Mitigate employee risk during COVID-19 with BS 7858:2019

The far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has affected virtually every business and economic sector worldwide. Depending on the global region, the far-reaching implications have hampered (on various levels) the ability to conduct proper and thorough background screening investigations. In the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, the countrywide lockdowns forced leaders to close sites and send their workforce home. Many have to learn how to manged people working from home (WFH) or remotely for the first time. The previous concerns about productivity, privacy and protecting sensitive information only grew more with the practice of WFH. They highlighted the vital importance of pre-employment background screening and background investigations. BS 7858:2019: the revised standard for screening individuals working in secure environments offers a complete solution.

Unfortunately, conducting such investigations in a reliable and timely manner has brought its struggles. The closure of public information sources has dramatically impacted accessing public records to verify previous employment, education and criminal charges. Drug screening tests have been delayed or postponed until such companies are permitted to reopen their doors for business. On the applicant side, it’s been widely reported that individuals are concerned (and rightly so) about participating in face-to-face interviews. Applicants are concerned with leaving their homes to do a drug test and, ultimately, returning to a work environment that may or may not appear healthy, protected and safe.

Recruitment fraud and how BS 7858:2019 provide the solutions

Investigators themselves have hesitations about venturing into the field to complete their assignments, which in many countries may require a high degree of boots-on-the-ground research and in-person interaction. Fortunately, the background screening industry is resilient. It is steadily working around these obstacles to ensure that workplaces are safeguarded, workers, customers and property are protected, and sensitive information doesn’t fall into rogue hands. This is particularly important in those sectors that rely heavily on vetting personnel working in secure environments responsible for people, property, data and critical systems. And it’s important for the mere fact that a trending increase in recruitment fraud is creating additional challenges for already over-burdened employers. Last year recruitment fraud cost £23 billion in the UK alone.

The recent update of the BS7858:2019 standard, “Screening of Individuals Working in a Secure Environment – Code of Practice,” emphasizes the risk assessment of secure environment workers. The code focuses on the need for tighter controls over the pre-employment screening – and periodic re-screening – of individuals, who in their positions could potentially benefit from illicit personal gain, become compromised, or take advantage of other opportunities for creating breaches of confidentiality, trust or safety.

Written by the British Standards Institute, which is recognised as the UK’s national standards body, BS7858:2019 lays out the scope of “obtaining personal background information to enable organisations to make an informed decision, based on risk, on employing an individual in a secure environment.” Those workers include business owners, directors, partners, silent partners and shareholders holding more than 10% of the business; managers, area managers, department managers, screening managers and staff; installers and service crew; security personnel; and office supervisors and staff with access to customer and system records.

The amended guidelines of the standard put the onus on the organisation’s top management to demonstrate that they are focused on the aspects of the business where the most risk lies and the particular personnel roles involved within those risks areas. This is particularly important because, as the standard states, the “organisation retains ultimate responsibility for an outsourced screening process and is required to review the completed screening file.” Risks assessment includes examining certain roles that involve financial tasks, data security, management of goods, property risks or any number of “people risks” such as roles with direct access to vulnerable adults and children.

To that end, management is charged with ensuring that the organisation has proper and adequate resources and infrastructure to manage the adequate vetting of high-risk personnel. Management is tasked with the response and that there is a firm commitment at the top level to manage and support the coordination required to execute the screening process. Finally, management is tasked with ensuring that such responsibilities are appropriately assigned and communicated throughout the organisation. The guideline also eliminates its original text in 2012, a requirement to produce character references as part of the screening process. This decision was based on the supposition that such references are now deemed potentially weak and difficult to verify. 

Price of a bad hire

The price of a bad hire has far-reaching consequences for any business, including productivity loss, decreased employee morale, risks to employee safety and increased exposure to costly negligent hiring claims and potentially devastating litigation. The premise behind the standard is to safeguard employers from harmful or fraudulent hires. Cases of organisations that forego conducting due diligence on a new hire – especially a hire with high-risk exposure – often end badly for those organisations.

The revised BS7858:2019 standard enables organisations to demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding their businesses, employees, customers and information utilising widely accepted methods that focus on risk assessment and top-down management involvement in the company’s employment policies and practices. In establishing policies and practices around the standard, organisations can show that they place a high value on hiring individuals who possess integrity. Organisations can then task them with responsibilities designed to keep their co-workers, customers and information safe from the negative forces that have become more prevalent in today’s ever-changing COVID-19 world.

