Auditor General finds agencies need to better check employee identity and their background

Office of the Auditor General

Auditor General Colin Murphy has reported that improvement is needed in the screening of employees by government agencies.

Mr Murphy said all of the 10 agencies audited needed to improve their policies and procedures for checking new employees and monitoring existing employees.

'A key activity of any agency is the recruitment of employees – effective verification and screening processes provide greater assurance that agencies are recruiting the most appropriate and suitable person for the role,' he said.

'Appropriate checks include verifying that employees are who they say they are, their employment history, educational qualifications, right to work in Australia and for certain positions a criminal background check.

'Agencies with specific requirements such as working with children checks or legal practising certificates generally performed better.

'However, in other agencies we found many instances where the identity, qualifications and criminal backgrounds were not checked.

'Good practice would also be to periodically check an existing employee’s circumstances or status, which may change over time.'

Mr Murphy encouraged all agencies to take note of the findings and recommendations in this report and act accordingly.

The Auditor General’s report, Verifying Employee Identity and Credentials (Report 26 – December 2015), is available on the Office of the Auditor General website.