NDIS Worker Screening Check

What is NDIS Worker Screening?

NDIS worker screening is a nationally consistent approach to worker screening which is recognised across all states and territories. The NDIS Worker Screening Check is an assessment of whether a person who works, or seeks to work, with people with disability poses a risk to them. The NDIS Worker Screening Check will determine whether a person is cleared or excluded from working in certain roles with people with disability. For more information, please refer to the Fact Sheet

Screening Assessment for Employment Northern Territory, also known as SAFE NT, is the Worker Screening Unit responsible for managing NDIS Worker Screening in the NT. NDIS Worker Screening Checks will commence from 1 July 2021, however, there are transitional arrangements in place so you may not need to apply immediately.

Under the transitional arrangements, a valid Working with Children Clearance (Ochre Card) that was issued on or before 1 July 2021 is an acceptable check. Once that Ochre Card expires it is no longer an acceptable check. Three months out from the ochre card expiring is when a person will need to apply for a NDIS Worker Screening Check. 

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NDIS Check image

General Advice 

Who needs a NDIS Worker Screening Clearance?

You may need to apply for a Worker Screening Check and obtain an NDIS Worker Screening Clearance if you work for a registered NDIS provider in a risk assessed role and:

  • your acceptable check is no longer valid (for example, it has expired) in the state or territory where you provide NDIS supports and services, or
  • you do not hold an acceptable check or an NDIS Worker Screening clearance.

 

A risk assessed role is one that:

  • involves the direct delivery of specified services and supports to people with disability; or
  • is likely to have more than incidental contact with people with disability as a normal part of your duties. This includes physical contact; face-to-face contact; oral, written and electronic communication with people with disability in various circumstances; or
  • is a key personnel role – for example, if you hold an executive, senior management or decision-making position of a registered NDIS provider including as a member of the board. The full definition of key personnel is in section 11A of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013.

 

Registered NDIS providers are responsible for identifying the risk assessed roles in their organisation. If you work for a registered NDIS provider, but not in a risk assessed role, you will not be required to hold an NDIS Worker Screening clearance. However, the registered NDIS provider that employs or otherwise engages you may choose to ask you to apply for a Worker Screening Check and obtain an NDIS Worker Screening clearance.

Unregistered NDIS providers and self-managed participants can choose to ask their workers to apply for a Worker Screening Check and obtain an NDIS Worker Screening clearance, but this is not mandatory.

Do you have a current Working With Children Clearance? You do not need to apply!
  • You do not need to apply for a NDIS Worker Screening Check until your ochre card is due to expire, even if this is after 1 July 2021. Once it expires for the first time after 1 July 2021, you will need a NDIS Worker Screening Check.
How long is a NDIS Worker Screening Clearance valid?

NDIS Worker Screening Clearances will be valid for five years, unless revoked during that time.

Note that you will not receive a card like a Working with Children Clearance (Ochre card). You will be advised by email if you were successful in obtaining a clearance.

A NDIS Worker Screening Clearance is accepted nationally. If you have a valid clearance from another State or Territory you will not be required to seek a clearance in the NT until it expires.

Work on Application

The NT is a work on application jurisdiction which means an applicant is permitted to work while their NDIS Worker Screening Check application is being processed. This is only permitted if the following requirements are met:

  • The application is complete including paid in full and verified by the employer in the National Worker Screening Databased (NWSD);
  • Your employer has agreed you can work while your application is being assessed;
  • Your employer has risk management strategies in place for you to work on application; and
  • Your employer has arranged for you to be supervised by a person who has a clearance.

 

You cannot work on application if:

  • Your application has been withdrawn or discontinued;
  • You have previously been refused a clearance or had a clearance cancelled; or
  • You have an interim bar in place.

 

Interim bar

SAFE NT will receive information about your criminal history and other information to be able to make a decision about whether you should be granted a clearance. If during this process SAFE NT receives information that needs to be assessed, you may be issued an interim bar. This is a notification that you must stop working in NDIS work immediately until a decision has been made as to whether you will be granted a clearance or exclusion. An interim bar is only applicable if you are working on application.

Applying

You can apply online at the SAFE NT Online Services page. To lodge an application you will need:

  • An email address for us to send you correspondence
  • A current Australian residential and postal address
  • Details of your employer/s to verify your working relationship
  • Proof of identity documents
  • The ability to apply online and upload your proof of identity documents.
  • If you’re a volunteer, you will need to upload your completed Volunteer Declaration Form.
Fees
  • Worker application - $124.00
  • Volunteer application - $12.00 (see information for volunteers)


Fees are NOT REFUNDABLE and are subject to change.

You will receive an email with a link to an online payment form where you can pay by credit card. Alternatively, you can call SAFE NT on (08) 8985 8985 to make payment over the phone.

You can pay in person with cash, credit card or eftpos at the SAFE NT Darwin front counter located on the ground floor of 37 Woods Street, Darwin City. 

