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					                                                  Guideline



1.   Title:      Employment Screening Guideline
2.   Effective Date:   1 July 2008
Table of Contents
1             INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. 4
     1.1    EMPLOYMENT SCREENING UNDER THE PUBLIC SERVICE ACT 2008 ............................................ 4
     1.2    CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECKS FOR RELEVANT DUTIES ................................................................... 4
     1.3    POLICE INFORMATION CHECK FOR CHILD-RELATED DUTIES ......................................................... 4
2             REGULATORY FRAMEWORK .......................................................................................... 4
3             CIRCUMSTANCES FOR INITIATING EMPLOYMENT SCREENING ............................... 5
     3.1    RELEVANT DUTIES ................................................................................................................... 5
     3.2    CHILD-RELATED DUTIES ........................................................................................................... 5
     3.3    CHANGES IN PERSONAL/EMPLOYMENT CIRCUMSTANCES ............................................................ 6
     3.4    DUPLICATION OF SCREENING .................................................................................................... 6
     3.5    INFORM CANDIDATES THAT SCREENING WILL BE REQUIRED ......................................................... 6
4             EXEMPT PERSONS FOR CHILD-RELATED CHECKS .................................................... 7
     4.1    W HY HAVE EXEMPT PERSONS? ................................................................................................. 7
     4.2    W HO IS EXEMPT FROM CHILD-RELATED CHECKS? ...................................................................... 7
     4.3    PROCESS TO VERIFY CURRENCY OF PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION OR BLUE CARD ..................... 8
     4.4    MONITORING EXPIRY/RENEWAL DATES OF BLUE CARDS AND PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION ......... 9
5             WHAT INFORMATION CAN BE DISCLOSED THROUGH POLICE INFORMATION OR
              CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECKS? ........................................................................................ 9
     5.1    RELEVANT DUTIES ................................................................................................................... 9
     5.2    CHILD-RELATED DUTIES ........................................................................................................... 9
6             KEY PERSONNEL RESPONSIBILITIES .......................................................................... 10
     6.1    CHIEF EXECUTIVES ................................................................................................................ 10
     6.2    AGENCY CO-ORDINATORS ...................................................................................................... 10
     6.3    SELECTION PANELS ............................................................................................................... 11
7             PROCESS ......................................................................................................................... 11
     7.1    SEEK CONSENT ..................................................................................................................... 11
     7.2    CONFIRMING IDENTIFICATION.................................................................................................. 11
     7.3    SEND REQUEST TO QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE ................................................................. 12
8             ASSESSMENT OF INFORMATION ................................................................................. 13
     8.1    RELEVANT DUTIES ................................................................................................................. 13
     8.2    CHILD-RELATED DUTIES ......................................................................................................... 14
     8.3    USE OF DISCRETION IN DECISION-MAKING FOR CHILD-RELATED DUTIES ..................................... 16
     8.4    DELEGATION OF ASSESSMENT ................................................................................................ 17
9             ADVERSE DECISION ....................................................................................................... 17
     9.1    NATURAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLES ................................................................................................ 17
10            AFTER AN ADVERSE DECISION .................................................................................... 18
     10.1   JOB PLACEMENT FOR CURRENT PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES ................................................... 18
     10.2   APPEALS ............................................................................................................................... 18
11            ONGOING MONITORING ................................................................................................ 19
     11.1   CURRENT EMPLOYEE’S OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSE.................................................................... 20
     11.2   PROSECUTING AUTHORITY’S OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSE ............................................................ 20
     11.3   DISCIPLINARY MEASURES IF NO DISCLOSURE ........................................................................... 20
     11.4   SUSPENSION OF CURRENT EMPLOYEES PENDING FURTHER INVESTIGATION ABOUT NEW CRIMINAL
             HISTORY OR POLICE INFORMATION ........................................................................................ 20
     11.5   MONITORING OF EXEMPT PERSON STATUS .............................................................................. 21
12            MANAGING EMPLOYMENT SCREENING INFORMATION ........................................... 21



Employment Screening Guideline                                                                                                                           2
     12.1   RETENTION, DESTRUCTION AND SAFE DISPOSAL OF EMPLOYMENT SCREENING INFORMATION ..... 21
     12.2   PRIVACY ............................................................................................................................... 22
13            SECTION 165 SCREENING ARRANGEMENTS ............................................................. 23
     13.1   W HAT ENTITIES ARE ‘PRESCRIBED ENTITIES’?.......................................................................... 23
     13.2   PROCESS FOR AGENCIES ....................................................................................................... 23




Employment Screening Guideline                                                                                                                           3
1        Introduction
These guidelines assist Queensland public service agencies to implement the
directive and legislative provisions relating to employment screening.           The
guidelines do not form part of the directive and are not to be used to determine
disputes regarding interpretation of the directive relating to employment screening.

1.1      Employment screening under the Public Service Act 2008
    The Public Service Act 2008 provides for employment screening for Queensland public service
    employees and prospective employees in certain circumstances. Two types of screening are
    provided for under that Act:
        Criminal history check for relevant duties; and
        Police information check for child-related duties.

    The provisions relating to employment screening:
       ensure safety and security for the Queensland community, particularly children;
       maintain public confidence in the integrity of the Queensland public service; and
       are balanced by the need for fair treatment and rehabilitation of Queensland public service
        employees and prospective employees who have committed certain offences.

