Identity theft costs Australians an estimated $1.6 billion a year and is considered by the Australian Federal Police to be a “critical threat” to the Australian community. Not only does it cost government, the private sector and individuals financially, identity theft is also a key enabler of serious and organised crime.
To combat growing identity theft, government bodies and regulators have strengthened compliance requirements for identity checks including police checks. Since July 2018, 100 point check identity process are no longer satisfactory. The new process requires four documents be sighted and bound to the applicant – digitally or in person.
For employers requiring police checks, these new regulations complicate the process of onboarding staff and creates an increased administration and compliance burden through the handling of more personal information. This is leading to more organisations outsourcing the responsibility of police checks to third parties. But care needs to be taken in considering who to partner with – that partner should bring with them a market reputation of storing, managing and disposing of personal information securely.
Australia Post is a name with decades of experience in personal information management and identification services – including police checks for Queensland and Western Australia and passport services. Since June they have been offering a new service to streamline the workforce verification process.
Verifying your workforce
“With the increased war on talent, businesses are trying to get talent and retain the best staff,” Robert Petrovic, Australia Post’s Senior Product Manager for Growth Markets Identity Services, explained. “To achieve this the experience has to be positive from the start.”
The new system offered by Australia Post aims to create an experience that is valued by both employers and employees. The employer, through their company workforce verification dashboard, invites an employee to complete a police check as part of the onboarding process. The employee receives the invitation, explaining the process will be facilitated by Australia Post. They then complete a form online and can choose to verify their identity online or in-store, enabling the check and the results to be sent back to the employer and the candidate.
For the applicant, Australia Post have aimed to make this their first of many positive experiences with a new employer. The process can be completed on mobile, tablet, PC or in-store with the aim of making the candidate feel that they will be working for a cutting edge organisation.
“Australia Post is a known and trusted brand, so applicants feel comfortable completing these types of transactions with us, but if you are facilitating this through a company that people have never heard of and they are asking to upload a driver’s licence, credit card, passport and more, there there’s likely to be a real hesitation.”
Roughly 30 to 35% of candidates currently using the Australia Post system are choosing to verify their identity in-store when presented with the option.
“One of our unique value propositions to the market is we are giving people channel choice, meaning candidates can complete the transactions online or choose to come into one of Australia Post’s 3500 participating Post Offices. We know that not everyone wants to complete these types of transactions online, some people prefer face to face and some people just aren’t as technology savvy, so the in-store option is perfect for these people.”
The process is just as streamlined for employers. In the first two months of operation it is already supporting federal government departments, state governments, enterprise and small businesses.
“There is no subscription fee or implementation cost for our service,” Petrovic said. “It is literally on board, use the service and pay only for what you use. We’ve tried to be as fair as possible; let’s say you are processing ten police checks then you only pay for ten. This allows employers to flex up and down and manage their workforce as needed.”
Looking to the future
Despite already receiving positive feedback, Petrovic explained that the service will continue to evolve. Among the new services expected in the coming months will be support for “low Identity document” citizens.
“We – and the regulator – appreciate that not everyone can make up the required Identity document requirements to process a Police Check,” Petrovic said. “They may be a new arrival to Australia and don’t have the appropriate level of identity documents yet or they may have been caught up in a natural disaster and lost some of their identity documents. There is a range of legitimate reasons why people can’t make up the new identity standards. We have been working on creating a service that enable these people to get a police check so they can still get a job.”
Also in the planning stage is enabling users to enrol their identity, streamlining the verification process further. This will support expedited police checks which will potentially get the entire Identity verification process down to seconds.
“We have a lot planned,” Petrovic said. “We’ve got the backing and team to do it. With the support and guidance of the market, we will continue to deliver new enhancements and services that will support the needs of government, businesses and the Australian public.”