Top 10 Questions a Business Should Ask Before Deciding on a Police Check
Many businesses are obligated to request police checks from employees, but this is not always a legal requirement. Lots of businesses wish to include a criminal history check on individuals joining the team.
While most businesses can benefit from implementing police checks as part of the recruitment steps, they are not necessary for every business. Before adding police screening to your day to day hiring process, consider whether it is the right thing for the business.
Here are the top 10 questions a business should ask before deciding on a police check.
1. Will a Police Check Benefit the Business?
There are massive benefits for any business that uses police checks to assess existing and new employees. From business protection to promoting good staff conduct, there are lots of reasons to add screening.
Police checks can offer all-round protection for a business. With a police check, employers can rest assured that reasonable steps have been taken to manage the individuals joining the company.
Employers have a duty to act cautiously when hiring somebody. Gaining knowledge of a person’s background can help to prevent criminal activity in the business. Those with previous offences such as fraud, theft and bribery could put the establishment at risk. Many economic crimes have the potential to threaten assets and private company data.
Background checks also mitigate risk to other members of the team. If an employee has a history of violent outbursts, this could interrupt the work setting and put fellow employees in harm’s way.
In care services, the community must put trust into the employees and volunteers who provide support to vulnerable groups. Screening using background checks is a crucial way to keep everybody safe.
Reputation is highly important for a business. Ensuring a healthy screening process shows an understanding and commitment to safety regulations. Customers, clients and employees will be able to put trust in the business.
Boost Staff Morale
National police checks can boost staff morale by creating a safe environment. Employees can take comfort in the fact their workmates have been vetted correctly and risk mitigation has been met. An established screening process may even discourage individuals from engaging in misconduct, particularly when police checks are regularly updated.
Overall, a national police check gives employers invaluable information to determine who can and cannot work for the business. People need to know who they are welcoming into the company to safeguard the business as much as possible.
2. What Rights Does a Business Have?
Businesses have the right to access the results of a person’s national police check if consent from the individual has been obtained having understood and accepted the conditions. It allows the decision-makers to find candidates of good character, who are eligible and suitable for the role as well as fitting with the business.
Request Police Checks with Good Reason
A business should only request a criminal background check with good reason. It must be relevant to the specifics of the job, and not a completely unrelated request.
Comply with Australian Law
If Australian law dictates that a police check is a compulsory requirement for all employees, the business must respect and comply with this policy. The business must always obtain consent, and must never try to force an applicant to disclose their criminal record.
The applicant should decline the opportunity to work for the business if they wish to refuse a mandatory check.
To promote a transparent working environment, businesses should make the procedure clear from the start and engage in open conversation should the applicant wish to discuss the requirement.
Refrain from Discrimination
It is illegal for a business to unfairly judge an individual because of their police results. This attitude is considered an offence in Australia and will be taken up with the Australian Human Rights Commission should the business invite a complaint.
All businesses and employers should be considerate and respectful of employees with a police history. Always operate a positive recruitment process and remove the incentive for applicants to file complaints.
3. Should Every Business Request a Police Check?
The Australian police check is not a suitable condition for every business. Businesses should consider if viewing the criminal history of employees is a good incentive. Of course, this does not need to be considered where the business is required by law to obtain police checks.
Those that must use police checks often run highly sensitive services which require the most trustworthy people to work there. Businesses and organisations that associate with vulnerable populations have a duty of care to make sure every hire is scrutinised. This keeps the likes of elderly people, children and disabled persons safe from harm and exploitation.
Every business is different, and the need for a police check is complex. For instance, a shop selling women’s shoes may not require the screening of employees, but a shop selling alcohol will need a licence and may insist on employee screening.
4. Can a Business Streamline the Process?
There are some ways that businesses can streamline the process for employment screening, whether for new or existing members of staff. If a police check is something your business wants to include, you want to make it as easy as possible for employees, as well as fast and efficient for the business.
To save time in the future, businesses should include the requirement within the first stages of the hiring process. In doing so, job applicants can prepare and decide from the beginning whether they want to consent to a national police check.
If you suddenly announce that you require permission for a background check and the applicant refuses, the time invested prior to this will have been wasted. The best practice is to keep it open, honest and simple.