    The directive relating to employment screening:
     supports the provisions in the Public Service Act 2008;
     assists agencies to conduct screening in accordance with the Public Service Act 2008;
     ensures employees and prospective employees who have a criminal history are dealt with
      consistently and fairly;
     compliments directives on recruitment and selection, grievance resolution and appeals.

    These guidelines:
       inform and support the provisions in the Public Service Act 2008;
       advise on the directive relating to employment screening; and
       further inform agencies about the procedures relevant to screening.

1.2      Criminal history checks for relevant duties
    The criminal history of a person discloses the convictions recorded against that person in
    respect of criminal offences. A criminal history will not disclose convictions that have been
    rehabilitated under the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986.

1.3      Police information check for child-related duties
    Jobs which involve the performance of child-related duties are regarded as highly sensitive and
    require stricter screening requirements to ensure that children are protected and any risk of
    harm is minimised. Accordingly, police information checks are not limited by the operation of
    the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986.
    Police information checking is mandatory for jobs with child-related duties whilst criminal history
    checking for relevant duties is at the discretion of chief executives.




2 Regulatory framework
Unless employment screening is dealt with under specific legislation, the provisions of Chapter 5,
Part 6 of the Public Service Act 2008 and the directive relating to employment screening applies to:



Employment Screening Guideline                                                                        4
       public service employees engaged under the Public Service Act 2008, and
       employees to whom the directive is applied through the Public Service Regulation 2008.
These provisions apply only to those Queensland Government agencies which currently do not
have specific legislation dealing with the conduct of criminal history checking. These provisions do
not override criminal history provisions in other specific legislation, eg. Family Services Act 1987,
Child Protection Act 1992. Provisions in other legislation often require a more detailed criminal
history report.


3 Circumstances for initiating employment screening
3.1     Relevant duties
    A chief executive’s decision to conduct a criminal history check must be based primarily on a
    strong link between the relevant duties of a particular job and a person’s suitability to perform
    them. Under the Public Service Act 2008, a chief executive may decide if certain duties are
    relevant and as such, may require a criminal history check to be conducted. For example,
    relevant duties could include the handling of cash in a department; or likely contact with drugs.


    Chief executives may consider criminal history checks when public or client confidence in the
    agency and in the specific position would be seriously eroded if a person with a particular
    criminal history were appointed.

3.2     Child-related duties
    A chief executive must conduct employment screening on any person who is to be engaged,
    or continue to be engaged, to perform child-related duties. Any employee who has not
    undergone employment screening, must not work or commence work in child-related duties.


    Child-related duties means duties that an employing entity’s chief executive decides are likely
    to involve providing dedicated services or activities where a child or children is/are the primary
    or significant client group or where the nature of contact with a child or children, and the
    context in which that contact happens, creates an unacceptable level of risk for the
    child/children.


    As part of deciding whether a job is child-related, in addition to the above criteria, chief
    executives may wish to take into account the frequency of contact with children that is
    reasonably expected. If an employee is likely to carry out work that involves children for:
       at least 8 consecutive days; or
       at least once a week for each week during a period of 4 weeks; or
       at least once a fortnight for each fortnight during a period of 8 weeks; or
       at least once a month for each month during a period of 6 months,
    this should increase the need for employment screening to be conducted prior to the employee
    commencing work.


    Chief executives must ensure that all employees who are performing child-related duties are
    screened at least once every two years. This means that agencies must ensure that
    appropriate measures are in place to monitor the frequency of screening to ensure it remains
    current.




Employment Screening Guideline                                                                       5
3.3     Changes in personal/employment circumstances
    Employment screening of a current employee may be conducted as a result of changed
    employment circumstances which warrants the screening or as a result of the notification of a
    relevant charge or conviction by the employee. These changed circumstances can include:
       redeployment, secondment, transfer and appointment to a job;
       work performance or interchange arrangements1;
       starting training as an apprentice or trainee; or
       incorporation of new tasks or responsibilities into a job.

3.4     Duplication of screening
    Employees may be subject to employment screening processes in a variety of ways, including
    through a professional registration process or other screening, such as a blue card.


    To avoid unnecessary duplication of screening, agencies are encouraged to consider whether
    the employee has previously been the subject of an employment screening process before
    initiating further screening. This does not apply for employees engaged, or to be engaged, in
    child-related duties.


    Prior to initiating further screening, agencies may consider:
       What the scope of the previous screening was, including whether further screening will
        provide additional, relevant information for determining the person’s suitability for the job;
       The purpose for which the previous screening process was undertaken;
       The time that has elapsed since the previous screening process; and
       Any monitoring of changes to information that has been in place since a previous screening
        process.

3.5     Inform candidates that screening will be required
    The agency must ensure that all candidates are informed about the employment screening
    requirements for any job involving relevant or child-related duties. This can be achieved by
    including a statement with the role description for the job.


    The following is suggested wording for jobs involving relevant duties:


        ‘Due to the nature of the duties that this role involves, a criminal history check is required to
        be performed on the recommended person prior to employment. A criminal history check is
        a confidential process and will not be undertaken without the recommended person’s
        written consent.


        The suitability of the recommended person will be assessed in the context of the relevance
        of any offence to the duties of this role. If an offence is relevant to this role, factors which
        will be taken into account include the seriousness and frequency of the offence; the amount
        of time since it occurred; whether the offence is still a crime; and any relevant work history
        within the Queensland public service. A final decision will not be made until the preferred
        applicant has been given a copy of the criminal history report and provided with an



1
 See section 183 (Work performance arrangements) and section 184 (Interchange arrangements) for
definitions of these terms.