Resources

Fact Sheets
Forms
Legislation
Glossary of terms

Acceptable check - In the NT a Working with Children Clearance (ochre card) is an acceptable check under the transition period. This means if you have a valid ochre card before 1 July 2021, that will cover you until it expires which is when you will need to apply for a NDIS Worker Screening Check. 

NDIS Worker Screening Check - A nationally consistent assessment conducted by a state or territory Worker Screening Unit to determine whether a person who works, or seeks to work with people with disability poses a risk to them. 

NDIS Worker Screening Clearance - A decision made by a Worker Screening Unit that clears a person who applied for an NDIS Worker Screening Check to work with people with disability in a risk assessed role. 

NDIS Worker Screening Exclusion - A decision made by a Worker Screening Unit that does not clear a person who applied for an NDIS Worker Screening Check to work with people with disability in a risk assessed role. 

Registered NDIS provider - A registered NDIS provider is a person or organisation that is registered with the NDIS Commission in accordance with section 73 E of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth). NDIS providers must be registered to deliver some kinds of supports. 

Self-managed participants - Self-management is when an NDIS participant manages their own NDIS funding. It gives NDIS participants the flexibility and choice to decide which provider delivers NDIS supports and services to them to meet their plan goals. 

Unregistered NDIS provider - A provider of NDIS supports and services that has not been registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Not all providers are required to be registered. Unregistered NDIS providers deliver lower risk supports to NDIS participants. Only participants who self-manage or plan-manage their NDIS funding are able to choose to receive supports and services from unregistered NDIS providers. 

Worker - For the purposes of the NDIS Worker Screening Check, a worker is someone employed or otherwise engaged by a registered or unregistered NDIS provider, or someone who provides supports and services to self-managed participants. It includes people in paid, unpaid and self-employed roles, such as employees, contractors, consultants and volunteers. 

Worker Screening Unit - The person or body that is responsible for conducting NDIS Worker Screening Checks in a state or territory under its NDIS worker screening law. In the NT, SAFE NT is the Worker Screening Unit. 

Information for volunteers

Who is a volunteer?

A person that volunteers doing NDIS work is able to apply for a concession volunteer fee.

The meaning of volunteer under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a person that volunteers their time to provide NDIS related support or services to people with a disability without payment, benefit or financial gain (excluding reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses).

Applying as a volunteer

You must get the organisation or NDIS participant that you volunteer for to complete the Volunteer Declaration Form confirming your volunteer arrangement. This form must be uploaded to your online application.

Volunteer Declaration Form

Information for employers/providers 

Employer responsibilities
  • Registered NDIS providers delivering supports and services to NDIS participants must comply with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Practice Standards – Worker Screening) Rules 2018 (Cth). This means that registered NDIS providers must ensure that workers in risk assessed roles have either an NDIS worker screening clearance (from another jurisdiction for example), or a Working with Children Clearance during the transition period.
  • Employers are responsible for identifying which roles are risk assessed roles and will need an acceptable NDIS worker screening clearance.
  • Employers are responsible for verifying the applications of their workers. They will not progress unless verified by you. You have 30 days to do this. If you do not do it within 30 days, the application will be cancelled.
  • You need to make sure you have access to the National Worker Screening Database (NWSD) to do this. If you are a self-managed participant or an unregistered provider, you will need to apply for access to the National database with the NDIS Commission.
  • If a worker is unable to obtain a Working with Children Clearance during the transition period, or is excluded through their NDIS Worker Screening Check application, you cannot allow that worker to undertake a risk assessed role.
For more information

 Further information for employers can be found at the NDIS Commission website, or by calling 1800 035 544.

Comparing NDIS Worker Screening Clearance and Working with Children Clearance

 
Working with Children Clearance (Ochre Card)
NDIS Worker Screening Clearance
Consideration

 

The safety and wellbeing of children

 

The safety and wellbeing of people with disability, in particular, their right to live free from abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation.
Validity period
2 years
5 years
Fees

 

  • $74.00 - employed
  • $7.00 - volunteer (evidence required)
  • $29.00 - replace a lost, damaged or stolen card
Fees are NOT REFUNDABLE
  • $124.00 - employed
  • $12.00 - volunteer (evidence required)
Fees are NOT REFUNDABLE
Portability

 

NT only
National - portable across employers throughout Australia
Card
Ochre card issued
No card
ID reference numbers

 

  • Application ID number
  • Ochre card number
  • Application ID number (NT specific)
  • NDIS Worker Screening ID (national reference number)
Commence work

 

No card, no start; unless your employer applies for an exemption
Work on application is possible once certain criteria are met
ID requirements

 

100 points of ID
NEW ID REQUIREMENTS
4 X ID documents and a selfie photo

Who needs the check?

 

 

 

Mandatory for people engaged in certain paid and unpaid work with children, described as 'child-related work'.
Mandatory for people engaged in 'risk assessed role' for a registered NDIS provider.

