How Accurate Are Background Checks In Australia?

How accurate are background checks in Australia?

This is the type of question many recruiting agents ask when they consider the need to make national police checks a part of their hiring strategy. All human resources managers have their own strategy and after some years on the job, they can tell pretty well if a candidate is trustworthy or not. However, they are not human lie detectors and even the best managers can sometimes be wrong. 

Why you should always run a background check

Whether you call it a background check, a police check or use its official name of Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, what you get is the same thing and that is a 100% accurate police certificate. To put it simply, if there’s anything that should be of concern in a prospective employee’s past, a police check will tell you about it. 

When you order a national police check on a new employee, the verification refers to that person’s whole life, including juvenile offences. Whatever that individual might have committed in the past, it will show up on the police certificate. At the same time, when you conduct a background check the employee’s name will be searched in the police databases all over the country. Even a crime committed in another state will be listed on the police check results.

However, you should be aware of the Spent Convictions scheme, according to which less serious crimes are deleted from a person’s record after a number of years.

This scheme was introduced to give people a chance to change their lives and have a shot at a decent job without being haunted all their lives by a minor crime committed when they were young. 

How accurate are background checks in Australia?

For Australian citizens, a less serious crime is considered spent after 10 years, or just 5 years for juvenile offenders. People from New Zealand can have a minor offence scrapped from their record after 7 years of good behaviour.

To sum it up, a national police check will provide an employer with all the disclosable court outcomes linked to a certain individual, including pending charges. 

Spent convictions and convictions for which a pardon was granted will not appear on a national police check.

How to obtain a 100% valid police check

For an employer, the easiest and the fastest way to run a national police check on a new employee is to go through an online accredited body. Employers can get a national check on the new employee or even a state based police check in Australia. For example, organisations based in Victoria (VIC) can get a police check online or they can choose the old and inefficient way of getting it from the local police station. Online agencies are accredited with the ACIC after undergoing strict security verification. Once an agency is accredited it gets access to the police databases in all Australian states and territories. It’s exactly like asking for a criminal history check at the local police station, only faster. The whole procedure takes place online. 

The individual or the HR department has to upload basic information to verify their identity and the results come back in 2-3 business days. The national police check result is sent back via email. 

Many businesses use online agencies these days not only because it’s faster, but also because it makes the whole procedure less awkward for the employee. Although people generally understand the need for such checks, some might find it humiliating to have their honesty put in doubt. If the company treats this necessary step as routine, it is easier for candidates to accept they need to undergo a check.