Employment Screening Guideline                                                                          6
        opportunity to make written representations as to why they are suitable to perform the
        relevant duties.


        If you need further detail about criminal history checking at any stage, please discuss with
        the nominated contact person for this role’.


    The following is suggested wording for jobs involving child-related duties:


        ‘Because this role involves performing child-related duties, a mandatory police information
        check must be performed on the recommended person prior to employment. A police
        information check is not limited by the operation of the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of
        Offenders) Act 1986 and therefore may disclose recorded or unrecorded convictions,
        charges, expired convictions and investigative information. A police information check is a
        confidential process and will not be undertaken without the recommended person’s written
        consent.


        The suitability of the recommended person will be assessed against legislative criteria. A
        final decision will not be made until the recommended person has been given a copy of the
        police information report and provided with an opportunity to make written representations
        as to why they are suitable to perform the child-related duties.


        If you need further detail about police information checking at any stage, please discuss
        with the nominated contact person for this role’.


4 Exempt persons for child-related checks

    4.1     Why have exempt persons?
    By exempting certain persons from police information checking, the Public Service Act 2008
    enables government agencies to avoid duplication of comparable screening processes
    therefore providing for more cost-efficient practices and minimising any delays in recruitment.
    Exempt persons are subject to police information checking through other process, such as
    professional registration.


    4.2     Who is exempt from child-related checks?
    Police information checking need not to be carried out on the following persons:
    (a) a registered teacher or someone who has permission to teach under the Education
    (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005;
    (b) the holder of a current blue card issued under the Commission for Children and Young
    People and Child Guardian Act 2000;
    (c) an Australian lawyer employed by a government service provider as defined in the
    Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000; and an Australian
    legal practitioner as defined under the Legal Profession Act 2007.
    Australian lawyers who do not hold a current practising certificate and who are not employed
    by a government service provider must be subject to police information checking.
    (d) a registered health practitioner who is a person registered under any of the following Acts—


Employment Screening Guideline                                                                         7
    • Chiropractors Registration Act 2001
    • Dental Practitioners Registration Act 2001
    • Dental Technicians and Dental Prosthetists Registration Act 2001
    • Medical Practitioners Registration Act 2001
    • Medical Radiation Technologists Registration Act 2001
    • Occupational Therapists Registration Act 2001
    • Optometrists Registration Act 2001
    • Osteopaths Registration Act 2001
    • Pharmacists Registration Act 2001
    • Physiotherapists Registration Act 2001
    • Podiatrists Registration Act 2001
    • Psychologists Registration Act 2001
    • Speech Pathologists Registration Act 2001
       Nursing Act 1992.


    4.3 Process to verify currency of professional registration or blue
       card
    A chief executive who decides not to carry out police information checking on an exempt
    person must be satisfied that the person’s professional registration or blue card is current. The
    processes to verify the currency of a person’s professional registration or blue card are as
    follows:


    (a) For teachers: Search the teachers register on the Queensland College of Teachers’ website
    at http://www.qct.edu.au/Online/RegSearch/RegSearch.aspx.


    (b) For blue card holders: Lodge the form ‘Authorisation to confirm a valid blue card’ with the
    Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian. The form may be obtained
    through the Commission for Children’s website:
    http://www.ccypcg.qld.gov.au/employment/bluecard/applications.html or be found in Appendix
    7 to these guidelines.


    (c) For lawyers: Sight the lawyer’s practising certificate or, where the lawyer does not hold a
    practising certificate but is employed by government service provider, sight the lawyer’s
    certificate of admission to the legal profession. It is also recommended that a search is
    conducted      of     the   Legal    Services     Commission’s       discipline   register   on
    http://www.lsc.qld.gov.au/173.htm#search .


    (d) For registered health practitioners: To verify the currency of the registration of health
    practitioners (other than doctors or nurses) conduct a search of the relevant register on:
    http://www.healthregboards.qld.gov.au/ . To verify the currency of the registration of nurses you
    may search the Queensland Nursing Council’s register at


Employment Screening Guideline                                                                          8
    http://www.qnc.qld.gov.au/register/register.aspx?P=paea. To verify the currency of the
    registration of doctors, conduct a search of the Medical Board of Queensland’s register at
    http://www.medicalboard.qld.gov.au/publicAccess/.


    4.4 Monitoring expiry/renewal dates of blue cards and professional
       registration
    A person whose professional registration or blue card has expired is not an exempt person for
    the purposes of police information checking for child-related duties. Accordingly, a chief
    executive must monitor the expiry/renewal dates of professional registration and blue cards
    and, if they expire without renewal, a chief executive must ensure that a police information
    check is carried out.


5 What information can be disclosed                                       through          police
  information or criminal history checks?
    The provisions under the Public Service Act 2008 provide for two types of employment
    screening. The information that can be disclosed to an agency will vary depending on the
    types of screening that is requested.


    5.1     Relevant duties
    The disclosure of criminal history information under Chapter 5, Part 6, Division 2 (Relevant
    duties) of the Public Service Act 2008 is subject to the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of
    Offenders) Act 1986. This means that the information that can be disclosed to agencies
    includes:
       Recorded convictions as an adult where the sentence was more than 30 months
        imprisonment;
       Recorded convictions as an adult in the District or Supreme Court (and indictable
        convictions heard in the Magistrates Court) that were imposed in the past ten years;
       Other recorded convictions as an adult in the Magistrates Court that were imposed in the
        past five years.


