Ask no questions and hear no lies?
Conducting qualification checks on potential employees is crucial not only for businesses, but also for the people they serve. This is the view of Ina van der Merwe, director and CEO of a South African background-screening service provider, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE).
MIE works with the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) to combat fraud by populating its database of individuals who have committed a relevant offence – primarily those who have committed qualification fraud.
This information is shared with member organisations and – in turn – provides South African businesses with a means to protect themselves. Between the beginning of 2014 and August 2015, MIE listed 3 389 people on the database.
“Not only is it possible that businesses will have to incur costs and risks should an employee omit or supply untruthful or incorrect information, but if they do not carry out qualification checks, there could be repercussions for the health and wealth of members of the public,” says Van der Merwe.
The South African Nursing Council (SANC), which is entrusted to set and maintain standards of nursing education and practice in South Africa, requires that all nurses in the country re-register annually. MIE verifies that nurses are registered with SANC; it has conducted 9 780 authentications to date. “If a nurse is not qualified, it puts at risk the institution for which they work and, more importantly, the patients in their care,” says Van der Merwe.
Within the South African insurance services industry, candidates need to be qualified and to comply with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act in order to offer advice on and sell various products and services to the public. In addition to conducting checks on candidates to establish DoFA (Date of First Appointment) and their completion of regulatory exams, MIE ascertains whether or not candidates are FAIS-compliant.
Van der Merwe points out: “Having unqualified people selling insurance products and providing advice can have major financial implications for both businesses and their customers. An example of this would be the sale of a pension fund. If this money is not advised upon and managed by an expert, retirees could risk not having enough, or any, money to live off when they stop working. The company that hired the unqualified employee would also be held liable for this and may therefore be responsible for additional legal and pay-out costs.”
She continues: “As a candidate’s FAIS-compliance status can also change at any time and for any reason, we urge companies to regularly check their credentials.” Since 2014, MIE has checked over 30 000 people for FAIS compliancy.
Van der Merwe concludes: “South African businesses and the South African public deserve to have peace of mind knowing that a high calibre individual has been appointed with qualifications relevant to the position which they fill.”