Country laws often restrict the use of criminal background vetting. As this is a requirement in the TAPA Standards, how should LSP’s and Applicants seeking to be certified deal with this?
Many countries have stringent laws/regulations in place preventing employers carrying out criminal background checks. TAPA recognises this by including in the FSR section header 7.1 and TSR section header E “as allowed by local law”. It is also worth noting that many countries do allow or require criminal background checks. For example, air cargo security is heavily regulated and it is common in most countries for personnel with access to international cargo shipments to be vetted before they are given access to sensitive areas.
TAPA Standards include the same requirements on vetting in the FSR and TSR, but we will reference the FSR to keep the explanation shorter. Hopefully below will explain how to obtain conformance to the Standards:
· TAPA Standards require a criminal history check of personnel where legally permissible.
· Requirement 7.1.1 requires the existence of a “screening process” and if criminal history checks are not allowed then permissible checks on previous employment history are still expected to be documented and completed.
· Where criminal history cannot be used, the inclusion of alternative permitted checks that may include credit checks, gaps in employment, personal references etc. are often added to an organisation’s in-house screening processes. If these steps are followed then a waiver is not going to be needed.
· We do not want to see waiver requests to mitigate compliance with local laws. A waiver should only be considered if a screening process was not present for other reasons than legal compliance.
· Where the screening process exists but criminal checks are not legally permitted it is sufficient to record in the audit that “criminal checks are not permitted” and reference the applicable law for that country.
· The auditor should look for and document all measures that are taken to screen employees and validate such measures are being followed.
· Based on the above guidance the expected response in the TAPA Certification audit is “YES” with a description of the measures used. However, if a “N0” + waiver request or “Not Applicable” response is still considered appropriate, please refer to the appropriate TAPA Standards for additional information.