Fit and Proper Social Media Checks

Education, Healthcare, Social Care, Financial Services and other regulated organisations all have one thing in common – the requirement to ensure that their employees meet certain standards in order to protect and safeguard those that they serve. 

Whether it’s the Department of Education and Ofsted overseeing the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidelines in education, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) administering the Fit and Proper Regulation (FFPR) for NHS and social care or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) assessing the Fit and Proper Test in financial services, it’s abundantly clear that a social media check is a key component in order to comply with these regulations:

We live in a digital world and almost everyone has a sizeable online, social media footprint. The vast majority of online checks relate to information found on social media platforms.  These provide valuable insight into an individual’s behaviours, beliefs and attitudes which can play an important role in the vetting process.

In some cases, the above requirements could be less ambiguous with greater clarity on expected procedures but it’s very likely that not only will these requirements remain, but also, they could become more prevalent in other sectors. Indeed, we live in a digital world and almost everyone has a sizeable on-line, social media footprint with studies showing an individual’s online behaviour reflects how they behave offline. 

Hardly surprising, therefore, that it’s increasingly common for employers to review a candidate’s online presence. Indeed, according to ResumeBuilder₃ three quarters of hiring managers look candidates up on social media before hiring them, and 8 in 10 of those actually chose not to hire candidates because of information they found online. 

www.resumebuilder.com

However, manual screening is fraught with dangers. Have you?

  • Ensured you’re checking the right individual? – same name but wrong profile

  • Mistakenly identified protected characteristics not relevant to a hire? – unlawful and costly

  • Avoided unconscious bias and subjectivity? – through human intervention

  • Gained consent of the individual? – enabling a collaborative and compliant approach

  • Calculated the true cost of the time taken? – an automated search saves time and money

  • Created an auditable report? – providing a defensible position on inspection.

In a number of sectors, social media screening goes hand in hand with a DBS check as part of the vetting process. Of course, a DBS check is a great way to ensure that individuals have a clean criminal record particularly where safeguarding and security is of paramount importance. Indeed, employers are responsible for ensuring that applicants are deemed safe to work with children and vulnerable adults, and cleared to work in regulated sectors. However, there are other behaviours that aren’t considered to be crimes but are equally important in assessing someone’s suitability to a role.

The vast majority of online checks relate to information found on social media platforms.  These provide a valuable insight into an individual’s behaviours, beliefs and attitudes which can play an important role in the vetting process. After all tomorrow’s headlines and reputational risks could be just a social media post away.

Nowadays, ignorance of a person’s affiliation to a prohibited organisation or propensity to racism or gender slurs isn’t acceptable, particularly if you have failed to make the right effort to check their online behaviour. A Fit and Proper Test equally requires a Fit and Proper social media check which can reduce risk and provide additional information that other checks can’t.

Social Media Check (SMC) is a fully automated solution that can check both public and private posts against a number of risk categories, returning an auditable report within the hour. SMC searches all posts across the major social media platforms using machine learning and algorithms, eliminating the need for manual searching or the possibility of unconscious bias. Social media checks can only be made with the consent of an individual, making it GDPR compliant.

For further information: www.socialmediacheck-business.com 

How SMC has helped

With multiple schools in our Trust, we needed a quick, cost-effective and compliant procedure to conduct on-line checks of candidates. Social Media Check’s automated solution has been very effective. It is quicker and more comprehensive than a manual check, with results often delivered in under an hour.

Debbie Duggan, Operational Resources Director, The Two Counties Trust

With the changes to the KCSIE guidelines, we needed an efficient, cost effective and compliant way to conduct online checks. Manually checking is time consuming and can find characteristics irrelevant to a hire. Social Media Check’s automated solution reduces the risk of subjectivity and unconscious bias and its ease of use and comprehensive reporting has enabled us to realise operational efficiencies in our recruitment process.

Gail Murphy, Operations Manager, Lumen Learning Trust

For more information

Get in touch today to discover more about the benefits of Social Media Check.