Written By ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn
Policies and procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy when obtaining, recording, and reporting education and employment verifications for their clients are important 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.”
“Verification Services Standards” is the fifth of six areas covered by the BSAAP standard – which was updated in 2018 – and includes 10 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 “Verification Services Standards”:
- 5.1 Verification Accuracy – CRA must have and follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy when obtaining, documenting and reporting verification information.
- 5.2 Current Employment – CRA must have and follow procedures to contact consumer’s current employer directly only when authorized by consumer or when client receives authorization from consumer and provides such authorization to CRA.
- 5.3 Accredited Academic Institutions – CRA must have and follow procedures to inform client when post-secondary academic institutions are not accredited by an accrediting body recognized by U.S. Department of Education, Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), similar U.S. body, or comparable global body, if reasonably available, for academic institutions outside the U.S.
- 5.4 Procedural Disclosures – CRA must have and follow procedures to provide full disclosure to clients about general business practices regarding number of attempts to verify information, what constitutes an “attempt,” locate fees, fees charged by the employer or service provider and standard question formats prior to providing such services.
- 5.5 Verification Databases – If CRA compiles, maintains and resells employment or educational verification information, CRA must have and follow procedures to ensure that data compiled and stored is accurate, including procedures for handling consumer disputes.
- 5.6 Use of Stored Data – If CRA provides investigative consumer reports from stored data, CRA must have and follow procedures to ensure the CRA does not provide previously reported adverse information unless it has been re-verified within the past three months, or for a shorter time if required by applicable law.
- 5.7 Documentation of Verification Attempts – CRA must have and follow procedures to document all verification attempts made and the result of each attempt, in completing all verification services.
- 5.8 Outsourced Verification Services – CRA must have and follow procedures requiring a signed agreement from all providers of outsourced verification services. The agreement must clearly outline the scope of services to be provided, verification methodology, documentation of verification efforts, disclosure of findings, time frame for communication and completion of requests, confidentiality requirements, reinvestigation requirements and other obligations as furnishers of information under the federal FCRA.
- 5.9 Conflicting Data – Should CRA receive information from the verification source subsequent to the delivery of the consumer report, and as a direct result of the initial inquiry, that conflicts with originally reported information, and that new information is received within 120 days of the initial report, (or as may be required by law), CRA must have and follow procedures to notify client of such information.
- 5.10 Authorized Recipient – If CRA is requesting verification by phone, fax, email or mail, CRA must have and follow procedures to confirm that verification request is directed to an authorized recipient.
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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