In 2013, COAG agreed to a permanent inter-jurisdictional exchange of criminal history information for screening people working with children (‘the Exchange’). The Exchange increases the range of criminal history information shared between jurisdictions and is an important measure in protecting children from harm.
The Exchange operates under the Intergovernmental Agreement ('the Agreement') for the National Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children and applies to screening units authorised by law to participate in the Exchange (and which are listed in Schedule 2 of the Agreement). Under the Agreement, there are strict conditions on the receipt, use, storage and destruction of the expanded criminal history information. For instance, the Agreement only authorises participating screening units to request and receive the expanded criminal history information. The receipt or disclosure of expanded criminal history information by or to any other person, even if it is for the purpose of screening people who may be working with children, is not authorised by the Agreement nor the legislative provisions which support the Agreement and may involve criminal sanctions.
In 2018, First Ministers agreed and signed the Schedule 5 Variation to the Agreement.