Monday, 15 September 2014

Police Checks - Can I get a Job Without One?

Consider the scenario where you have been out of work for a number of months and each week without fail you apply online for jobs. Then out of the blue, so it seems, you get that call from the agency!

It's your lucky day! Or is it?

Are you available to come in for an interview? Of course you are! You're always fact, born ready! So you get the suit and tie on (even though we all know that only bankers and those interviewing for jobs wear suits) and off you go with CV in hand. If you've been through one interview, you've been through at least one hundred of them, but today is your lucky day!

What could possibly go wrong?

...Phone on silent.

...CV freshly printed and even in a document holder.

...Tie correctly tied (in fact its been tied correctly for at least 5 years since your mum first tied it).

...Shirt pressed.

...Shoes shined.

Today is the big day.

So you walk into the recruiters office thinking you've got it bagged until you approach the notice just around the corner there's a queue of job seekers. All dressed impeccably, polished shoes, some with brief cases (they still use those?) and all staring down into their mobile devices pretending (perhaps) to look busy or as if to portray they've got an urgent meeting following this interview so hopefully it won't take long.

Confident, and not really demoralised, you take a seat next to a sophisticated looking chap who seems to be rechecking his CV as if he could really fix it if he found a typo. But then again, if he wrote it himself, why would he really need to be reviewing it in the first place?

Not to be outdone, you take a quick squiz down at yours to make sure you didn't do the unthinkable like misspell your name and email address, or accidently pick up from the printer the cover letter for the previous job you applied for last week. What an idiot you'd look like...right...errrrr.

So your name is called, a pleasant looking recruiter who themselves looks like this is their first job (how does that work?...they are going to help ME find a job when they themselves have never held one down in the real work force??). Nonetheless, you get up, exchange pleasantries, and head in for the interview.

The interview goes've got the standard responses all down pat. Somewhere along the line you heard from a previous boss that its always good to go into an interview knowing what you want to tell them, and regardless of what they ask, you simply tell them the answer you've already planned...good advice...but I wonder where that guy is today!

So things are about to wrap up. You hand over a copy of your CV...knowing full well they'll can it because nobody does paper anymore, and then the big question hits you like a ton of bricks...

Have you got a police check done within the past 3 months?

What? Three months? Who the heck has ever heard that? current police check and we can't put your name forward!

Your heart starts to race as you think of something to say, but all you can think of is, where the heck can I get one done and can I do it online? Who cares what it costs...and how long until I can get the results...a PDF is fine...

The answer is simple. Get your police check online at Veritas Check...

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

National Police Checks as an Employment Tool

As part of standard hiring practice, companies are now going to the internet to assess potential employees based upon their social media profiles. However, how reliable are these types of checks in screening out unsuitable and undesirable candidates? Do they include a Police Check?


There is an argument to be made that all of this 'overchecking' of these types of information is not actually beneficial for employers. As an article on, written by Vodafone Australia, points out: when checking into a person's activity on social media, the employer must understand that this is an 'edited' version of the person's life and one that is skewed towards a non-professional viewpoint. As such it may not be as helpful as other forms of pre-employment checks.

This type of  checking on employees and potential employees may not actually benefit companies in the long run as they may screen or consider individuals based upon activities and actions that may or may not affect their business performance or indicate how they will act in a professional setting.
Some will argue that you can delve further into a person's professional history through sites such as LinkedIn. However, while this site will provide possible further information on a person's employment history and should certainly be checked, it cannot tell much about an applicant's history beyond providing a digital resume of their past experience, connections the person has and recommendations they have received. Moreover, it skews towards showing individuals in a positive light as the individual is actively controlling what appears on their profile with the express purpose of networking and finding employment.

Other Checks

The article also recommends that employers check into an applicant's references, seek to verify their listed qualifications, and,depending on the role, possibly perform a credit check and a police check to determine how the applicant handles their finances and if they are in financial trouble. 

By discovering whether a candidate is accurately and honestly listing their qualifications and describing their job history, an employer can learn much more pertinent information about them than they can be simply searching social media websites. References in particular should be able to speak about the individual's employment history and how they perform on the job, which can be extremely useful to potential new employers.

Police Checks as a Hiring Tool

As part of the arsenal of pre-employment checks that are conducted, companies should consider requesting current police checks from potential employees to gather more information on a person's background. While not strictly work-focussed, these checks allow employers to gain important information in regards to any criminal offences the individual has committed in the past, which will help them to judge whether the person is suitable for the role.

