How you do this depends on your organisation’s size and existing recruitment practices.

The key priorities are:

  • the candidate receives and completes the misconduct forms
  • the hiring manager never sees any of the information in a candidate’s misconduct forms
  • you assess the level of pre-screening you do on the role’s level of risk

You can choose when you’d like to screen candidates based on the role’s level of risk. It’s usually done at the preferred candidate stage.

Tell candidates about your use of pre-employment screening in all stages of the hiring process. This includes that they’ll need to complete a declaration and consent form.

This helps discourage them from:

  • giving false information
  • exploiting your process or integrity weaknesses
  • continuing misconduct in new jobs

Who you have to pre-screen

You must pre-screen for all executive positions covered by the Victorian Government Public Entity Executive Recruitment Policy.

This includes candidates:

  • in your organisation
  • in the Victorian Public Service
  • in the public sector
  • from outside the public sector

Mandatory forms

Preferred candidates must complete a statutory declaration and consent form (DOCX 151KB).

The statutory declaration for executive recruitment must include the following statements:

  • I have not had my employment terminated by any previous employer due to misconduct in employment.
  • In the past ten years, I have not been found to have engaged in misconduct in employment.
  • I am not the subject of any open investigation into misconduct in employment.
  • I have not ceased employment while being the subject of a misconduct investigation

Or if a candidate can’t use the statutory declaration, they can use the misconduct declaration form (DOCX 135KB).

Consent form

Informed consent is important.

This means:

  • the candidate fully understands what they are consenting to
  • you have given the candidate information about what you’re collecting and how you’ll use and store it

The consent form asks candidates to consent to you:

  • contacting their current or former employers to get information about their misconduct history
  • verify their declaration

The candidate needs to give you consent:

  • for former and current employers to give you personal information including sensitive information
  • as you’re using the information you collect about them for misconduct screening, which is a different purpose than what their employers originally collected it.

Statutory declaration

A statutory declaration is a written statement on a form that a person signs and declares to be true and correct before an authorised witness.

By signing it, the person agrees that the information in it is true.

Knowingly making a false statutory declaration is a criminal offence.

Independent consideration panel

You need to set up an independent consideration panel to review and assess misconduct declarations.

An HR team set up this panel and it can be a person or persons with a high level of seniority, in addition to strong HR or investigative skills.

The panel must have the authority to represent your organisation and make decisions.

The panel:

  • maintains confidentiality and reduces the risk of unlawful discrimination and bias to the candidate
  • reviews the declaration and validates the information by contacting the previous employers
  • makes a recommendation to the hiring panel on whether the candidate is suitable or not
  • never shares any information with the hiring panel

Integrity impacts

If a candidate knowingly makes a false statement in recruitment, this may be against the public sector values.

This means your organisation may:

  • not consider them for the role
  • terminate their employment if you’ve already hired them

Planning and designing a role

Work out what level of pre-employment screening you need to do when you plan and design a role.

You need to assess:

  • if a candidate can do the inherent requirements
  • if you’re comfortable with the level of risk if someone in that role previously committed misconduct

Screening against inherent requirements

Inherent requirements are those that are essential or fundamental to the position.

They may include:

  • personal characteristics
  • skills
  • accountabilities
  • capabilities
  • knowledge
  • qualifications
  • accreditation

Pre-employment screening helps identify potentially relevant issues about past conduct that affects the person’s ability to fulfil the inherent requirements.

These include:

  • reference and police checks
  • confirmation of qualifications
  • misconduct declarations
  • declarations of conflicts of interest

Screening for the level of risk

You need to consider the risk level of the position when designing a role.

You can then work out what level of screening you need to do based on the role’s seniority and responsibilities. Don’t apply the same level for all roles.

Factors that will impact a role’s level of risk are:

  • oversight of public sector assets
  • financial delegations
  • responsibility for vulnerable members of the community
  • access to personal or sensitive government information or data.

As most executive roles are high risk, we recommended you check the accuracy of candidate declarations, even if they have no relevant history of misconduct.

This policy is the minimum standard for misconduct screening.

For some executive roles, you may want to screen for matters not captured in this policy’s forms. But if you want to do this, seek legal advice.

Examples of where to use pre-employment screening

These are examples of the standard and role-specific screening processes, where you can use pre-employment misconduct screening.

You can use these to assess if a person meets the inherent requirements of the role:

Administrative requirements

What you need to check How to check this
Confirmation of identity and address 100-point identity-check
Confirmation of declaration of criminal history

National Police Check

International Police Check (if the person has lived overseas within a relevant period)

Declaration and management of conflicts of interest

Conflict of Interest declaration and policy

Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) company director personal name search.

Standard inherent requirement checks

What you need to check How to check this
Performance in prior roles Reference checks
History in prior roles of personal qualities and conduct in line with the Code of Conduct

Reference checks

Pre-employment misconduct screening

Role-dependent inherent requirements checks

What you need to check How to check this
Working with vulnerable clients

Working with Children Check

Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme Check

Psychometric or aptitude testing

Pre-employment misconduct screening

Access to and handling of sensitive or confidential information

Confidentiality agreement

Security clearance

Psychometric or aptitude testing

Pre-employment misconduct screening

Access to and use of specialist equipment and weapons

Licensing and training check

National Police Check for relevant offences

Pre-employment misconduct screening

Oversight of or access to significant assets or resources

National Police Check for relevant offences

Psychometric or aptitude testing

Pre-employment misconduct screening

Operation of a vehicle

Driver licence check

Check for traffic or vehicle offences with relevant road corporations, such as VicRoads or similar

Pre-employment misconduct screening

Physical requirements Medical check
Professional or other qualifications Confirmation of qualification and currency with issuing entity and equivalency and recognition in the State of Victoria.

