In simple terms an HR specialist and their team is responsible for managing an employee’s life cycle, from recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and firing. While many of the HR responsibilities can feel administrative some have higher stakes than others. HR has a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the vulnerable and many high-profile organisations have come unstuck when perpetrators have slipped through the HR process. It is HR that is responsible for ensuring all credentials attached to an employee are valid and up-to-date.
Most HR teams are diligent in performing the often complicated but necessary checks and background screening during the hiring phase to ensure that candidates are everything they say they are.
Once those checks are complete, the haggling with the candidate done and the ink has set on the employment contract, there is little time for self-congratulation before proceeding to the next job requisition.
In a resource-constrained labour market, it’s easy to think that the job has finished at recruitment. But in many respects, it has only just begun.
Every day, at least one working with children check is revoked in almost every state in Australia. Yet, a mere 5 per cent of organisations are competently verifying working with children checks and other similar right-to-work checks at any time beyond hiring.
And once the recruitment screening is done, that crucial accreditation data, that worker screening legislation in all states requires organisations to hold and ensure current, becomes a data management nightmare. Often stored in paper records, excel spreadsheets or HR systems not designed to ensure accuracy or readiness for subsequent verification, organisations can become quickly exposed to the risk of allowing someone who has become unsuitable to carry on working.
Junior Adventures Group know this area is a minefield and a burden for HR teams. Professional licences and vital certifications such as working with children checks are fluid and can quickly change or be revoked, requiring constant monitoring to ensure a workforce remains compliant.
The difficulty is that there is no single centralised database that stores this information – not even at state level. To ensure accuracy, an employer must cross-check with individual organisations – for example the Queensland Children’s guardian, AHPRA, VIT and many other state authorities as well as the National Police records – that maintain this information.
Screening obligations are constantly changing and keeping up takes focus and effort in an already overworked environment.
“Recruitment screening is the first line of defence. Ongoing screening is the second line of defence,” says OHO’s chief executive Claire Rogers.
While HR departments are the custodians of employee screening, the responsibility of non-compliance reaches all the way to the boardroom, and a favourable impact on the risk profile of organisations for insurance purposes if done well.
“Risk mitigation of the type that Oho provides is a way to put strong safeguarding defences around an organisation to deter those with intent from ever coming near and protect the organisation’s mission and reputation,” she said.
Oho has completed more than 5 million verifications of employee, volunteer and contractor credentials on behalf of its clients since the creation of the company. Oho covers a wide range of credentials relevant to care and community organisations and those that support them including national coverage of working with children checks, teachers’ licences, national disability worker cards, AHPRA (health and allied health), VEVO and other background checks for recruitment screening and ongoing monitoring. Oho has detected 27 revoked accreditations and more than 1,100 irregularities since the beginning of the 2023.
Oho can help support the HR team to protect those in your care and the reputation of your company. If you wish to make an appointment to speak with Oho: