The Background Screening Basics
Your organization is a special place, and for many, an area of refuge and safety. It is necessary to take all reasonable steps to help ensure safety. One way to fulfill that duty is by using background screening as a safety tool. Church Mutual has partnered with Trusted Employees to help your organization select reputable and affordable screening options
Why is background screening important?
In today's world, background screening is more important than ever before. With criminal incidents increasing among organizations like yours, background checks are no longer just an option, they're essential. A well-designed background check process needs to be in place to keep your organization a safe place to work, volunteer and participate.
Youth abuse prevention: This issue is felt by all organizations both big and small, urban and rural throughout the country. Conducting a screening on the nationwide sex offender registry can greatly reduce the chance that past sex offenders will be able to become a volunteer or employee at your organization.
Theft and embezzlement: Your organization has a lot of assets on the line that is has worked hard to obtain. Screening those who handle money can help reduce the risk of direct losses from activities such as theft, fraud or misappropriation of funds.
Transportation: When you allow people to operate any vehicle on behalf of your organization, you must make sure they are safe and responsible on the road. Your organization should verify that their motor vehicle record (MVR) demonstrates qualities of a desirable candidate.
Reputation: Certain types of events can damage an organization’s reputation by losing the public’s trust and eroding donor support or government funding. Background screening can help demonstrate a desire to protect common interests and ensure your organization is doing its best to prevent crime.
Safety: Background screening will help your organization identify people who demonstrate undesirable behaviors such as those with a criminal history, sexual offenses, poor credit history, lack of qualifications and poor driving history. Limiting these exposures can help create a safe environment and prevent future accidents.
Who should be subject to background checks?
Screening procedures need to be in place to help protect people within your organization. Church Mutual recommends that you screen anyone who works or volunteers with children, the elderly, vulnerable populations, money or transportation.
It is your organization’s duty to exercise discretion as to the type and depth of background checks you order. The more access or association someone may have with church assets or vulnerable groups, the more screening he or she should receive. Church Mutual offers predetermined screening packages available through Trusted Employees to help aid in the selection process.
What types of background checks are available?
There are several different background screening options:
- Criminal history, including sex offender checks
- Employment verification
- Education verification
- Reference checks
- Credit history
- Drug testing
- Motor vehicle report (MVR)
When and how often should a background check be performed?
It is always important to conduct background screening prior to making an offer and routinely throughout employment or volunteer service.
Initial: When you're considering someone new for a position, whether paid or volunteer, a background check will help verify what he or she has on his or her application and help determine if he or she has not disclosed information essential to the hiring process. For tips on handling the results of background screening, see the best practices for employment screening above.
Annually: Employees and volunteers are not likely to voluntarily reveal any criminal charges or other risky behaviors. This makes it necessary for periodic re-screenings to identify potential risks. It is recommended that key screenings such as criminal background checks, sex offender registry checks and motor vehicle reports are done annually.
What if the background check is incomplete?
Minors, refugees, new immigrants and others might not have verifiable records available for background checks. In these cases, you can ask for references from sponsors, teachers and other organizations they've participated with, such as youth groups. Refugees and recent immigrants should be asked to provide you with names and contact information for Homeland Security officials who dealt with their cases.