Business Practices Critical for Background Screening Companies Accredited by the NAPBS

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Written By ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn

Business practices that ensure proper character of owners and employees, worker training, and quality assurance during the performance of background check services are critical for background screening companies accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

The NAPBS, a non-profit trade association representing the background screening industry founded in 2003, offers Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – the official name for background screening companies – a way to be accredited through its Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP).

CRAs accredited by the BSAAP are committed to uphold and deliver the highest level of industry standards for six critical areas that include “Information Security,” “Legal and Compliance,” “Client Education,” “Researcher and Data Standards,” “Verification Services Standards,” and “Business Practices.”

“Business Practices” is the sixth of six areas covered by the BSAAP standard – which was updated in 2018 – and includes 15 clauses that CRAs must follow in order to become accredited by the NAPBS. There are 68 clauses in the entire BSAAP standard. Here are the clauses for “Business Practices”:

  • 6.1 Background Checks for CRA Personnel Charged with Enforcement of Policy – CRA must have and follow a policy requiring criminal background checks and government sponsored sanction list checks be conducted on all CRA owners, officers, principals and CRA workers charged with enforcement of company policy. Checks must be conducted at official, appropriate government repositories to cover 7 years of residential history and such records must be retained unless otherwise prohibited by applicable law. Record checks must be conducted at least once every two years covering the time period since the last check was completed and records retained for the duration of enforcement responsibility. Any criminal conviction(s) or sanctions listing(s) must be evaluated to determine if the individual may remain in an enforcement capacity based on: 1) nature and gravity of offense or conduct, 2) time passed since offense, conduct, or completion of sentence and 3) nature of current enforcement role (commonly referred to as “Green Factors”).
  • 6.2 Background Checks for CRA Workers – CRA must have and follow a policy requiring criminal background checks and government sponsored sanction list checks be conducted on all CRA workers. Checks must be conducted at official, appropriate government repositories to cover 7 years of residential history and such records must be retained unless otherwise prohibited by applicable law. Such record checks must be conducted at least once every two years and records retained as long as CRA worker provides services to CRA. Any criminal conviction(s) or sanctions listing(s) must be evaluated to determine if the individual may remain his/her current position or any other position with CRA based on: 1) nature and gravity of offense or conduct, 2) time passed since offense, conduct, or completion of sentence and 3) nature of current or desired role (commonly referred to as “Green Factors”).
  • 6.3 Changing Law and Regulation – CRA must have and follow procedures to remain knowledgeable about and compliant with changing law and regulation. The CRA must designate an individual(s) or position(s) with the organization responsible for such knowledge and compliance or identify the external resource utilized for this purpose.
  • 6.4 Insurance – CRA shall maintain a minimum of $1 million coverage in errors and omissions insurance. If CRA does not maintain errors and omission insurance, CRA must self-insure in a manner compliant with its state’s insurance requirements.
  • 6.5 Client Authentication – CRA must have and follow a procedure to identify and authenticate all clients prior to disclosing consumer reports or other consumer information. The procedure must require the CRA to maintain written records regarding the qualification of each client who receives consumer reports or other consumer information.
  • 6.6 Vendor Authentication – CRA must have and follow a procedure to identify and authenticate all vendors prior to disclosing consumer information. The procedure must require the CRA to maintain written records regarding the qualification of each vendor who receives consumer information.
  • 6.7 Consumer Authentication – CRA must have and follow reasonable procedures to obtain proof of identity prior to providing any information to a consumer making a telephonic inquiry. The CRA must maintain reasonable procedures to document the information used to identify each consumer to whom consumer information is provided.
  • 6.8 Document Management – CRA must have and follow a written record retention and destruction policy which, at a minimum, complies with all applicable law and regulation.
  • 6.9 Employee Certification – CRA must have and follow a policy requiring all CRA workers to certify in writing they will adhere to the confidentiality, security and legal compliance practices of the CRA.
  • 6.10 Professionalism and Proficiency Training – CRA must have and follow procedures to provide initial and ongoing training to CRA workers, where training is commensurate with specific worker role and responsibilities. CRA must retain records of such training.
  • 6.11 Worker Confidentiality, Legal, and Compliance Training – CRA must have and follow procedures to provide initial and annual training to all workers on confidentiality, security and legal compliance practices of the CRA and maintain records of such training.
  • 6.12 Visitor Security – CRA must have and follow procedures for a visitor security program to ensure visitors do not view or have access to consumer information.
  • 6.13 Responsible Party – CRA must employ one person designated to oversee and administer the accreditation process and ongoing compliance by the CRA, including enforcement of the Accreditation Standard. This person must be vested with the responsibilities and authority attendant to this task, and must be the CRA contact for the auditor and accreditation related matters for NAPBS.
  • 6.14 Document Control – CRA must have and follow procedures for document control and versioning to ensure correct versions of all controlled documents are used.
  • 6.15 Ethics Reporting – CRA must have a process by which CRA workers can anonymously, to the extent possible, report ethical, compliance, and work product concerns without fear of identification or retaliation based on such reporting. CRA must have and follow a procedure to inform CRA workers of reporting process and anonymity; CRA must have and follow procedures for investigation of reported concerns.

To become accredited by the NAPBS, CRAs must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with the accreditation standard as prepared by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). Compliance is demonstrated through rigorous audits completed by an independent third-party auditor.

CRAs must document each of their policies and processes as required in each of the areas within the standard and demonstrate visible compliance with their policies to the auditor. Accreditation lasts for a period of five years, after which time firms are required to recomplete the process to remain accredited.

Founded as a non-profit trade association in 2003, the NAPBS currently represents more than 880 members engaged in background screening across the United States. NAPBS member companies range from Fortune 100 firms to small local businesses. To learn more about the NAPBS, visit www.napbs.com.

In May of 2019, the NAPBS selected Dawn Standerwick, Vice President of Strategic Growth at Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), as the “NAPBS Volunteer of the Month.” Standerwick currently serves as Chair of the Ethics Committee and is active with the Finance and Government Relations Committees.

In October of 2018, Standerwick was recognized as longest serving Board Member in the history of the NAPBS with nine years of service that included four years as a Regular Director and five years serving on the Executive Committee as Secretary, Treasurer, Chair Elect, Chair, and Immediate Past Chair.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a “Founding Member” of the NAPBS and is accredited under the BSAAP. ESR Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen was the Chairperson of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS and served as first co-Chair. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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