    Some criminal history information is not able to be disclosed. This includes:
       unrecorded convictions;
       convictions recorded when a child;
       recorded convictions in the District or Supreme Courts and indictable convictions heard in
        the Magistrates Court with sentences of less than 30 months which occurred more than 10
        years ago;
       other recorded convictions in the Magistrates Court with sentences of less than 30 months
        which occurred more than 5 years ago;
       quashed convictions;
       charges; and
       current investigations.


    5.2     Child-related duties
    The disclosure of criminal history information under Chapter 5, Part 6, Division 3 (Child-related
    duties) of the Public Service Act 2008 is not subject to the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of


Employment Screening Guideline                                                                      9
    Offenders) Act 1986.         This means that the information that can be disclosed to agencies
    includes:
       Any charge or conviction for an offence, whether or not a conviction is recorded;
       Whether the person is a respondent to, or subject to an application for a child; protection
        prohibition order or a disqualification order;
       Whether the person is subject to reporting obligations under the Child Protection (Offender
        Reporting) Act 2004.


    In addition, reports can include information from police investigations into allegations of serious
    child-related sexual offences, even if no charges were laid because the child was unwilling or
    unable to proceed.


    If the report contains information about a conviction, charge or investigative information, a chief
    executive may ask the police commissioner for a brief description of the circumstances of the
    conviction, charge or investigative information.


6 Key personnel responsibilities

    6.1     Chief executives
    Chief executives must determine whether a job involves relevant or child-related duties.
    Where a job involves relevant duties, the chief executive may decide whether criminal history
    checks of prospective employees are required to ensure they are suitable to perform the
    relevant duties.
    Where a job involves child-related duties the chief executive must ensure that:
       The agency conducts police information checking on any recommended person that is to
        be employed with the agency after 1 July 2008;
       The agency conducts police information checking of any person engaged in child-related
        duties every 2 years.
    Chief executives must also ensure that their agencies have risk management strategies in
    place for child-related or associated employment, as specified in the directive on employment
    screening.


    6.2     Agency Co-ordinators
    Agencies are encouraged to nominate a senior officer to coordinate employment screening
    within that agency.


    A coordinator can facilitate the agency’s implementation of the extensive and sometimes
    complex legislative provisions on employment screening by:
       assisting human resources staff in the conduct of employment screening;
       clarifying the agency’s responsibilities under the legislation;
       developing and implementing employment screening policies and procedures. Policies and
        procedures may be agency-specific, provided that they are consistent with the legislative
        framework for employment screening.




Employment Screening Guideline                                                                       10
    6.3     Selection panels
    The selection panel or another public service employee may not ask candidates to disclose
    anything about their criminal history or police information before or during an interview. Such
    information can only be obtained from the Queensland Police Service after receipt of a
    person’s written consent. See section 7.1 about seeking consent.


    Public service employees are under a legal obligation not to disclose information or be given
    information about someone else’s criminal history or police information except for the purpose
    of assessing the suitability of a recommended person for a particular job.


7 Process
    Once the selection panel has recommended a person for the job, the next step is to carry out
    the employment screening process.


    7.1     Seek consent
    Employment screening can only occur with the written consent of the person to be screened. If
    the person is under 18 years of age, written consent from a parent/guardian will be required.
    Agencies may seek written consent to screening at any time during the selection process but
    may only conduct screening on the recommended person.
    To ensure that unnecessary delays in recruitment are minimised, consent may be sought at
    any time during the selection process. It is suggested that consent is sought from candidates
    at the short-listing stage. If a recommended person is subsequently found to be unsuitable to
    perform relevant or child-related duties, the agency can simply proceed to screen the next
    recommended person, without having to seek and wait for that person’s consent to screening.
    Agencies must seek written consent to police information checking from current employees
    engaged in child-related duties at least every two (2) years. Written consent to police
    information checking must also be sought from a person who ceased being an exempt person
    due to the expiration of the person’s professional registration or blue card.
    Persons from whom written consent is sought must provide both the consent and proof of
    identity within 7 days from the day the request was made. Failure to provide these without a
    reasonable explanation will be deemed as refusal to consent.
    Where a person refuses consent, the agency is not required to consider or further consider that
    person for engagement to perform the relevant or child-related duties.
    Where consent has not been obtained, a chief executive must ensure the person does not
    perform the duties which required screening. This may require a chief executive to
    relocate/transfer a current employee to another job at their equivalent (substantive)
    classification level or, in relation to prospective employees, to consider the next recommended
    person for screening.


    See Appendix 1 for a sample consent form for relevant duties or child-related duties checks.


    7.2     Confirming identification
    Proof of identity must be established prior to requesting a criminal history or police information
    report from the Queensland Police Service. Establishing and verifying “identity” is not always
    straightforward. Many people share common names and women often change their names

Employment Screening Guideline                                                                      11
    upon marriage or divorce. In all circumstances it is essential that people provide their full
    name, any of their previous names and the date and place of their birth to ensure that their
    identity is confirmed. The person must show:
       2 primary identification documents; or
       1 primary and 1 secondary identification documents; or
       Any other document or documents that, in the opinion of the chief executive, is capable of
        establishing the person’s identity.


    The documents must show, between them, the person’s full name, date of birth and signature.


