Education & Training Employment Screening Solutions

A thorough employment screening process is a crucial component of corporate governance, quality assurance and academic integrity regulation within the Higher Education and Training sectors.

Why Should You Screen Potential Education & Training Employees?

Higher education organisations that offer qualifications in or from Australia, are required to be registered by The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), which is the national quality assurance and regulatory agency for the sector.

There are a number of Standards and regulatory frameworks that must be adhered to, in order for an organisation to maintain a registration with TEQSA and continue to operate under the agencies approval. One of the key policy documents that governs this approval is the Higher Education Standards Framework 2021 (HESF).

Quality Assurance

Some of the standards within HESF relate to quality assurance, which includes sufficient vetting of research and teaching staff to ensure they have correct qualifications and have the required calibre of character to hold a trusted position within a university or training organisation.

TEQSA notes that the “The effectiveness of a provider’s academic quality assurance processes is seen by many to be an important determinant of a provider’s reputation in the sector.” In their Standard on Corporate Governance – which has some related themes and goals to the Standard on Quality Assurance – TEQSA also warns that “The effectiveness of a provider’s academic quality assurance processes is seen by many to be an important determinant of a provider’s reputation in the sector.“

In addition to basic checks like ensuring teaching staff have sufficient qualifications and academic standing, there is also a need to ensure that senior candidates are not going to pose a reputational risk to the institution. TEQSA notes that in the case of a university’s senior leadership:

“The background of all of the members of the governing body will need to be available in sufficient detail for TEQSA to form a view of their collective and individual competence and the experience of the members to undertake governance roles”

In TEQSA’s guidance on Academic Integrity they also highlight the dangers presented by not implementing processes that ensure said integrity, one of which can be a thorough employment screening process:

“Breaches of academic or research integrity tend to be high profile in the media (not only in the academic media), which reflects the seriousness with which the global academic community takes its commitment to honest, ethical scholarship. In many cases, an allegation or series of allegations will trigger the spotlight of public attention.”

Fraud Prevention

The Corporate Governance guidance from TEQSA also outlines the importance of risk management plans. One of the risks that must be mitigated is the potential for fraud, money laundering and other reputationally damaging and criminal behaviour from members of staff. TEQSA states that organisations must have “risk management plans showing that risks have been identified tenably and credible mitigation strategies have been implemented”.

An example of the use of pre-employment screening as a risk mitigation strategy is the check protocol put in place by the Australian National University, which goes beyond just checking identity, right to work, qualifications, employment history, criminal record and referees, but also mandates an Anti-Money Laundering check for all prospective and current members of the ANU Executive, staff with financial delegation over $100,000 as well as relevant staff within the Human Resources Division (eg Payroll), all staff within the Finance & Business Services Division, and relevant staff within Information Technology Services.

While these type of financial checks may be useful during the recruitment process, it’s also important to note that just because a candidate hasn’t previously carried out fraud, it doesn’t mean that this won’t be an issue in the future. An example of this is the case of a Yale School of Medicine administrator in the US who used university funds to buy computer equipment which she then sold on for luxury cars and real estate.

While pre-employment screening may not have prevented the recruitment of this administrator who later went on to defraud the company, periodic rescreening could have helped to identify the warning signs.

You can read more about these warning signs, described in Cressey’s Fraud Triangle, and how rescreening can help to maintain a trusted workforce in our blog post Identifying Fraud In The Workplace.

Recommended Screening Checks For Education and Training Organisations

An Education and Training organisation should identify the essential requirements of the position, identify any associated risks, and determine the screening process necessary to manage those risks.

To ensure that your recruitment process aligns with Australian standards and the Protective Security Policy Framework, we work with you to create a package of screening checks that meet your legislative requirements and best practice recommendations. The following probity checks are an example of some of the popular checks carried out as part of an Education and Training sector recruitment process:

Identity Verification

Identity verification is one of the most fundamental screening checks. Not only do we recommend verifying identity, but we also encourage checking if the individual appears on a host of watchlists.

National Police Check

Police checks are generally required when employing individuals to work in the Education and Training sector. While they’re not mandatory for all positions they are one of the most commonly implemented checks out of the recommended list.

Employment History Verification

Verifying employment history helps with establishing a known association. These checks should be used to assess whether an earlier role has impacted their suitability for the position they’re applying for.

Referee Checks

This classic screening tool allows hiring managers to gain insight into a candidate’s past job performance. Reference checks should also verify information provided by the candidate on their CV to ensure accuracy.

Qualification Check

Candidates may need formal qualifications, licensing, registration, or professional memberships depending on the Education and Training organisation. In these cases, it may be necessary to check the validity of their qualifications.

Entitlement To Work Check (VEVO)

The Australian Government’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system conducts Entitlement to Work Checks. However, only registered organisations with a visa holder’s permission can check visa details.

Working with Children Check

Australia’s states and territories have all adopted legislation regulating assessments of employees and volunteers who perform work related to children. Applicants who will work with children as their profession must meet specific screening requirements.

Conducting Employment Screening During The Recruitment Process

We believe that all industries and businesses can improve hiring quality and safeguard themselves against application fraud by carrying out appropriate probity checks.

Having a well-planned employment screening framework in action, complete with probity checks, can deliver benefits by:

  • Decreasing reputational risk and improving hiring quality;
  • Minimising risks associated with certain positions;
  • Reducing the threat of financial loss to your business.

However, besides conducting the screening checks mandated by law, you need to undertake a risk assessment to determine the appropriate checks you need to conduct.

Employment screening is best approached with a strategic framework. Essentially, it’s a prudent business process. The benefits of having a strategic, consistent risk management approach significantly outweigh the investment.

Organisations need to be clear about why they need employment screening, what and when it is required, how the personal information will be collected and securely stored. Based on the screening outcomes, it’s also necessary to disclose who will conduct the checks and the next steps in the hiring process based on the screening outcomes.

Safeguard Your Organisation with Accurate Background

Contact our specialists today.

At Accurate Background, we believe that the education and training sector can improve hiring quality and safeguard itself against application fraud by introducing employment screening services.

With accurate and unbiased information about a candidate’s background and credibility, employment history verifications by Accurate Background help you make smarter hiring decisions. Our mission is to support education and training organisations to build a trusted workforce and make every hire the start of a success story

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