WA Department of Child Protection

Decipha joined with Australia Post businesses to provide a complete Identity and Verification solution for Working With Children checks.

Following the passing of the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 in the WA state parliament, every Western Australian who works with children in certain types of employment or volunteer work now has to apply for a Working with Children check.

The check, which is designed to improve the protection of children in the community, is essentially a criminal record assessment and was required by law from the beginning of this year. The Department for Community Development in WA realised that it needed to develop an efficient and secure process and approached Australia Post, which had proven capabilities in identity verification, photo capture, payment processing and application handling.

A tailored solution was put together to meet all the specific requirements of the department's Working with Children Screening Unit. "We were keen to find one organisation that could perform all the steps in the checking process," says Sandie Van Soelen from the Working with Children Screening Unit. "We realised that we did not have the infrastructure to support the task, especially providing over-the-counter services for applicants."

Any person wanting to apply for a Working with Children check can simply visit one of the many participating postal outlets in WA, obtain a form and make an appointment at that postal outlet to apply.

The application process involves a trained Australia Post employee carrying out a100 point identification check (similar to the one for opening a new bank account), checking the accuracy of the forms and photograph and in-person proofing of the applicant to verify their identity.

"With a large retail presence, and experience in carrying out passport applications for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we were able to demonstrate our ability to handle these types of in-person identity checks," says Colin Milner, Major Account Manager, Australia Post.

Australia Post also processes the payment for the application. "Post provides a wide range of payment methods and we also issue a receipt to support the applicant's work requirements while they wait on the delivery of their ID card," explains Colin. The department also receives a daily transaction report to assist with its financial reconciliation.

And to facilitate the speedy exchange of application information, Decipha, a business of Australia Post, scans and checks every application form for accuracy and sends an electronic file of the completed forms, photos and signatures back to the department. To date approximately 7,400 applications have been processed by Australia Post.

"One of the main benefits of outsourcing this function to Australia Post is that it gives us more time to concentrate on our core business," says Sandie.