UK vs. The World: How Does Background Screening Compare?

So, we’ve previously spoken about criminal background checks when an individual is moving to or from the UK for work, but how do DBS check equivalents in these countries compare? Are they more or less detailed? And do laws state they’re a requirement of employment screening?

Here we’ll take a look at a few examples from around the world in great detail:

Background Screening in the Asia Pacific

According to a study by the Asia Pacific branch of US firm First Advantage, 18% of background screening checks in this part of the world have discrepancies. This is a 6.5% rise in the last 2 years. From Japan to China, Australia to New Zealand, the company studied over 2 million checks from 2014 to find these results.

The key findings state that Australia and New Zealand have a consistently high level of discrepancies with more than 1 in 4 holding a mistake. Whereas China’s checks have the least discrepancies than anywhere else in the South Pacific at just 9%.
So, what are these errors? Well, the majority appear to lie with past employment or education. 1 in 9 previous job titles are incorrect while nearly a third of people lied about why they left that position. Unconfirmed degrees and study date confusion were also common.

But enough about the data. What checks are available in these countries? Well, in Australia you may be expected to take part in a background screening check if you are starting a new job or adopting a child. And like in the UK, there are different types and levels of checks depending on each individual situation.

However, the 2 most common types are a regional and national criminal history check, which can be applied for at any local police station. A regional check will look for any convictions or offences conducted in the region and is usually requested by the individual for court-related purposes, whereas a national check is used for employment screening.

There are 3 types of National Police Certificates:

1. Name Only – A search of a person’s name against criminal records held by the Australian Police Force.
2. Name With Fingerprints – Same as above, but with additional searches using the individual’s fingerprints. This is usually for working abroad or adoption services.
3. Name With ASIO Security Assessment –A combination of the first option with an ASIO check to ensure no association with politically motivated violence. This is required when applying for jobs at companies licensed to access Ammonium Nitrate, such as mining or agriculture positions.

Background Screening in the USA

COMPAREBS3Background screening in the US is a bit more complicated, basically due to the sheer variety of government-maintained database checks available.

The following databases may be checked as part of a general or more specific industry-related background check:

• OIG LEIE – Office of Inspector General List of Excluded Individuals and Entities
• SEC – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions Database
• OFAC SDN – Office of Foreign Assets Control Specially Designated Nationals List
• FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation Top Ten Lists
• DEA – U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Database
• SSA & DHS – E-Verify Program
• GSE –EPLS – U.S. General Services Administration Excluded Parties List System
• BIS – U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security Database
• NCUA – National Credit Union Administration
• NAR – Certified Nurse Aide Registry
• NPDB – National Practitioner Data Bank & HIPDB – Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank
• OTS – Office of Thrift Supervision
• OCC – Office of Comptroller of the Currency
• DDTC – Directorate of Defense Trade Controls Database
• FDA – U.S. Food and Drug Administration Database
• INTERPOL – International Criminal Police Organization
• HUD – U.S. Housing & Urban Development
• FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
• FED – Federal Reserve Board
• FFIEC – Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council

Background Screening in Latin America

COMPAREBS4South of the border, background screening is difficult for a different reason: despite the rise of these checks being integrated into HR departments, cross-regional profile checks from other jurisdictions are complicated due to variations in available information. This is because of the different types of government.

Out of the 37 American countries, 6 have federal governments (The U.S. Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina) that offer the best access to this kind of data. And as Brazil and Mexico have the highest crime levels in Latin America, these nations have the most records. However, due to these countries’ sheer size, information must be collected from individual states and as a result, may take considerably longer.

An example of the type of checks you could expect in this part of the world is a Brazilian Certificate of Good Conduct which details any violations of state law and are available from any National Police station. These background screening certificates vary to ours in the UK though; all criminal records are expunged 5 years after any served sentence.

So, with frequent discrepancies in the South Pacific, multiple databases in the US and issues with cross-regional checks in South America, the UK’s system comes out on top (by far). Find out all about the DBS Checks we offer at CBS here and make sure to read a few more blog posts to learn more.
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