Writing position descriptions

In the position description, you must tell candidates how:

  • How you’re going to screen them
  • the role’s inherent requirements
  • the role’s risk level

Here’s some example text:

Pre-employment misconduct screening requirements

This position has the following inherent requirements, which we’ve assessed as having a higher level of risk:

  • [requirement 1]
  • [requirement 2]

As part of our recruitment process, preferred candidates must complete a pre-employment misconduct screening declaration and consent form.

Read more about pre-employment misconduct screening at [link] or by calling [XXXX XXXX].

Writing job advertisements

You must base your job advertisements on the inherent requirements of the role.

Your advertisement must have a statement that tells preferred candidates:

  • they may undergo pre-employment screening
  • how you use their information you collect
  • you only screen for relevant misconduct history
  • they’ll still undergo other checks, such as a police check
  • where they can read more about this policy, such as this website

If you want to screen more than the preferred candidate, write this in your advertisement and position description. But seek legal advice on how to word this.

Refer to your local recruitment policy and procedure for general guidance on advertising roles.

Interviewing candidates

Tell each candidate you interview you’ll screen the preferred candidate for misconduct.

If you plan to screen more than the preferred candidate, let everyone you interview know.

In the interview, advise candidates of their rights to informed consent.

Give them a link to this policy so they can read more.

Advising preferred candidates

When you advise the preferred candidate of their selection, tell them:

  • any offer of employment is conditional on the outcome of the misconduct screening process
  • they must complete the misconduct declaration form
  • you may contact their previous and current employers to validate the information and declarations in the form

Candidates and validations

The policy says all preferred candidates must fill out the misconduct declaration form. Our form helps you standardise how you collect and validate the information.

We strongly encourage you to validate your completed forms. Do this even if the candidate:

  • is an existing or new executive
  • doesn’t declare relevant misconduct

You may want to develop a process to record the validation outcomes and the impact these have on the employment offer.

Your process must comply with the Information Privacy Principles and best practice records management.

The benefits of this are to:

  • track and evaluate your own process
  • identify trends at a local level
  • better respond to validation requests you get from other organisations
  • support whole-of-Victorian-government analysis of the pre-screening policy

You can use our misconduct declaration validation form (DOCX 135KB)

Candidate confidentiality

Throughout your process, think about how you can protect the candidate’s sensitive and private information.

If you use the phone to validate information, try to verify the identity of the caller or stop the call from being overheard by a third party.

Have a way to verify the identity of anyone who needs to release information to you. This includes the preferred candidate, current and former employers.

Always explain the process and confirm the person you’re contacting has the authority to validate the candidate’s information.

Take notes of the conversation and have the written record signed by both parties. This could be through an email confirmation of your notes.

Always remind the person you’re speaking with that their comments need to:

  • be honest and fair
  • not be about the candidate’s protected attributes
  • not be about any personal characteristics not related to the candidate’s ability to fulfil the inherent requirements of the role

A candidate is generally entitled to access any information you collect about them.

Making an offer

You can offer a candidate a role if there are no misconduct issues that would:

  • stop them from doing the role’s inherent requirements
  • create an unacceptable level of risk

In their executive contract, include a clause that states:

  • the candidate agrees they’ve provided true and correct information in their application
  • providing false or misleading information is likely to be a breach of the Public Sector Values
  • consequences of this may include termination of their employment

Records management

Treat all information you send or receive as personal information, in line with the Information Privacy Principles and good records management.

This includes:

  • secure storage and restricted access of screening forms and outcomes those who have a need to know
  • rules on how long you’ll store and when you’ll update outcomes

Never store any of this information in your personal files, such as OneDrive.

You must develop a secure and restricted file storage location that only the people who pre-screen candidates can use.

Read the Public Records Office of Victoria guide on what you need to do.

Other times you may want to do screening

Temporary roles

You may choose not to use the misconduct forms if you have:

  • temporary backfills
  • short-term acting up arrangements
  • short-term secondments within or between organisations
  • asking staff to undertake a short-term task

But still apply some level of screening based on the role’s level of risk.

If you decide to offer a temporary employee an ongoing role, you must have them fill out the misconduct declaration form.

Secondments and short-term roles

The organisation hiring the candidate is responsible for pre-employment screening.

This even includes temporary placements.

Decide if you want to use the misconduct declaration form, based on the:

  • level of risk inherent to the role an executive is moving to
  • length of time they’ll be in the role

Base short-term offers on the outcome of any relevant screening you do.

Multiple appointments and bulk recruitment

If you select more than one preferred candidate for a role, each candidate must:

  • fill out the misconduct declaration and consent forms
  • go through pre-employment screening

Candidates with a history of self-employment

If a preferred candidate has been self-employed, you can customise the misconduct declaration form and consent templates to seek information from previous clients.

Seek legal advice if you want to do this.

Alternative to the statutory declaration

This guide provides a non-statutory declaration you customise for your use.

It’s an alternative to using a statutory declaration, which requires the document to be signed and witnessed either in person or electronically.

Only use this when a candidate can’t complete a statutory declaration in person or electronically.

If your preferred candidate wants to electronically sign and witness their statutory declaration, they must comply with the statutory declaration advice.

If your preferred candidate has a genuine reason why they can’t complete the statutory declaration in person or electronically, you can:

  • use a non-statutory declaration in the first instance
  • advise the candidate they will need to complete a statutory declaration when their circumstances allow them to