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| Media Searches
May 9, 2019
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Get your social media policy in place, fast!

The latest in a recent spate of high-profile news stories involving celebrities and their social media activities, has highlighted the need for all employers to address, or at least be aware of, employee’s past and current social media usage. It is essential that you make sure a policy is in place to help formulate decisions, where necessary.  While the vast majority of people would not condone the content of the racist and homophobic Tweets behind the controversy, there is a noticeable undertone of understanding around the circumstances as to how some of the posts came into circulation. 

The BBC’s firing of radio DJ Danny Baker in response to the public’s backlash caused by his ‘racist’ tweet is the latest example of how costly an ill-advised posting on a social media platform can be. Baker immediately deleted his “gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit” as soon as he was made aware of the seemingly obvious connotations that he had presumably overlooked, but this kind of damage cannot be undone.

Social media Tweets, posted when she was a teenager and using racist language widely used in the hip-hop music she was listening to at the time, but utterly unacceptable in any other environment, cost 24-year old Shila Iqbal her highly-coveted role as an actress on British soap opera Emmerdale. Few would doubt Iqbal’s assertion that she would have instantly deleted those posts had she known that they were still in the public domain six years later and would never use that language now as a professional and adult actress.

Israel Folau is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest rugby players and also a devout Christian.  Folau’s presumably well-intentioned Tweet urging people to turn to Jesus and to repent their Sins to avoid going to Hell, quoting three verses from the bible would have surely gone unnoticed had the picture accompanying the post not contained an image designed to shock. The ‘Warning’ poster listed homosexuals alongside drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters. Folau frequently uses social media to spread his religious beliefs, and some of his posts have led to intense debate over the years. With Folau now having been found guilty of committing a high-level code of conduct breach, this post looks set to cost him a multi-million-dollar contract and his rugby career, and will hopefully teach many millions of people around the world an incredibly valuable lesson.

Social Media Screening is not a new tool in the background screening arsenal. However, it is undoubtedly the most topical and fastest-growing service.  Many are not yet convinced about the importance or value of social media checks, but it is highly likely that they will become as widely accepted and adopted as criminal record checks and employment references over the next decade.  They have recently been recognised as being “good practice” by the FCA as part of annual checks on all staff.

A huge issue and challenge to overcome is that many HR professionals and prospective line managers are already conducting social media screening, but in many cases, this has damaging implications for employers.  While you may be having a quick look at someone’s profile to see if there are any positive signs or red flags, it is impossible to “un-see” something that may create unintentional bias. 

By using a third party to undertake the checks, you can ensure that the candidate’s sensitive personal information is protected; that applicant/employee consent is obtained; and that only employment-related business and reputational risks are identified and revealed, ready to help with your decision-making process alongside results of other background screening investigations.
And by having a Social Media Policy in place, you can set clear guidelines and expectations for both employees and applicants about how they conduct themselves online, regardless of whether they are posting on their personal accounts or acting on your behalf promoting your organisation. A Social Media Policy should not discourage activity, nor drive users to hide behind anonymous profiles, but encourage them to clean up any previous mistakes or indiscretions and act responsibly and professionally now that your organisation’s reputation is on the line.

See our Media and Entertainment industry page for further details and contact us to discuss how our Social Media Insight checks can improve your employment screening policies.

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April 30, 2019
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We always add a personal touch....

It’s been two weeks now since we refreshed the Verifile brand identity and launched our new-look website. The response has been overwhelmingly positive – so I wanted to thank everyone who has been in touch with their feedback.

I said ahead of the launch that I knew that an overhaul of the Verifile image was long overdue. However, this was also about so much more than merely modernising the website or rethinking our corporate livery.
Within our new brand identity, there’s a new strapline – “Accurate data. Meaningful relationships”. It’s more than just a casual soundbite. Having it front and centre in this way proves that we stand by the quality and accuracy of our data. It also reassures clients that we stand for something more than just data outputs; that we always add a personal touch.

Less overt – but just as important – within our brand refresh are our five Verifile values: leadership; partner; human; relentless; and flexible.  Combine all these and you have the complete picture of what Verifile stands for – and how we’re passionate about helping creating transparency within your workforce.

I hope that comes across strongly in our new brand identity and website. And I look forward to proving that to you as we work together in the coming months and years.

Yours sincerely

Eyal Ben Cohen


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| Criminal Record Checks
April 29, 2019
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Criminal records check for NHS contractors

Many of our clients are supporting the NHS with a variety of ways, and the question keeps popping up whether or not they should be getting their staff checked for standard or enhanced DBS checks.

We have recently received several enquiries regarding the level of check that is appropriate for contractors visiting NHS Trust sites, including Medical Sales Representatives and Service Engineers.

Eligibility with regard to roles held by contractors visiting NHS Trust sites, including Medical Sales Representatives and Service Engineers, has not changed, and the guidance provided by both NHS Employers and DBS advises that in the majority of cases, basic level checks are appropriate. However, standard level checks may be requested where the contractor is providing a health service and has access to patients while carrying out their role.  

Verifile pays particularly close attention to applications for such roles to ensure that checks are not submitted at a level that is above and beyond eligibility laid out in legislation. 

We would also take this opportunity to remind our clients that any contractual statement they may have with their NHS client regarding the level of check required for contractors as part of any broader accreditation arrangements does not override eligibility as laid out in legislation.  In such a scenario it is important that clients challenge requests made by NHS Trusts for levels which seem unjustified.
Our industry page for the Health and Social Care industry covers additional guidance.

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