Whereas social media profiles may create an unfair bias and judgement of a person based on little more than, potentially, compromising photographs, status updates, messages, and so on, a police history check will provide the potential employer with hard evidence about the type of person they are considering hiring. While it is not a fool-proof system and certain leeway must be given to allow candidates the benefit of the doubt in having changed their behaviour, one can argue that it is certainly preferable to social media as a means of gathering work-relevant information about a candidate.

Choosing to employ someone can be fraught with difficulty, and companies wish to have peace of mind that they have hired the right individual. Rather than conducting checks on candidates' social media profiles, businesses would do better to check references and qualifications, credit histories if appropriate, and ask for current police checks from candidates. The knowledge gained from these checks will serve them well in assessing candidates.

Police Checks for Health Care Industry

Does the Industry Require More Regulation?

Of particular importance is the use of police checks as a screening tool in the healthcare industry. Not only are doctors and nurses required to undergo a police check, but also those such as dentists, optometrists and other such medical professionals will likely need to undergo this check before they can practice in their chosen field.

The benefits of requiring medical professionals to obtain police checks before beginning to practice and at regular intervals thereafter far outweigh the downsides: cost of these checks and the downtime experienced while waiting for the police check to come back. Indeed, the costs themselves may be covered by the healthcare organisation and, as it is a standard requirement for all potential employees, the time it takes to receive the check back is surely understood and taken into account.

Just as those individuals who will work with children are required to obtain a Working with Children Check, it is just as important to ensure that those individuals who will provide medical care have their background checked to determine whether they have committed any offences that would preclude them from working in the medical field.

When assessing an individual's police check, strict attention is paid to any conviction which regards murder, assault of any kind for which the individual was imprisoned, or sexual assault. Any individual who has a conviction of this type will likely not be able to practice in the healthcare industry, or even volunteer in this industry. The danger the individual poses in such circumstances is simply too high. All other convictions will be considered according to the policies of each individual healthcare provider to determine whether the individual will be able to be employed.

Once employed in the healthcare industry, individuals will be required to continue to undergo periodic police checks to ensure that they have not committed any offences in the intervening time which would result in termination of their employment.

Of course, care must be taken to ensure these individuals are not discriminated against on the basis of their past criminal record. As such, clear and rigorously followed policies must be put into place by which background checks can be assessed on a consistent basis.

Confidence gained

By requiring individuals in this field to undergo police checks before and during their employment, potentially serious situations can be averted by using an individual's prior behaviour as an indicator of their potential future behaviour. It also instills in people the confidence that they can trust those who provide them medical care. It would be terrible to go to your doctor worrying that, perhaps, just perhaps, he may be a murderer or that, say, your dentist had assaulted someone in the past.

Especially for those who provide care to vulnerable people – the aged, the disabled, children – a police check is just as essential as something like a Working with Children check. It ensures that vulnerable individuals will not be treated by those who should not be trusted with this responsibility.

Also, just as in any workplace, it is important for colleagues to trust one another. However, it is particularly important for those who are providing medical care to trust that their colleagues are safe people to work with and have not committed any crimes which would be deemed serious enough to prevent their employment. Especially for those who work together in high-stress medical roles, not having to worry whether their colleague may be a danger likely allows them to more easily focus on their job.

Police checks play an important role in the healthcare industry serving to protect patients, organisations and their employees.

Police Checks for Employment and Volunteers

Trust in an Un-trusting World?

National Police History Checks are now frequently being requested in employment and volunteer situations in order to assess a person's background to see if they have any criminal history which is relevant to the position that they wish to undertake and which the employing company or volunteer organisation might feel excludes them from consideration for the role.

However, police checks can be useful in a variety of different situations to ensure that the person one is placing their trust in is worthy of that trust. One such perhaps unusual or atypical use of a police check is to assess potential house-sitters. 

Trusting a Stranger
Instead of putting pets in a kennel and/or leaving a house empty and unattended for extended periods of time, many people will seek out someone who can come and stay in their house while they are away on vacation or business. This person will take over the duties of feeding and caring for any animals, look after the house to avoid potential maintenance problems that may occur while the homeowner is away and ensure the house remains occupied to avoid possible break-ins or other dangers that may befall an empty house.

