Are Your Personnel Security (PERSEC) Measures AS4811 Suitable?
20% to 30% of job applications contain some form of false information according to a recent report of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Nothing in the report suggests ICAC’s statistics relate solely to NSW or to the public service. Very likely similar issues will be found across other states and territories and in defence industry. For hiring managers, a robust risk – based employment screening framework should be crucial component of the recruitment process.
Identity must be some form of government photo identification and verify the candidate’s address history – a driver’s license meets these two elements.
For Integrity CV (resume) should be checked and a police check should be conducted. These are not considered mandatory.
To check Credentials, professional referee/s should be sought to verify positions and dates of employment.
Simply put, if you were to sight a candidate’s driver’s license (and did not have a claimed qualification or professional membership) you have essentially met the basic Australian Standards 2006 for employment screening – namely identity, integrity and credentials. That standard was not enough.
PART 1 – ALL DISP MEMBER’S WORKFORCES NEED TO BE ‘SUITABILITY’ SCREENED
In August 2022 Defence adjusted it’s Policy Framework to include the new AS4811:2022 Workforce Screening (March 2022) into it’s Entry Level membership as a basic minimum requirement for all personnel – including contractors – and this includes people who do not need an AGSVA security clearance.
As part of your DISP membership, you are required to perform Pre-Employment Screening on your employees. An example of our, the PSPF and Defence’s suitability criteria is found here. Pre-Employment Screening includes a ISO31000 risk-based suitability interview and risk assessment. 4811:2022 puts it this way:
Going forward you will need to implement the AS4811-2022 standard to remain compliant with your DISP membership. Existing DISP members will need to ensure they are compliant with the AS4811-2022 standard by the time their Annual Security Report is due.
PART 2 – Security Cleared personnel. DISP Level, 1,2,3.
An existing or aspiring defence industry company may also need help to align the “appropriate standard of integrity and honesty” (suitability) with the official suitability standards of a Baseline, NV1, NV2 or PV clearance. This alignment gives the company a fighting chance to mobilise a workforce without any delays at the point of an official clearance process.
The Australian National Audit Office noted that there was a 1:4 – 1:5 chance that your clearance subject (CS) will not be granted an AGSVA clearance:
Why? As a processor of national security clearances since 2010, we would put forward the following reasons: the process is (1) too long, (2) too complex, (3) too stressful (4) the CS is offered employment elsewhere without a clearance requirement and/or (5) their application is looking like a withhold, so the CS cancels before the decision happens. These ANAO statistics reveal a significant impost on the time, effort & energy on the AGSVA as well as the DISP Member. No sponsor creates an AGSVA e-pack application to waste time or money. So from the sponsor’s perspective, it seems to be the luck of the draw to get their people through and it is reducing Defence capability in a very tangible way. The ANAO also noted it took AGSVA 640 days to process a complex NV1 and an NV2 application took 697 days.
We do not like is the risk management treatment/control example in Annex D Security Risk Assessment for Security Clearances in the “Working Securely with Defence”. It implies the solution is just to hire externally – of which there is a limited supply of security cleared people will to move (and will cost you premium), or throwing more candidates into the AGSVA processing pipeline, expecting a percentage will get through and the costs is to pay the AGSVA cancellation fees.
AS4811:2022 and PSPF-compliant (pre-vetting) suitability interview & assessment can quantitively solve these problems. Here’s how:
A defence industry company (aspiring DISP or DISP Member) may already outsource some elements to an external screening provider (eg. CV Check, Sterling, First Advantage, PRM/PharmacyID – or one of the other 160+ vendors accredited bodies who conduct police checks). Or perhaps your recruitment agency completes the qualification verifications, referee checks & other database checks (police checks) that are relevant for the position. But recognise that all of those activities maybe limited and fall short in addressing the “suitability risk” issue. If your company uses these groups, then why not ask very specific questions about how they reach their determinations and how they recommend the candidate’s suitability and to what standard. Do they use a professional structured judgement that is non-discriminatory, fair, unbiased and reasoned. Do they use “qualified assessors”, defined in the AS4811:2022?
In each scenario – we suggest incorporating a AS4811:2022 suitability risk assessment into your existing process – whereby any adverse (eg Disclosable Court Outcome or a bad referee comment or potentially inflated CV claim) is provided to Cleard Life at the point of ordering the suitability assessment. The issue can then be properly investigated, including the one-on-one interview + a fair and non-discriminatory analysis, adjudication and recommendation. Done in hours not months – inside your recruitment/shorting process.
By mimicking the national security clearance levels, our suitability risk assessment offers the appropriate AS4811:2022 standard of integrity and honesty for working in the Defence Industry and gives you a clear indication that if that person needed a clearance, then they could get it and it offers you the assurance of a trusted workforce.
Click here to find out about our pre-employment screening solutions and help you make the right risk decisions – for your cleared and non-cleared workforce.
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Part 3 – Security Officer as A Service and clearance management, sorted.
Our Cleard Plus facilitation program is an innovative program designed to meet these issues head on. It ‘speeds up‘ and ‘smooths out‘ the security clearance process. We sponsor the clearance (using our Level 3 DISP Membership) and then provide help, advice & support to the clearance subject, so that they don’t cancel unnecessarily.
We also handle the initial, ongoing suitability and separating personnel – cleared and uncleared. We can co-sponsor the clearance subject and we provide a 24/7 dashboard to your CSO and SO, so you are never not in control of your cleared workforce.
Interested in our Security Officer as A Service program called “Cleard Plus“?
Register your interest today by contacting us 02-6171-4171 or read more articles below.
Personnel Security (PERSEC) Still Remains A Challenge For DISP Members:
News flash: Defence Industry is now considered part of the Critical Infrastructure of Australia and your company will need to hunt for spies – read more here.
Security Awareness briefings for every candidate, find out more here.