There is no denying the fact that non-profits and charities run by great people achieve extraordinary things. Enough cannot be said about volunteers who put in their valuable time and effort to the people in need. We also salute volunteers working with pets and wildlife in need in the country with several commendable rescue stories.
Even after all these, it is imperative for every Australian charity to be alert while onboarding volunteers. This holds especially true when the charity work is related to serving vulnerable groups like the elderly, the disabled, those having hardships, or children. Indeed, the entire reputation of the charity will be put at risk with the presence of a single unsuitable volunteer in the team. This is wherein the role of in-depth criminal history check, or background check comes into play.
Presence of Several Charities in Australia
ACNC or The Australian Charities & Not-for-profits Commissions is the national charity regulatory in the country. The ACNC is responsible for regulating more than 60,000 charities in the nation. The agency is also responsible for looking into volunteers and charities throughout the country.
Volunteering Australia is another agency that works with charities of all types. If your charity has internal challenges, you can reach out to this organization for effective resolutions.
Both Volunteering Australia and ACNC promote the notion of criminal history checks for all volunteers. Let us help you know about the important background checks your charity should consider performing.
Performing Criminal History Checks on Volunteers
Criminal history checks also go by the name Police Checks. With the help of the intelligent technology of the modern era, you do not require a dedicated team to perform background checks. In modern times, background checks are hassle-free and effortless.
For instance, all the police checks by reputed agencies are online. Volunteers only need a tablet, a smartphone, and a webcam. The police checks only take around 24 hours to perform. Therefore, you do not have to wait for several days or weeks to hire a volunteer.
Once you request a police check, the identity of the volunteer is checked against the criminal records of Australia –across all states in the country. You can also perform the police checks state-wise. However, it is not necessary. In most cases, an individual having some criminal background is most likely to relocate frequently.
The police checks highlight the convictions. These might include less serious crimes within the given timeframe. For offences that are less serious, ten years tend to be the longest conviction in most Australian states. Spent or annulled convictions depict expired versions.
All You Need to Know About Criminal History Checks in Australia
You can request all volunteers to perform the background or police check. This itself serves to be a great way to filter the right professionals. In case someone refuses to perform the background check, you can make an informed decision. It also opens up the scope for conversation for individuals having troubled pasts. Then, you can discuss all concerns and make the decision whether or not they are the right fit for your charity organization.
On technical grounds, police checks are not transferable between organizations and charities. Police checks are only current at the date of issue. You should also note that specific government departments need that volunteers should undergo background checks to satisfy the duty of care and funding conditions. This is especially true if your volunteers work with vulnerable groups.
You should also note that background checks are not a financial concern for most volunteers and charities.
International Volunteers and Criminal History Checks
In the current scenario, there is the absence of any approved method of obtaining background checks for international volunteers. Charities in Australia that take up international volunteers should manage potential risks by using a comprehensive screening process. This might include phone communications and connections with previous charity groups and employers. If there is any doubt, you can reach out to ACNC for further assistance.
Right to work and Visa checks are strict legal obligations in the case of international volunteers. Upon violation of the same, fines can increase significantly.
Reasons for Volunteers to Undergo Police Checks
- Legislation Requirements: required by law to undergo a detailed screening process in particular industries
- Duty of Care: organizations will request a police check for satisfying legal specifications that all efforts are put in for protecting the clients, the organization, and other volunteers
- Funding requirements: required for satisfying funding specifications for particular government departments
Police checks remain valid at the time of issue. The checks report only on those offences that are up to date. They do not come with an expiry date. It is up to the discretion of the organization to request an up-to-the-minute background check or accept some older check.