More than just a criminal record check

Issue 8 2023 Security Services & Risk Management

In the past year, a prominent private school staff member was accused of raping a seven-year-old child after being vetted and cleared twice in four years. This is a prime example of how criminal record checks are not the only checks you need to be doing to screen your staff properly.


Jenny Reid.

In this case, the accused was a staff member. Still, schools and many other organisations employ contracted staff members who are not subjected to the same level of vetting or screening as permanent staff members. Often, the actual place where they work, not the employer, has no idea of their contracted staff's background.

According to Deloitte Insights, "When it comes to human-related risks, organisations and their most senior leaders focus on a narrow set of workforce risks, the potential risks that human workers pose to the business."

These are mostly operational concerns and concerns regarding staff performance in general.

"Yet all risks have a significant human element," says Deloitte Insights. Human risks are risks that affect people's lives as well as the organisations' reputation and day-to-day operations. Senior management or the leadership of an organisation needs to concern themselves with the human risk significantly more. This is for both employees, potential employees and contracted staff, as anyone with access to your organisation's inner workings could have criminal intent.

Sadly, the most common form of vetting or screening is still a simple criminal record check (www.securitysa.com/*ifacts1). Criminal record checks do not paint the full picture of an individual, as the lack of a criminal record does not denote a lack of criminal intent. Due to our severely lacking judicial system, anyone committing a crime must be caught, convicted, and found guilty before they can have a criminal record. The likelihood of criminals or those with criminal intent actually incurring a criminal record is very low. This means that because many criminals are not caught, their criminal record checks will come back clear.

A low conviction rate contributes to the problem, but the person has often not been caught, so how can you avoid hiring a criminal or opportunist who has not been caught yet? How do you avoid being the company that unknowingly hired or contracted someone who is later found to be a criminal or alleged criminal?

This is a great cause of concern as hiring a criminal could cause a scandal that negatively impacts your company and could cause untold damage to your professional reputation or general business.

Integrity and behavioural assessments (www.securitysa.com/*ifacts2) will offer a clearer and more in-depth picture of the candidate in question. These assessments pick up the characteristics and personality traits of individuals on a much deeper level than a cursory interview would manage. People are on their best behaviour during job interviews; thus, more than a job interview is needed to ascertain the accurate measure of a candidate. Rigorous screening and vetting will pinpoint the deeper traits of a person, even if they were hoping to hide said traits.

Integrity and behavioural assessments offer insight into what a person is capable of and their behavioural traits that may outline criminal intent, despite there being no criminal record to speak of. These are just some of the screening and vetting assessments that should be performed when considering a candidate, particularly for a position of risk.

In addition, certain industries - hospitals, schools, care centres, etc.- require additional screening as these industries cater to vulnerable people who need to be properly protected.

An effective and efficient employee screening system is essential for all companies to minimise their human risk.

iFacts can help. We offer a bouquet of employee screening and vetting services and advice on the various assessments that should make up your screening and vetting process to ensure you can hire confidently.


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