The most simple way to obtain employment checks is through a police check online. Results are delivered to the applicant’s inbox which can then be provided to businesses. It’s worth considering business packages to streamline the process as well as the costs.
5. Will it Add Much Time to the Hiring Process?
Adding police checks to the business’s recruitment process does not require a lot of extra time. A police check online is the best way to get rapid results, assuming the employee’s application form is not rejected or delayed.
Around 70% of all Australian police checks return a result within 24 hours. Delays can lengthen the waiting time up to two weeks. Either way, it does not add a huge amount of time onto hiring procedures.
The process itself can be completed within minutes. An online police check with Crime Check Australia is simple and efficient. The applicant just needs to add the required information and documentation.
Overall, should the potential employee apply for police clearance in advance, it shouldn’t pose any issues.
6. When Should a Business Request a Police Check?
If you’re a business owner and are strongly considering adding police checks to your hiring procedure, you might be wondering when to incorporate the requirement.
Firstly, a business should make it clear from the beginning that candidate’s will require a police check. The job advertisement is a good place to mention this condition. The application should be submitted as soon as possible to get the certificate in time.
You want to avoid delays where possible. Obtaining the check before the job is due to begin gives the business a chance to review the information and make an informed judgement on how best to proceed with the candidate.
More information about how to handle police checks for employment can be found on the website of the Australian Human Rights Commission. You can also contact Crime Check Australia.
7. How Much Do Police Checks Cost a Business?
Prices can differ between providers. Should a business choose to use Crime Check Australia to provide the checks, it will cost the employee $99.
If the person is going to work for the business on a volunteer basis, the check will cost them $69.
Some providers offer business packages which might see discounted rates if the service is used regularly for multiple employees.
8. Which Provider Should a Business Use?
Any person or business who applies for an Australian police check should ensure that they use a reliable provider. There are many ways to certify that a provider is legitimate. The only way to make sure accurate results are collected is to use an accredited agency.
Accredited agencies are providers certified by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to submit police check applications for people and companies. A certifiable national police check is essential for employment, licensing and registration purposes.
There are some key things to look out for when choosing a provider. Tips include:
Research the Provider
Research the provider in detail and ensure that they are listed as an accredited body by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. A full list of ACIC accredited providers can be found on their website.
Most will state on their own websites whether they are ACIC accredited, but it’s a good idea to check the official website for confirmation.
Choose the Right Type of Check
Understand the different types of checks available in Australia, and register with the right provider. The generic term ‘police check’ can refer to various other checks, including:
- Name Only National Criminal History Check
- Name with Fingerprints Police Check
- Name Only with ASIO Security Assessment-Ammonium Nitrate Police Check
Don’t waste time with a check that your business doesn’t need. Depending on the services a business offers, more checks such as the Working with Children Check and NDIS Worker Screening Check may be required. These must be obtained through the relevant providers.
Check Delivery Expectations
During your research of background checking agencies, read through their FAQ section and check delivery times and expectations. Note that all agencies have the same access to the National Police Checking Service, so the waiting time is generally the same.
However, opting for a reliable and well-regarded provider will give you peace of mind that the application will run adequately.
9. Is a Police Check Relevant?
Another important consideration for businesses is whether a police check is a viable solution for every position. Developing a strategic risk assessment is a key task for any business. Assessing the level of risk involved with each position is another.
Essentially it all comes down to health and safety. A good risk assessment is an integral part of running a business to mitigate physical harm, economic injury and any other challenges which may be detrimental to the company.
If your business is not required by legislation to conduct a criminal background check, you may still wish to use it. Careful consideration should be taken when deliberating this choice.
10. How Does a Business Obtain Police Checks on Employees?
Should a business decide to conduct police checks on employees, there are three options available to handle the process.
- Direct employees to an accredited agency or Australian police branch
- Become an accredited body customer
- Become an accredited body and submit checks themselves on behalf of employees
Whatever your thoughts are about background screening as a business, contemplate the top questions before deciding on a police check. Once you are well-versed on the subject, you can make an informed decision as to whether to use police checks within your business.
Once a national police check is received, it’s just as important to review the results carefully before making further decisions on the eligibility of the applicant.