However, a homeowner takes a risk in letting someone they don't know live in their house and take care of their beloved pets. Requesting a police check from those that they may choose to stay in their house can give them added peace of mind in placing their trust in this individual and can also ensure that they turn away individuals who may be dangerous to entrust with their home and pets.

Requesting a Police Check from Strangers
For those unfamiliar with the process of requesting a police check from others, the prospect can be daunting. They may feel they are tacitly accusing people of having a criminal past, just by requesting that they provide a police check before considering them for the role of house-sitter. However, they should not feel shy about ensuring the safety of their pets and their home.

If approached in a business-like manner, explaining that they would or do request all potential house-sitters to provide a police check and the importance to them of making sure that their house and animals will be in safe hands while they are away, the potential house-sitter should take little offence to this requirement. If they do seem to take offence or refuse to provide a police check, this could be a 'red flag' for the homeowner. Anyone who cannot understand why a homeowner would ask for a police check should probably not be a house-sitter.

Assessing a Person's History
When receiving a police check from a potential house-sitter, a homeowner may be pleased and satisfied to learn that the person they wish to house-sit has no criminal history or they may be dismayed to find that they do. Obviously, the decision is easier if the individual does not have a criminal record. However, a homeowner should think about how willing they are to consider those people that do have a criminal record.

All offences might seen as relevant by a homeowner, even if minor. Petty theft, while perhaps of little importance in an employment or volunteer position depending on the role, may be quite important to a homeowner who is thinking about allowing an individual to stay in their home with their possessions. A homeowner should consider having a discussion with those individuals who they wish to have house-sit for them but who possess a negative criminal record. They may find they feel comfortable choosing the person if they understand the history of the offence(s) and feel the individual will not commit these offences while staying in their home.

A homeowner may be willing to consider an individual who has a criminal history as long as the offences they committed are minor and sufficiently old, but care must be taken before they do. Overall, a police check can be an invaluable tool for homeowners seeking a house-sitter.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Working With Children - Police Checks

Most people are familiar with the pre-employment or pre-volunteer requirement of many companies for potential employees or volunteers to supply a police history check before they can officially be offered or considered for a position or volunteer role. Some people may also be required, or may instead be required, to supply a Working with Children Check. 

What are the differences between a National Police History Check and a Working with Children Check? While it is logical that one is for those who work with children and one is for those who don't, there are other key difference between the two checks.

Working with Children Check

For a Working with Children Check, the Department of Justice determines whether they feel a person should be cleared to work around or with children based upon relevant past criminal history, taking into account any past convictions which would indicate the individual should not work with children, and also considering any relevant work history. It is an assessment and a person will either be approved to work with children or not.

A Working with Children Check will look at all convictions relevant to an individual's ability to work with children over an individual's whole life, not just those which can normally be released for a police check. As mentioned, it will also look at a person's previous work experience, if relevant, and any disciplinary findings. Based upon this, a decision will be made to either approve or deny a person's Working with Children check.

When looking into an individual's past history, all findings which would be important to consider in terms of ensuring the protection of children will be relevant and considered. This is not restricted to the past ten years or another, limited timeframe, but includes considering all offences that a person may have committed.

Once issued with a Working with Children Check, it is good for 5 years. However, through the life of the check, a person's criminal offences will be monitored and, if they commit any relevant offences, the Department of Justice will be alerted and the check may be cancelled or suspended on the basis that the person is no longer cleared to work with children.

Policy History Check

A police check does not involve any government agency and is not an assessment of suitability for the work force. A police check simply states any past or pending criminal convictions which can be disclosed at the time the check is performed. It cannot be used to confirm that a person is cleared to work with children.

Whereas a Working with Children check will determine whether a person can or cannot work with children, a police check will merely provide a list of all past or pending criminal convictions which a person has and which can be reported, i.e. it does not include spent convictions. It will not confirm whether a person can work or volunteer, but rather simply provide potential employers with information about a person's criminal history.

A police check is current only for the moment at which it is issued, as it only confirms a person's criminal record up to that point. As such, it does not 'expire' but you may be required to provide a new police check upon request to confirm that no new offences have been committed.

If you are considering working in a role which would put you into contact with children, you will likely be asked to provide at least a Working with Children Check and perhaps also a Police Check so that your potential employer has a list of your past, disclosable criminal convictions. It is important to understand the differences between the two and why you may be asked to provide both.