Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Afterthoughts on background checks

On friday june 25, one of the larger newspapers in Norway revealed that the director of the public office authorizing health personnel for working in Norway didn't have parts of the education or grades claimed on her CV. The director left the position the same day. The wolves were out for blood.

Not that i don't understand them, it really is their job to reveal severe violations in our society. This office has a very important job, they do background checks before anyone is allowed to work within the health sector in Norway, public or private. The director wasn't direcly involved in issuing authorizations, but that has become rather irrelevant in this case. Our public trust in this office is important, the work they do even more important to us all.

Of course other media joined in on the digging, more details were revealed. The directors spouse proved to be the head of security at one of our rather important public offices, to say the least. The spouse got interviewed, I have no doubt the answers given to the media didn't really help, given a spouse's role in a relationship (Call me traditional if you like...)

This case is now in the hands of the police to investigate. However we should learn ourselves a couple of lessons here:

1. We're all humans
I'm well certified within security. I've been through background checks many times, but i actually don't know much on how thoroughly they've been. None the less; it doesn't mean I'm not a crook, or ever will be. Many people tend to forget that about people; becoming a crook is a simple evaluation of the personal value in doing something illegal versus the risk of getting caught and punished.

In cases where the media publishes the name and picture of those involved creates a media exposure that can break anyone. There's been suicides before, it will happen again. I for one hope and believe that the person in question here gets some voluntary, friendly and professional help as well.

2. The importance of doing background checks
I'm living in Norway. According to the United Nations one of the very best countries in the world to live in. Crime is low here, just like unemployment. Life is good here for most of us. No reasons whatsoever to believe that people won't cheat if they think they can get away with it. When somebody apply for a job you really should check their former employments, education and grades - and more. Doing so improves trust. It's the correct thing to do for everyone; you as an employer, and you as an employee.It doesn't take long, not doing so can easily destroy trust, business and health. You don't want that to happen.

The specific case here has so far focused on the director and fragmented parts of the surroundings. I've even read that "...they will now start doing background checks on other managers internally" in the office. About time, I'd say.

Now, if the public sector doesn't do proper background checks before hiring directors for public offices, I would seriously suggest that the media start looking a little bit deeper for the root causes. If there's one, there's more.

Just a few thoughts on a late tuesday evening, that's all.

(picture from Wikimedia Commons)

1 comment:

  1. Classic case of "Who watches the watchers", or rather "who verifies the verifiers". :)


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