10 top tips for Security Screening
Many senior security specialists believe the most significant threat to business today comes from the insider threat: the criminal, terrorist or disgruntled employee or those open to coercion, who can cause significant damage, steal from your organisation or worse.
Your first defence against someone with criminal intent being on your staff is by having effective security measures in place, especially a robust security screening process. Does your process address these key factors?
Do not discriminate
Treat all job applicants and employees in the same way. For example, make no assumptions about a person’s right to work or security status based on their colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins.
Plan for security screening
The level of security screening will depend on the role. The full written process takes 4-5 weeks on average, with a maximum of 12 weeks permitted. There will be a business imperative to bring your new candidate into post as soon as possible, but it is important to factor in the time to properly screen.
Meet your legal requirements: Carry out a right to work check
You can commit a criminal offence if you employ an illegal worker. So, you must ensure that a potential employee is permitted to work in the UK. Full information is provided on the government’s website www.gov.uk
Ensure you carry out the right level of security screening
There are certain checks that well-trained personnel in your own organisation can carry out. Or you can use an independent specialist screening organisation to ensure robust pre-employment screening. It is important to establish the right level of screening for the role. This will depend on the level of access to critical assets within the organisation. It is important to determine when developing the job specification, the level of security screening required and to communicate this to potential candidates.
Check all ID documents are valid
Terrorist organisations encourage their followers to conceal their true identity with counterfeit and forged documents. So, as police colleagues advocate, it is important to: Assume Nothing, Believe Nothing, Check Everything when it comes to checking documentation. This can include checking birth certificate, passport, firearms certificate, driving licence and SIA licence. Specialist training and resources are available from your local police force and specialist providers.
Check credit history
For some roles, it is important to arrange for a Consumer Information Report (CIR). This examines the electoral role for current and previous addresses of the most recent 5 years and who else lives at these addresses. In addition, it will check for satisfied and unsatisfied County Court Judgments, bankruptcy/insolvency and outstanding debts, individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) and debt relief under £15,000.
Check career history and account for gaps
It is good practice to check back at least the most recent 5 years in a potential candidate’s career history. This includes checking accounting records for the self-employed. Redundancy happens to most people at some point and there are many other legitimate reasons for career gaps, but you may need to ask for documentary evidence for these. For example, details of benefits claimed. Many people travel or live abroad for long periods, so you may require details of this, such as passport stamps, visas and/or confirmation of employment overseas.
It is important to take up references as evidence of a candidate’s career history. Previous employers may only be prepared to provide dates of employment and job title in writing. If you want more insight, you may find a personal telephone call more fruitful.
Check educational attendance
If your candidate is a recent graduate or school leaver, security screening could involve checking the most recent 5 years’ history including attendance at school, college or university. The screening process should ascertain if the individual was full-time or part-time, the dates attended and whether there were any extended periods of absence.
Police Checks – Disclosures
Depending on the role for which you are screening, varying levels of information held about the individual can be requested from the police – these are known as “disclosures”. This process is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which defines when criminal offences are “spent”, or no longer disclosed. This depends on the sentence received for them, for example a minor offence resulting in a fine may be spent after 1 year has lapsed. A serious offence involving a long prison sentence will never be spent. Overseas police checks may be required if the applicant is a foreign national or has spent extended periods overseas.
In this modern world, security screening plays an important part in keeping us all safe and protecting our brand.
National Security Screening Agency