The Commission updated the VPS Pre-employment Screening Policy and supporting Guide on 14 October 2020.
This policy applies to all Victorian Public Service executives and non-executives.
Aims of this policy
The policy’s key aims are to:
- prevent employees from moving into different jobs within the Victorian Public Service without relevant misconduct being known
- support natural justice and ensure candidates are not unfairly prevented from getting a job where their history of misconduct is not relevant
- set a minimum standard for pre-employment screening in the Victorian Public Service
Why we do pre-employment screening
We live by the Victorian Public Sector values. Integrity is one of these.
Victorian Public Service employees occupy positions of trust in the community.
Pre-employment screening seeks to identify candidates who have a history of misconduct. This is to prevent them from moving between jobs without relevant misconduct being known.
How this policy works
As part of their recruitment, candidates must complete a declaration and consent form about their misconduct history.
If misconduct is disclosed, the organisation may do further checks.
The screening process must be fair and reasonable and protect candidates from unlawful discrimination.
In practice, this means if screening finds a candidate has a history of misconduct, the candidate should have the opportunity to discuss the declared conduct and respond to any information provided about them.
Before a candidate is ruled out, an organisation needs to confirm their misconduct is of high risk or would mean they’d be unable to do the role.
How to use this policy
As a hiring manager, you should:
- put a statement in your job ad or position description that advises candidates they may undergo pre-employment screening as part of the recruitment process
- gives candidates a link to this page so they can read more
As a hiring manager, you won’t need to deal with declarations at all.
Your Human Resources team will take care of candidate declarations including if they need to be reviewed or validated.
If you work in human resources, your organisation must include the misconduct declaration and consent form in your recruitment process.
You must have all preferred candidates complete the misconduct declaration and consent form.
You should ensure any offers made are subject to the successful outcome of screening.
You need to set up a ‘consideration panel’ that’s independent from the hiring panel to manage, review and verify completed declarations.
Hiring panels shouldn’t be involved at any stage with declarations.
When to verify a completed declaration
If a candidate is applying for a role judged to be higher risk, we strongly advise you verify their declaration with their previous employers. You may need to verify it even if they didn’t declare any misconduct.
If a candidate is applying for a low risk role, it’s up to you if you want to verify their information.
Section 6 of the guide tells you more.
What to do when ‘do not know/cannot answer’ is selected for questions
Section 6.6 of the guide tells you what to do if a candidate selects ‘do not know/cannot answer’ for any question on their declaration.
If they select ‘do not know/cannot answer’, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unsuitable for employment.
A candidate may have selected ‘do not know/cannot answer’ to questions on the declaration if they have:
- confidentiality obligations
- non-disclosure obligations
Pre-employment screening and internal transfers
You don’t need to do pre-employment screening for Victorian Public Service employees who move between departments on a short-term basis.
If they’re moving to a role with a higher level of risk, use your judgement on whether to do pre-employment screening. This includes roles on the Jobs and Skills Exchange.
If an employee is moving to an ongoing role, you must do pre-employment screening.
Even if an employee already works in your organisation, at the VPS or executive level, you still need to do pre-employment screening.
Who this policy applies to
This policy applies to all Victorian Public Service bodies.
Since 2013, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission and Victorian Ombudsman have investigated integrity vulnerabilities in public service recruitment several times.
As a result, they recommended the public service:
- strengthen current pre-employment screening processes
- adopt the use of a statutory declaration of previous misconduct