Why more Australian businesses are investing in criminal record checks

Every month, there is a notable increase in the number of Australian businesses that include background screening checks as part of their recruitment processes. A greater number of Australian workplaces are realising the value proposition of including background checks like a national police history check in their screening processes.

In the not too distant past, it was mainly upper-tier companies like publicly listed ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) companies, as well as sectors where background checks are mandated by Australian law such as aged care, child care and health care providers that carried out criminal record checks for their workforce. In the modern era, even smaller businesses like cafes, restaurants, and other smaller-scale services are shifting towards more robust background screening before taking on new recruits.

Below, we will underpin the reason a number of Australian workplaces are including background screening checks as part of their standard recruitment processes and how these checks are used to provide better assurance for human resource workers and mitigate workplace risk.

So how do workplaces obtain criminal history checks?

National criminal history checks in Australia are available in an efficient manner through authorised services like Australian National Character Check. A state-based check like a Queensland police check is, in essence, the same as a national level check.

These services have streamlined the application process and have made criminal record checks more accessible to the general Australian population. They implement best practice guidelines for the process and online security. The goals of the organisations are oriented towards the improvement of community safety by providing accurate and timely information.

So what are the benefits of conducting background checks?

  1. Protect Business Assets, Reputation, and Vulnerable Persons

The 2016 PwC Global Economic Crime Survey outlines that the crimes most modern organisations have undergone relate to theft, procurement-related fraud, cybercrime issues with the IT environment, and accounting related fraud.

It is widely understood that including background checks when taking on new hires may work towards reducing such risks for organisations and the individuals involved in them, thereby providing a higher level of assurance.

A criminal record check can assist decision-makers like human resource workers to take proactive steps towards reducing the risk of hiring unsuitable workers that may pose an unnecessary risk to the community or the workplace. This is particularly important for organisations whose workers have direct or indirect access to vulnerable persons in the community. In Australia, a vulnerable person is described as the following:

  • Child or Children; or
  • Individuals that are aged 18 years and above who are or may be unable to take care of themselves, or are unable to protect themselves against harm or exploitation by reason of age, illness, trauma or disability, financial status (e.g. the poor) or any other reason that may render them as per the above definition.
  1. Promote positive conduct from workers

It is within the interests of workplaces to promote good conduct and an ethical workplace environment.

A number of Australian businesses have shifted towards annual police check policies for staff. Further to this, background and screening checks are normally included as a standard process in a number of small and large firms for new hires.

It is noted that having such a policy helps potential and existing employees and contractors to be more socially aware of their actions and avoid conduct that may potentially put their employment into question, particularly if they have access to vulnerable persons in the community as part of their job roles.

  1. Promoting Client Satisfaction

The benefits and importance of customer satisfaction is more important than ever. Consumers tend to seek the services of organisations that vouch for the trustworthiness of their workforce. For example, rideshare companies actively promote that their drivers are background checked to build trust with new and existing customers.

This is especially important for at-home services such as installation or repair or technicians, delivery drivers, or other services where workers may be sent to peoples’ homes to carry out their tasks.

Clients would like to have the assurance that the people they let in their homes are trustworthy.

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