    Primary identification documents are:
       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 card or statement;
       Student identification card issued by an Australian education institution; or
       Recent notice of assessment under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cwlth).


    7.3       Send request to Queensland Police Service
    Upon receipt of written consent, the next step will be to request a criminal history or police
    information report from the Queensland Police Service. However, before making a request
    agencies should ensure that all the following has been completed:
           the recommended person’s identity has been confirmed by documentary evidence as
            indicated in the directive relating to employment screening;
           written consent has been obtained on the required form to conduct the criminal history
            or police information check and the form is attached to the letter of request; and
           the individual’s full name, previous name/s, date and place of birth are specified in the
            designated boxes in the table.
    All requests for criminal history or police information must fulfil the requirements of Chapter 5,
    Part 6 of the Act and must be in writing. See Appendix 1 for a sample letter of request to
    Queensland Police Service.
    Following the written request, the Queensland Police Service will then request a search of the
    National Criminal History Record Checking (NCHRC) system managed by the CrimTrac
    agency. All relevant criminal history or police information records will be gathered. This is
    subject to legislation and policy in other states regarding disclosure of such information.
    CrimTrac and the Queensland Police Service each charge agencies a small fee per search.



Employment Screening Guideline                                                                      12
     After reviewing the relevant legislation regarding disclosable and non-disclosable information,
     the Queensland Police Service will then advise agencies:


           1. If the person has no criminal history or a criminal history that cannot be disclosed, it
              will be indicated on the covering letter with "No Criminal History Disclosed".
or
           2. If the person has a criminal history that can be disclosed to the requesting agency,
              the criminal history information is forwarded to that agency. This will be indicated on
              the covering letter with, "Disclosable Court Outcomes attached". The description of
              the charge, conviction or investigative information alone may not be sufficient to make
              a decision about a person’s suitability. Where agencies identify a relevant charge,
              conviction or investigative information, they may request further information from the
              Queensland Police Service. Additionally, agencies may need to consider accessing
              further information from other sources in relation the criminal history, for example,
              information from the Director of Public Prosecutions or transcripts from the State
              Reporting Bureau. See Appendix 6 for contact details of relevant organisations.




8 Assessment of information

     8.1       Relevant duties
     In the majority of cases, the recommended person will not have a criminal history. When they
     do have a disclosable criminal history, the chief executive must have regard to their criminal
     history and make a decision about their suitability to perform the relevant duties.


     Chief executives have a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the Queensland
     community and sustain public confidence in the integrity of the Queensland public service.
     However, chief executives should balance these factors with the fair treatment and
     rehabilitation of people who have committed certain offences and who work, or would like to
     work, in the Queensland public service.


     If the recommended person does have a disclosable criminal history, the chief executive must
     consider the nature of the offences in relation to the job’s relevant duties. In addition, chief
     executives should have regard to:


            the seriousness and frequency of any offence;
            the amount of time that has elapsed since the offence occurred;
            whether any relevant offence is still a crime; and
            any relevant work history of the person in the Queensland public service.



     A criminal record does not necessarily disqualify a person from employment in the Queensland
     public service. For example, an offence committed nine years ago for which the person

Employment Screening Guideline                                                                      13
    received a sentence of six months may not be considered as relevant to the person’s
    performance of relevant duties. Some convictions may not be relevant to the performance of
    the duties, or there may have been particular circumstances resulting in a conviction which
    may not be relevant to the performance of the duties.


    8.2     Child-related duties
    The framework for assessing whether a person is suitable for child-related duties is set out in
    Chapter 5, Part 6, Division 3 of the Public Service Act 2008. The paramount consideration
    when making a decision about a person’s suitability for child-related duties is the safety and
    wellbeing of children, and in particular a child’s entitlement to be cared for in a way that
    protects them from harm and promotes their wellbeing.


    The outcome of the assessment process will, as described in the table below, be influenced by
    the information about the employee of which the agency is aware.


Information                                      Assessment process

No police information.                           Chief executive must decide the person is
                                                 suitable for child-related duties.

No conviction for any offence, but the chief Chief executive must decide the person is
executive is aware of investigative suitable for child-related duties unless
information.                                  satisfied that there is an exceptional case in
                                              which it would not be in the best interests of
No conviction for any offence, but the chief children to decide the person is suitable.
executive is aware of a charge for an offence
other than a disqualifying offence.

No conviction for any offence, but the chief
executive is aware of a charge for a
disqualifying offence that has been dealt with
other than by conviction.

Conviction for an offence other than a
serious offence.

Conviction for a serious offence (other than a Chief executive must decide the person is
conviction for a disqualifying offence for not suitable for child-related duties unless
which an imprisonment order was imposed). satisfied that there is an exceptional case in
                                               which it would not harm the best interests of
                                               children to have the person perform child-
                                               related duties.

Conviction for a disqualifying offence for Chief executive must decide the person is
which an imprisonment order was imposed    not suitable for child-related duties.

Disqualification order made under the Chief executive must decide the person is
Commission for Children and Young People not suitable for child-related duties.
and Child Guardian Act 2000 (section 126C)

Disqualification order made under the Child Chief executive must decide the person is
Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2000 not suitable for child-related duties.


Employment Screening Guideline                                                                   14
(section 24A).

Person has been subject to a final offender Chief executive must decide the person is
prohibition order made under the Child not suitable for child-related duties.
Protection (Offender Prohibition Order) Act
2000.

