Other agency checks let you assess someone’s suitability based on their past experience with other designated agencies.
What is an other agency check?
The other agency check process involves checking with another agency about a person’s suitability to care for a child or to reside at the home of a carer, where the other agency has:
- authorised the person as a carer
- received a carer authorisation application from that person, or
- known the person to reside at the home of a carer or applicant.
When must you request information?
You must request information from another agency whenever:
- you receive a carer’s application from someone, or
- you become aware someone has an association with another agency, whether previous or current.
When you’re in the process of authorising a carer, the register will prompt you to complete an ‘other designated agency check’.
You may also receive an alert about a reportable allegation when you’re undertaking a probity check on someone or if you have an existing relationship with someone and another agency records something about them on the register.
When you receive an alert, you should always immediately contact the agency carrying out the investigation.
Who must you request information about?
You’re required to request information from other designated agencies about:
- carer applicants
- authorised carers, and
- household members of carers and carer applicants.
Procedure for completing other agency checks
Before you can authorise someone, the outcome of this check must be ‘satisfactory.’
As the information you request may refer to sensitive or confidential matters, you’re strongly encouraged to have policies and procedures in place that ensure only authorised staff can access it.
We’ve developed some letter templates you can use to request, provide or refuse to provide information to another designated agency.
Download our Other Agency Check example that you can copy and amend.
Informing and consent
You don’t have to obtain someone’s consent before you request information about them. However, it’s usually best practice to let them know that you’re disclosing information about them to another agency. You should also inform people that:
- their information will be entered onto the Carers Register, and
- they have the right to access and correct information on the Carers Register.
Department of Communities and Justice transfers
Where a carer is transferring directly from DCJ, you can use the DCJ transfer documents in place of an other agency check.
Make your own determination
When you carry out an other agency check, you’ll see the results and outcomes of the agency’s other completed checks and assessments. While you should use these to inform your decision, you must make your own determination about a carer’s suitability. To do this, you should do the following:
- Thoroughly review the information and consider how it contributes to the authorisation assessment you're conducting
- Make a decision as to whether the information is sufficient and current. This includes assessing whether you should carry out additional checks before making a determination.
- Consider whether all relevant carers and household members were included in the original checks.
- Confirm the identity of each individual and perform a Working with Children Check verification on them.
- Carefully consider any National Police Checks. When an agency alerts you to a National Police Check, make sure you first review the protocols around sharing information with them. Be mindful that these are ‘point in time’ checks, current only on the date they’re issued. A National Police Check has no validity period and you should assess whether you should still accept one.
- Consider the currency of any Community Services Check and make sure it includes all carers and relevant household members over 16 years old. This includes any DCJ transfer documents.
As part of your agency files, you must always keep a copy of these checks, their outcome and your rationale for accepting, or not accepting, them.
Where a non-accredited agency partners with a designated agency, any carer assessment and authorisation becomes the designated agency’s responsibility. This is because the designated agency holds the legal authority to authorise carers.
The 2 agencies can exchange information such as previous probity and suitability assessments. Although the partnering agency can’t authorise a carer, it can carry out assessment work to prepare for the carer’s transition.
When the partnering agency achieves its own provisional accreditation, carers can transfer directly to it, so long as they meet all current carer authorisation requirements. Even where an agency remains within a partnership after achieving Provisional Accreditation, its independent accreditation means it can now legally begin and complete a transferring carer’s authorisation.