 

Not mandatory but can apply:
  • For workers in non-risk assessed roles who are working for registered NDIS providers
  • For people who are providing supports and services to NDIS self-managed participants
  • For people who work for unregistered NDIS providers

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the NDIS Worker Screening Database?

The NDIS Worker Screening Database (NWSD) is the central repository of all applications, outcomes and validity periods of screened NDIS workers from all jurisdictions to support national portability. When you submit an application for NDIS Worker Screening, you consent to your information being held in the database. Worker Screening Units and employers/providers are able to access certain information about a worker from the NWSD. For more information, please refer to the Fact Sheet

What is the NDIS Worker Screening ID?

When you apply for a NDIS Worker Screening Check a Worker Screening ID will be generated by the NWSD against your record. This is your individual ID reference number for NDIS Worker Screening and will never change.

You will receive your NDIS Worker Screening ID in an email. It is important to keep this email so you can refer back to it. However, if you lose it or can’t remember your ID, you can contact SAFE NT to get your NDIS Worker Screening ID. Your employer should also be able to look up your ID number in the NWSD.

It is important to note, that just because you have a NDIS Worker Screening ID, does not mean you have a NDIS Worker Screening Clearance and are able to work with people with disability. Your ID number is not a Clearance number.

What is the difference between a check and a clearance? 

A NDIS Worker Screening Check is the process of assessing an individual’s application to determine whether they will be issued a NDIS Worker Screening Clearance.

NDIS Worker Screening CheckAn assessment by NDIS Worker Screening Unit (WSU) of people delivering supports or services under the NDIS to evaluate if they represent an unacceptable risk of harm to people with disability. 
NDIS Worker Screening ClearanceA decision of the WSU that enables an applicant/worker to engage in NDIS work in a risk assessed role. 

 

Is a NT clearance only valid in the NT?

No. The purpose of a nationally consistent worker screening framework is that it is portable across all jurisdictions of Australia. If you get a clearance in the NT, you can work in NDIS in other states or territories in Australia until that clearance expires. Likewise, if you have a valid NDIS clearance from another state or territory, you are able to work in the NDIS sector in the NT until that clearance expires.

I work with disabled children. Do I need an NDIS Worker Screening Clearance and a Working with Children Clearance? 

Once the period of the transition arrangement has ended, if a NDIS worker operates in a role that deals with children, they will need both a NDIS Worker Screening Check and a Working with Children Check.

What if I don't have enough acceptable identification documents?

In certain circumstances of hardship an application may be made to SAFE NT for the ability to vary the requirement for meeting identify requirements. You will need to complete the form below and email it to safent.police@pfes.nt.gov.au

REQUEST FOR SPECIAL ID PROVISIONS Form

Can my employer pay for my application?

Yes, your employer may choose to pay for your application. You can forward the payment email you receive to your employer. It is important for your employer to be aware that if they pay using the payment form in the email, the tax invoice will be sent to the email address provided in the application form, which is your email, not your employers. So you will need to forward the tax invoice on to your employer for their records.

Can I withdraw my application?

You can withdraw your application at any time up until the assessment of your circumstances has commenced. However, withdrawing your application does not mean that the information provided in your application will be deleted. It will still exist within the national database (NWSD) and SAFE NT’s records.

The application fee is not refundable if you choose to withdraw your application.

You must complete the form below and email it to safent.police@pfes.nt.gov.au

REQUEST to withdraw Form

Can I get a refund?

Fees are not refundable unless an overpayment or error has occurred when making the payment.

When can I start working?

You will receive an email advising when you can start working. 

In the NT, applicants may engage in NDIS work, if all of the following requirements have been met:

  • The application has been verified by the employer and payment of the application fee has been made;
  • The application must not have been discontinued or withdrawn;
  • The applicant must not have previously been refused a clearance under a screening check or had the applicant’s clearance cancelled;
  • The applicant must not be the subject of an interim bar;
  • The applicant’s employer must have agreed the applicant can work while the application is being assessed;
  • The employer must have put in place risk management strategies; and
  • The employer must have arranged for the applicant to be supervised by another person who has a clearance.
Will I get a card like the ochre card?

No. There is no card for a NDIS Worker Screening Clearance. 

How will I know if I have a clearance?

You will receive an email from SAFE NT notifying you that you have been granted a clearance. The email is your record of your clearance so it is important that you provide it to your employer as evidence. It is your responsibility to keep the email as your evidence.

Your employer will also be able to check in the national database (NWSD) if your clearance has been granted.

What is an interim bar?

In the NT a worker is able to work while their application is being assessed (provided the requirements are met). However, if the Worker Screening Unit receives information which needs to be risk assessed, you may be issued an interim bar. This is a notification that you must stop working in NDIS work immediately until a decision has been made as to whether you will be granted a clearance or exclusion.