Person has been subject to reporting Chief executive must decide the person is
obligations under the Child Protection not suitable for child-related duties.
(Offender Reporting) Act 20042.


    Serious offences – see the Public Service Act 2008 for definition. A list of relevant offences is
    extracted in Appendix 2 of these guidelines.


    Disqualifying offences – see the Public Service Act for definition. A list of relevant offences is
    extracted in Appendix 3 of these guidelines.




2
 Agencies will not receive advice from the Queensland Police Service that a person is subject to reporting obligations.
Instead the advice will be that a person is a ‘relevant disqualified person’.

Employment Screening Guideline                                                                                            15
    8.3     Use of discretion in decision-making for child-related duties
    In some cases where police information about a person is disclosed, a chief executive has a
    discretion as to whether a person is suitable for child-related duties. In deciding whether to
    exercise this discretion, the paramount consideration must be a child’s entitlement to be cared
    for in a way that protects them from harm and promotes their wellbeing.


    The Public Service Act 2008 also requires chief executives to consider whether the
    circumstances of the person’s particular case are “exceptional” (see the Assessment Process
    table in 8.2 above).


    Exceptional case is not defined in the Act. Whether a case is “exceptional” is determined by
    looking at the circumstances of each individual case and the legislative intent of Chapter 5,
    Part 6 of the Act, which is to protect children from harm.


    A chief executive may consider any information which is relevant to making a decision about a
    person’s suitability to perform child-related duties. This may include:
               type and number of convictions and/or charges;
               any investigative or other information of which the chief executive is aware;
               recency of any offending or alleged offending;
               relevance of past criminal or concerning behaviour to child-related employment
                situations;
               penalty imposed for relevant offences;
               veracity of the evidence available (for charges and/or investigative information);
               significance of relevant offending or concerning behaviours;
               the person’s capacity to change, such as changes in behaviour since the offending
                or concerning behaviour, their views on their past behaviour and any treatment or
                counselling that has been undertaken;
               any identified risk or protective factors relating to past police information or
                concerning behaviour; or
               any social, environmental or personal risk or protective factors of which the chief
                executive is aware including, for example, any mental health or psychological
                problems which may present a risk to the wellbeing of children.

    Child-related offences are a range of offences which do not fall within any of the categories of
    offences specifically listed in the Public Service Act, but which nevertheless raise concerns
    about a person’s suitability to perform child-related duties. For further information on this
    category of offences, including examples, see Appendix 4.


    Miscellaneous offences are offences which do not fall within any of the categories of offences
    specifically listed in the Public Service Act, or which have been identified as child-related
    offences, but which nevertheless raise concerns about a person’s suitability to perform child-
    related duties. For further information on this category of offences, including examples, see
    Appendix 5.


    In deciding whether a case is “exceptional”, a chief executive must have regard to the following
    factors which are also set out in the Act (section 164):




Employment Screening Guideline                                                                    16
Type of information              Factors to be considered

Criminal history information         In relation to the commission or alleged commission of
(i.e. charges or convictions)        an offence by the person, a chief executive must have
                                     regard to:
                                      (a) (i) whether it is a conviction or a charge;
                                          (ii) whether the offence is a serious offence and, if
                                                it is, whether it is a disqualifying offence; and
                                          (iii) when the offence was committed or is alleged
                                                to have been committed; and
                                          (iv) the nature of the offence;
                                          (v) in the case of a conviction – the penalty
                                                imposed by the court and if it decided not to
                                                impose an imprisonment order for the offence,
                                                or decided not to make a disqualification order,
                                                the court’s reasons for its decision;
                                      (b) anything else relating to the commission, or alleged
                                          commission, of the offence that the chief executive
                                          reasonably considers to be relevant to whether or
                                          not the person is suitable for engagement, or
                                          continued engagement, to perform child-related
                                          duties.


                                     (a) when the acts or omissions constituting the alleged
Investigative information
                                     offence to which the investigative information relates
                                     were committed;
                                     (b) anything else relating to the commission of the acts
                                      or omissions that the chief executive reasonably
                                      considers relevant to the assessment of the person.



    8.4       Delegation of assessment
    Criminal history and police information is sensitive, private, and has potential for exploitation.
    This applies particularly to information obtained as part of a check for child-related duties which
    is not subject to provisions of the Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986. As
    such, only in exceptional circumstances should a chief executive delegate the responsibility for
    deciding that the recommended person’s criminal history or police information is unsuitable.
    Exceptional circumstances may include genuine operational efficiency in delegating the
    decision.


9 Adverse decision

    9.1       Natural justice principles
    The following principles have been identified by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
    Commission as components of natural justice:
           The person who is subject of the concern must know all the allegations in relation to
            the concern.
           They must have a full opportunity to put their case.


Employment Screening Guideline                                                                       17
             All parties to the complaint must have the right to be heard.
             All relevant submissions and evidence must be considered.
             The employer must not take into account matters that are not relevant.
             The person who lays the charge must not determine the charge.
             The decision maker must be fair and just.


     If a chief executive is considering not appointing a person because of their criminal history or
     police information, as required by the Act and the directive relating to employment screening,
     the chief executive must:
           immediately advise the person about the reasons for considering that the person is not
            suitable to perform the relevant or child-related duties, and provide them with a copy of
            the material used to make the decision, and
           give the person a reasonable opportunity to make written representations about why
            the information obtained should not render them unsuitable to perform relevant or child-
            related duties. Agencies should consider providing the person with not less than 7
            days to make any written representations.


