Employment Screening Down Under – The Australian Standard
With a population
of around 21 million people, and an employment market of much
less, Australia has had a relatively short exposure to the discipline
of employment screening, especially when compared with the US
and European markets. In the mid 1990’s (when the author
first entered the screening industry) the typical response by
corporates when questioned about their use of employment screening
ranged from “It is a small market and everyone knows everyone”
to “Isn’t that what we pay placement companies for.”
to late 2001 and Australia was faced with the true evil of global
terrorism in the aftermath of September 11 and a change in the
regulatory environment courtesy of a raft of legislation aimed
at strengthening the financial services sector and combating
money laundering. Employment screening became recognised as
a vital tool in an organisation’s security risk management
framework, as well as minmising its exposure to fraud and unethical
conduct by staff and contractors.
formed in 1999, the committee working on the Australian Standard
on employment screening changed the focus of the standard from
HR to risk management, with the aim of allowing organisations
to design a screening process that would “reduce the risk
of a potential security breach and to ensure the integrity,
identity and credentials of personnel within an organisation.”
The resultant standard was released in June 2006 and called
AS4811: 2006 – Employment Screening, the first standard
of its kind anywhere in the world.
the standard was developed to form a basis for industry or organisational
specific screening policies and procedures. The main components
of the standard are:
– what is an “entrusted person”; what do we
mean by probity etc.
2. Employment screening – with particular emphasis on
the fact that the level of screening conducted on an entrusted
person for the role should be commensurate with the level of
risk posed by that particular role, as identified during the
risk management process.
3. Records and documentation – covering the need for consent;
access to documentation; and the secure storage of screening
4. Personnel employed in screening – dealing with issues
such as ensuring that staff involved in conducting screening
have the right qualifications and experience to conduct screens.
5. Right of review – which provides guidance to organisations
when they are faced with a candidate who has had a negative
finding against them during the screening process.
also recommends that the tone for employment screening is set
at the top of the organisation, and that “the Chief Executive
Officer should ensure that the organisation has in place an
effective process which provides for the screening of all current
and potential employees.” Additionally, it recommends
that screening should be conducted before appointment; upon
promotion or change of employment circumstances; and prior to
the completion of the probationary period.
recognises that the key functions of an employment screening
program are to verify:
The identity of potential employees;
· Their credentials, particularly with respect to their
educational qualifications and professional memberships;
· Their integrity, measured by conducting criminal history
checks, bankruptcy searches etc, and
· Their employment details, with particular attention
to their previous history with respect to disciplinary action;
their ability to fill a particular role; and their experience
It is hoped
that the Australian Standard will either be adopted by other
countries, or used as a starting point in the development of
like standards aimed at providing organisations with the tools
necessary to implement a robust employment screening program.
For those in the screening industry, the Standard provides a
benchmark to ensure their service offerings are sufficient and
assists in promoting the benefits of screening as a risk management
tool to potential clients.
About RISQ – The RISQ Group is one of the leading fraud
and security risk management consultancies in the Asia Pacific
region. With offices in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore,
RISQ has a wealth of experience in dealing with issues such
as fraud investigation, crisis management and fraud risk mitigation.
Our employment screening business is the largest privately owned
screening company in Australia and we conduct screening engagements
on behalf of clients in most countries around the world.
Contact RISQ – More information can be obtained from our
or from our Sydney office on +612 9392 8888.
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