Site Contents


The National Institute For The Prevention Of Workplace Violence

Employment Screening Down Under – The Australian Standard AS4811:2006

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.”

Fast forward 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.

Originally 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.

In essence, the standard was developed to form a basis for industry or organisational specific screening policies and procedures. The main components of the standard are:

1. Definitions – 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 records.
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.

The standard 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.

AS4811 also 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 where relevant.

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 website ( or from our Sydney office on +612 9392 8888.

To Order the following titles go to:

HB 323-2007 Employment screening handbook Click for product information and pricing...

HB 322-2007 Reference Checking in the Financial Services Industry Click for product information and pricing...



Click Here to go Find an International Background Investigation firm