     After receiving the person’s subsequent written representation, the chief executive must:
           take the person’s written representation into consideration in reaching a final decision,
            and
           after the final decision is made, notify the person in writing that they are considered
            either suitable or unsuitable because of their relevant criminal history or police
            information.


10      After an adverse decision
     There will be some persons including current and prospective employees who, after
     assessment, will not be suitable for relevant or child-related duties due to their criminal history
     or police information.


     10.1 Job placement for current public service employees
     Where a current employee is found to be unsuitable to perform the relevant or child-related
     duties, the agency must ensure that the employee does not commence or continue to perform
     such duties.
     The agency will be required to place the employee in a job which does not involve relevant or
     child-related duties. This might mean that the employee will return to their original position or
     will be placed in another job by way of transfer at level or other processes provided for under
     the Public Service Act 2008 and relevant directives.


     10.2 Appeals
     Current public service employees
     Recommended persons who are current Queensland public service employees may appeal to
     the Public Service Commission chief executive against an agency’s decision not to engage


Employment Screening Guideline                                                                        18
     them in relevant or child-related duties because   of the outcome of an employment screening
     process carried out under the Public Service Act   2008. These cases will be dealt with as Fair
     Treatment appeals, but to ensure the process       is prompt, they will be subject to different
     requirements from other Fair Treatment appeals.    These requirements are:
           The appellant can lodge an appeal with the Public Service Commission (PSC)
            immediately following the adverse decision without attempting to resolve the matter
            through an internal agency grievance procedure.
           The appeal must be lodged within 21 calendar days of receipt of an adverse decision
            by a chief executive.
     For more information about Fair Treatment appeals, see the directive and guidelines for
     appeals.

     Other persons
     Recommended persons who are not Queensland public service employees, and who have had
     an adverse decision by a chief executive regarding their suitability to engage in relevant or
     child-related duties can request a statement of reasons for the decision under the Judicial
     Review Act 1991.

     Appeals to the Magistrates Court
     A decision by the police commissioner that information about a person is investigative
     information can be subject to an appeal to the Magistrates Court. The appeal may be lodged
     with the Magistrates Court within 14 days of receiving the notification that the police
     commissioner has decided that certain information is investigative information. A copy of the
     appeal must be given to the chief executive and the police commissioner.
     It is a matter for the agency to decide whether to stay the recruitment process until the appeal
     is resolved.


      This appeal will decide whether information given to a chief executive as investigative
     information is in fact investigative information.


     After hearing the appeal the Magistrates Court may confirm or set aside the decision of the
     police commissioner. If the court sets aside the police commissioner’s decision that
     information given to a chief executive is investigative information, the chief executive must
     reassess the person’s suitability for child-related duties.


11      Ongoing monitoring
     Agencies must ensure that employment screening is conducted every 2 years for employees
     engaged in child-related duties. Any employees who cease to be exempt from screening
     requirements, due to their professional registration or blue card expiring, must also be subject
     to employment screening every 2 years.


     Agencies must ensure they have appropriate systems in place to monitor the frequency of
     screening that is conducted for employees engaged in child-related duties, as well as
     monitoring the expiry/renewal dates for professional registration or blue cards.




Employment Screening Guideline                                                                     19
    Agencies should ensure that employees are aware of their obligations under the Public Service
    Act 2008 to disclose changes in their criminal history. Employees should also be aware that
    other agencies, such as the Queensland Police Service and the Director of Public
    Prosecutions, have an obligation to disclose changes to a public service employees’ criminal
    history.


    11.1 Current employee’s obligation to disclose
    Agencies must refer to section 181 of the Public Service Act 2008 where an employment
    screening process reveals that a current employee has been charged with or convicted of an
    indictable offence (whether or not the conviction has been recorded). Pursuant to this section,
    the employee has an obligation to immediately give the agency written notice with the details of
    the charge or offence and the penalty imposed.


    11.2 Prosecuting authority’s obligation to disclose
    Under section 170 of the Public Service Act 2008, the Queensland Police Service and the
    Director of Public Prosecutions have an obligation to notify agencies if there is a change to an
    employees criminal history. These organisations will provide information to an agency if they
    are aware that an employee is a public service employee in that agency and one of the
    following things happens to that person:
       The person is charged with a relevant offence (an indictable offence or a disqualifying
        offence that is not indictable),
       A disqualification order or offender prohibition order is made against the person,
       A decision is made not to charge a person who is the subject of a police investigation in
        relation to a disqualifying offence, because the complainant was unwilling or unable to
        continue,
       The person is the subject of an application for a disqualification order, or
       The person is named as the respondent to an application for an offender prohibition order.



    11.3 Disciplinary measures if no disclosure
    An officer who fails to disclose charges and convictions as required under section 181 of the
    Public Service Act 2008 may be liable to disciplinary action for contravening, without
    reasonable excuse, a provision of the Act or on other grounds such as misconduct and
    contravention of the code of conduct. Disciplinary action may include (but is not restricted to):
            terminating the officer’s employment;
            reducing the officer’s classification level and changing their duties accordingly;
            transferring or redeploying the officer to other employment in the public sector;
            forfeiting a remuneration increment;
            imposing a monetary penalty; and
            reprimanding the officer.


    11.4 Suspension of current employees pending further investigation
       about new criminal history or police information
    If agencies are notified of changes to a person’s criminal history or police information, they
    should immediately consider whether the employee remains suitable to perform the relevant or
    child-related duties.


