Expert Insights

Bringing municipal safety to a new level with vendor personnel background screening

Bringing municipal safety to a new level with vendor personnel background screening

By: John V. Page, VP of Sales

Vendor personnel background screening is critical to the secure operation of any municipality. Cities and public sector organizations — which work with thousands of vendors at any given time — need to know exactly who is entering facilities and sites to ensure the safety of their employees and the general public.

Consider a single city recreation center. The local community pools need maintenance teams, lifeguards, and swimming instructors on staff, a company to clean the pool weekly, and landscapers to ensure proper upkeep of the grounds. The facility might need repairs, or the street leading up to the recreational facility might need road work, during public swim hours.

Each of these services, while critical to the center’s operation, bring workers onto the premises that could interface with the public. A thorough vendor background screening program ensures every third-party employee that enters the public facility is who they say they are – preventing citizens from any external threats.

Three considerations for safe vendor hiring and peace of mind

While 95% of organizations indicate they use at least one type of employment background screening, far fewer tend to do the same level of screening on third parties. For municipalities that perform vendor background checks, the process can be incredibly complex to manage, with each department – public works, libraries, sanitation, transportation, parks and recreation, street lighting, water and more – handling its own contracts and conducting its own screening according to different specs and criteria.

Municipalities need a streamlined, standardized program for implementing background screening processes across the entire vendor base that allows them to easily see and approve who is coming onto public sites. It’s the best way to ensure public safety, ease the administrative burden on internal teams, and speed the vendor hiring process so projects are completed in a timely manner.

There are several things cities and other public sector organizations should consider when conducting screening across its entire vendor base:

  • Thorough review of Vendor Credentials is important depending on what service they will be providing. While criminal history should top municipalities’ lists of screening criteria as it’s the biggest threat to public safety, other elements should be captured through vendor vetting. Verifying social security numbers, driver’s and professional licenses, and checking that workers have liability insurance, certain vaccinations, and proper medical, safety and procedure trainings, are all critical to check for any worker that enters a public site.
  • Re-screen vendors at least yearly. Background checks only show activity up until the screening is done. In addition to checking credentials at the outset of a relationship, screens should be done regularly to capture any important details thereafter and make sure there are no blatant issues on record that could compromise employee or public safety.
  • Effective screening isn’t one-size-fits-all. Municipalities have diverse requirements and hiring for some roles requires more or different due diligence than others, which means while some level of screening should be conducted for every vendor, specific criteria needs to be considered on a per position basis and customized to the city or department’s unique needs. Pick screening qualifiers that drill down into the elements of a worker’s background most relevant for the specific role.

Screening vendors, contractors, and subcontractors is just as important as screening employees. Protect your city and make sure all your vendors have been screened – this solution can be provided now at no cost to the City. Contact Quick Search for more information.

About the Author

John V. Page is the Vice President of Sales for Quick Search in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Page is active in the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) and has been on both the Best Practice and Provider Committees.

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