individual applying for the check. Without the applicant’s consent, the check cannot be processed. It is the responsibility of the NPC provider to obtain consent, and the responsibility of the applicant to fully understand what they are consenting to.
Every applicant must read all information provided and understand how their personal and police information will be handled when applying for a police check online. They must then give consent to the NPC provider to submit the check on their behalf.
How Long Does It Take To Process A Police Check?
The National Police Checking Service is handled by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, accredited bodies and police agencies. The service will always aim to complete a police check as soon as possible and have results turned over fast.
Roughly 70% are completed within 1 hour if no match is found and the applicant has No Disclosable Court Outcomes, while 30% are subject to further review and may take up to 15 business days to retrieve results.
The accredited body you use is not responsible for the time taken to process the application. Once they have submitted your check, the process time is out of their hands.