Employment Screening Guideline                                                                     20
     In making a decision about the employee’s suitability for child-related duties agencies should
     consider the new information in light of the legislation and the assessment process described in
     item 4.2 of these guidelines.
     Where the new information may result in the person’s unsuitability pending an investigation, the
     agency may consider suspending the person on full pay until able to make a decision about the
     person’s suitability.
     Where the new information results in the employee’s unsuitability, the agency must organise
     other work arrangements to ensure the employee does not perform the relevant or child-related
     duties. Those arrangements must be consistent with the Public Service Act 2008 and
     directives.


     11.5 Monitoring of exempt person status
     Refer to item 4.4 of these guidelines.


12      Managing employment screening information
Under the Public Service Act 2008 it is unlawful for public service employees or selection panel
members to disclose criminal history or police information or give access to documentation about a
person’s criminal history or police information except in relation to assessing a recommended
person’s suitability to perform the duties of a job.
Information Standard 42 – Information Privacy sets out strict rules about how personal information
is collected, stored, used and disclosed by Queensland Government agencies. The aim is to
protect both electronic and printed information about individuals from being lost, misused or
inappropriately modified or disclosed.
Obtaining criminal history or police information about a person is a sensitive issue and must be
handled with the strictest of confidentiality in agencies.


     12.1 Retention, destruction and safe disposal of employment
        screening information
     Information and documentation regarding criminal history or police information must be kept
     securely in agencies by the agency coordinator or another responsible officer until the expiry of
     fair treatment appeals and judicial review timeframes, after which time all documents must be
     destroyed.


     The destruction and disposal of criminal history and police information documents following the
     expiry of appeal and judicial review timeframes is required under section 169 of the Public
     Service Act 2008 and the employment screening directive and is authorised by the Public
     Records Act 2002 the State Archivist’s General Retention and Disposal Schedule for
     Administrative Record (reference no 3.4.59.1).
     Documents that must be destroyed include:
           the consent form
           correspondence to and from the Queensland Police Service
           correspondence to and from the person regarding the criminal history report, and
           the chief executive’s reason for finding the person unsuitable to perform relevant duties
            as a result of a criminal history.

Employment Screening Guideline                                                                      21
    12.2 Privacy
    The Queensland Government has established a privacy scheme for the responsible collection
    and management of personal information in the Queensland public sector. The privacy
    scheme is based on 11 Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) which are outlined in Information
    Standard 42. All Queensland public sector agencies are required to adhere to the Information
    Standard.


    Personal information is defined in the Information Standard as:
                “Information or an opinion (including information or an opinion forming part of a
                database), whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not,
                about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained,
                from the information or opinion.”


    The purpose of the collection of person information is to assess the suitability of people
    seeking, or continuing to seek, work in child-related or relevant duties.


    Agencies are authorised to collect criminal history and/or police information on employees
    under Chapter 5, Part 6 of the Public Service Act 2008. Part 6 requires people who are
    engaged, or to be engaged, in child-related duties or relevant duties, to undergo employment
    screening. This process commences with the completion of a consent form where the person
    gives consent to the agency to undertake a criminal history or police information check and
    obtain other related information.


    Personal information supplied on a consent form is provided to police services and may also be
    provided to courts, state reporting bureaus and prosecuting authorities throughout Australia in
    order to obtain police information (including criminal histories) about a person and the
    circumstances surrounding convictions or charges.


    Only staff from the public service agency have access to personal information records
    (including police or criminal history information) about a person. Personal information records
    of individuals will be disclosed for decision-making purposes to an appropriate decision-maker
    and the chief executive.


    In the event that the chief executive is proposing decide that a person is not suitable for child-
    related or relevant duties, the Act requires the chief executive to provide the person with a copy
    of the information on which the preliminary decision is based. The person is also invited to
    make a written submission about the information and about why they should be suitable for
    child-related or relevant duties.


    Information may also be provided to:
       A Magistrates Court in the event of an appeal about a decision to provide investigative
        information to the chief executive
       To the Public Service Commission in the event of a Fair Treatment Appeal about a chief
        executive’s decision.


    The Act imposes penalties of up to $7,500 for public service employees or selection panel
    members who unlawfully disclose information about a person’s criminal history or other
    personal information, unless the disclosure if permitted under the Act.

Employment Screening Guideline                                                                      22
     Further information about privacy can be obtained from www.privacy.qld.gov.au .




13      Section 165 screening arrangements
     The Public Service Act 2008 allows for chief executives to enter into arrangements with a
     prescribed entity to undertake screening for child-related duties on behalf of the agency. The
     final decision about whether a person is suitable for child-related duties will rest with the
     agency, after advice from the screening entity on the results of the screening undertaken.


     13.1 What entities are ‘prescribed entities’?
     The prescribed entities are listed in the Public Service Regulation 2008. Currently the
     Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian is the only prescribed entity.


     13.2 Process for agencies
     It is expected that agencies will only consider entering into an arrangement under section 165 if
     they are unable to conduct the screening themselves. If an agency is experiencing difficulties
     administering the screening for child-related duties, in the first instance contact with the Public
     Service Commission should be made to discuss the issue. Agencies must not contact the
     Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian directly to discuss a screening
     arrangement.


     For further information about section 165 screening arrangements contact the Public Service
     Commission.




Employment Screening Guideline                                                                        23

				
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