NEC has designed and built a web-based background check application for the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian to screen people who are applying for jobs that involve working with children.
The Office of the Children's Guardian is a state government agency that advises other organisations on how best to work with children. It's also responsible for performing Working With Children Checks, a pre-requisite procedure for anybody who is applying for a child-related job.
The agency put forward a business case to replace its aged legacy background check system way back in 2008, IT manager of the Office of the Children's Guardian John Lee told ZDNet.
The project was put out to tender and was secured by Change Corporation, a company that was subsequently bought by CSG. NEC bought CSG's IT services division early last year, and inherited a number of contracts, one of which was for the Working With Children Checks.
Technical issues were not the cause of the delay in implementing the new system, according to Lee. A legislative review on the Office of the Children's Guardian put the project under scrutiny, as well. Multiple changes to the background check system had to be made as a result.
"A lot of what went into the current system came out as part of the review and wasn't in the initial scope of the project," Lee said. "We did have to change a lot of the initial system to match the new legislation.
"Legislation isn't the easiest thing to get done quickly — it was like trying to hit a moving target."
Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward announced last month the launch of the new Working With Children Checks, aimed at making the screening process simpler.
"It gives NSW employers a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer as to whether they can employ someone in a child-related role," she said in a statement. According to Goward, this is also Australia's first online screening system.
Applicants for the screening can apply online, and employers will be able to use an online portal to verify information. The system automates a number of processes, including risk assessment and criminal records procurement from the police, along with analytics reporting.
The custom-made application is built on Microsoft's .NET framework and SQL 2008 R2 database running on Windows servers. NEC has also provided the base for the Office of the Children's Guardian to roll the app out on mobile devices.
Lee could not disclose the cost of the project at the time of publication.