Playbook | Everything About BS 7858:2019

The price of a bad hire has far-reaching consequences for any business, including productivity loss, decreased employee morale, risks to employee safety and increased exposure to costly negligent hiring claims and potentially devastating litigation. The premise behind the standard is to safeguard employers from bad or fraudulent hires. Cases of organisations that forego conducting due diligence on a new hire – especially a hire with high-risk exposure – often end badly for those organisations.

At CRI Group, we know how important is your background screening to your company’s success and to give you an idea of what is new, we have produced this playbook detailing the differences between the BS7858:2012 standard and the new BS7858:2019 standard.

E-Book | Employee Screening During COVID-19

Managing people through COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is undeniable affecting the world. And the situation is changing at an hourly rate as we go into a second global lockdown. Businesses have to adapt quickly to survive, i.e. cutting steps in their hiring process, and no one knows how this will play out. However, there are ways you can mitigate the impact, learn how from this free ebook.

Taken as a whole, this ebook is the perfect primer for any HR professional, business leader and companies looking to avoid employee background screening risks. It provides the tools and knowledge needed to effectively stay ahead of COVID-19. Read the answers to the following questions:

  • Does a candidate have to give consent to process a background check/screening?

  • How long does it take to conduct a background check?

  • When should I conduct pre-employment checks?

  • How often should I screen employees?

  • How to collect references and what to ask?

  • How much does it cost to conduct background checks?

  • What is the difference between employment history verification and employment reference?

FAQ E-Book | All About Background Checks

The price of a bad hire has far-reaching consequences for any business, including productivity loss, Get answers to frequently asked questions about background checks/screening cost, guidelines, check references etc.

Taken as a whole, it is the perfect primer for any HR professional, business leader and companies looking to avoid employee background screening risks. It provides the tools and knowledge needed to make the right decisions. This eBook is a compilation of all of the background screening related questions you ever needed answers to:

  • Does a candidate have to give consent to process a background check/screening?

  • How long does it take to conduct a background check?

  • When should I conduct pre-employment checks?

  • How often should I screen employees?

  • How to collect references and what to ask?

  • How much does it cost to conduct background checks?

  • What is the difference between employment history verification and employment reference?

  • How do I check on entitlement to work?

  • How to conduct identity checks?

  • What will a financial regulatory check show?

  • Is it possible to identify conflict of interest during checks?

  • What is a bankruptcy check?

  • What about directorships and shareholding search?

  • Can I have access to a criminal watch list?

  • Anti-money laundering check?

  • Can we conduct FACIS (fraud and abuse control information system) searches?

CRI Group | BS7984:2008 Accredited Company

BS7984:2008 accredited companies, such as CRI Group highlight to their clients that their security personnel are staff that can be trusted and relied upon to complete a high-quality job as the screening process highlights the level of conduct that they have presented in the past. This reassures the safety of the people, goods and property that they have been hired to protect.

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

If you have any further questions or interest in implementing compliance solutions, please contact us. CRI Group has safeguarded businesses from any risks, providing investigations such as insurance fraudemployee background screeninginvestigative due diligencebusiness intelligencethird-party risk management, forensic accounting, compliance and other professional investigative research services.

In 2016, the CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 19600:2014 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

About the Author

Zafar I. Anjum is Group Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Research and Investigations Limited “CRI Group” (www.crigroup.com), a global supplier of investigative, forensic accounting, integrity due to diligence and employee background screening services for some of the world’s leading business organisations.

Headquartered in London (with a significant presence throughout the region) and licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre-DIFC, the Qatar Financial Center-QFC, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-ADGM, CRI Group safeguards businesses by establishing the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners, suppliers and customers seeking to affiliate with your business. CRI Group maintains offices in UAE, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, China, the USA, and the United Kingdom.

Zafar Anjum, MSc, MS, LLM, CFE, CII, MABI, MICA, Int. Dip. (Fin. Crime), Int. Dip. (GRC)
CRI Group Chief Executive Officer

37th Floor, 1 Canada Square,
Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AA,
United Kingdom

t: +44 207 8681415
m: +44 7588 454959
e: zanjum@crigroup.com

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