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| Charities & Not-For-Profit Sector | Identity Verification Checks
February 4 2019

Charities warned over unnecessary checks on staff

Charities have been warned not to carry out unnecessarily excessive screening checks on employees, a data protection expert has warned.  Following the safeguarding scandal last year, some charities now accept off-the-record additional information in references from previous employers, which could be legally risky.

A data protection expert has warned charities not to carry out unnecessarily excessive screening checks on prospective employees. Rowenna Fielding, senior data protection lead at consultancy Protecture, wrote in an article for Charity Finance magazine that some charities have looked to enhance their checks on new employees following the safeguarding scandal of last year. She warned charities against accepting off-the-record additional information in references from previous employers as this is “unfair to the candidate” and could be legally risky.

Fielding urged charities to be particularly cautious about outsourcing in-depth employment checks to vetting agencies, which she warned can carry out “highly intrusive” investigations that are “still no guarantee of a risk-free hiring result”. She added: “Although you can outsource the pre-employment vetting process, you cannot outsource your organisation’s responsibility for ensuring that the personal data that you collect, make decisions on and keep is compliant with data protection law.” However, some charities have expressed frustration over their inability to conduct more thorough screening checking on employees.