This guide is designed to help Victorian public sector organisations implement our misconduct policies for all:
- address integrity vulnerabilities in recruitment practices
- set a minimum standard for misconduct screening
- seek to stop an employee from moving to a role without disclosing their misconduct history
- help you assess misconduct declarations against a role’s inherent requirements.
This policy is only one part of a comprehensive role-based risk assessment process for pre-employment screening.
How we define misconduct
We define misconduct as per the Public Administration Act 2004 (PAA). Misconduct is:
- a contravention of a provision of the PAA, the regulations or a binding code of conduct
- improper conduct in an official capacity
- a contravention, without reasonable excuse, of a lawful direction given to the employee as an employee by a person authorised (whether under the PAA or otherwise) to give the direction
- a refusal by an employee to perform duties assigned to the employee under Part 3 or Part 7A
- an employee making improper use of his or her position for personal gain
- an employee making improper use of information acquired by him or her by virtue of his or her position to gain personally or for anyone else financial or other benefits or to cause detriment to the public service or the public sector.
Our definition is indicative only. It doesn’t exclude conduct by people not employed under Part 3 of the PAA.
Acts of misconduct can:
- put the safety of others at risk
- reduce public value
- erode public trust.
How to use the policies
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.
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.
Select an independant consideration panel
You need to set up a ‘consideration panel’ that’s independent from the hiring panel to manage, review and verify completed declarations.
The panel must have the authority to represent your organisation and make decisions.
- 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
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.
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.
Other times you may want to do screening
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.