NZ Health Board defends screening despite hiring payroll conman NZ Health Board defends screening despite hiring payroll conman

NZ Health Board defends screening despite hiring payroll conman
16 Mar 2018

New Zealand's Capital and Coast District Health Board has defended its employee screening process despite allowing a fraudster to take up a payroll manager position with it.

According to The Dominion Post, Jason Brown was employed by the Health Board in late 2016, less than a year after leaving his previous role at NZ Bus, where he was found to have fleeced the company out of more than NZ$128,000 (US$92,595). He also immediately started defrauding the Health Board, paying more than NZ $42,000 (US $30,383) of employees' money into his own account.

Brown was sentenced in October 2017 to a two-year jail sentence for the first offence. Another six months has just been added to his sentence for the Health Board con. Despite the situation, the Health Board attested there were no flaws in its screening activities and, therefore, no need to review them.

Corporate services general manager Thomas Davis said: "We remain confident in our screening processes. We will continue to reference-check and utilise Ministry of Justice or police checks, and have no plan to make changes."

The screening included reference-checking, a police or Ministry of Justice check and, depending on the role, a credit or safety check based on the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014.

Brown committed the fraud by paying the salaries of two employees into his own account and organising any overtime payments to come to him too. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft and obtaining money by deception.

Jane Bryson, an associate professor in human resource management at Victoria University's Business School, said: "In New Zealand, most reference checks are done by phone. If you're doing a phone interview and asking enough questions, that sort of thing should come up, even if they don't reveal it directly."

Aside from reference checks, employers could also carry out criminal checks on job applicants, although it was rare, or ask them to disclose any recent convictions or investigations to which they were the subject, she added.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

New Zealand's Capital and Coast District Health Board has defended its employee screening process despite allowing a fraudster to take up a payroll manager position with it.

According to The Dominion Post, Jason Brown was employed by the Health Board in late 2016, less than a year after leaving his previous role at NZ Bus, where he was found to have fleeced the company out of more than NZ$128,000 (US$92,595). He also immediately started defrauding the Health Board, paying more than NZ $42,000 (US $30,383) of employees' money into his own account.

Brown was sentenced in October 2017 to a two-year jail sentence for the first offence. Another six months has just been added to his sentence for the Health Board con. Despite the situation, the Health Board attested there were no flaws in its screening activities and, therefore, no need to review them.

Corporate services general manager Thomas Davis said: "We remain confident in our screening processes. We will continue to reference-check and utilise Ministry of Justice or police checks, and have no plan to make changes."

The screening included reference-checking, a police or Ministry of Justice check and, depending on the role, a credit or safety check based on the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014.

Brown committed the fraud by paying the salaries of two employees into his own account and organising any overtime payments to come to him too. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft and obtaining money by deception.

Jane Bryson, an associate professor in human resource management at Victoria University's Business School, said: "In New Zealand, most reference checks are done by phone. If you're doing a phone interview and asking enough questions, that sort of thing should come up, even if they don't reveal it directly."

Aside from reference checks, employers could also carry out criminal checks on job applicants, although it was rare, or ask them to disclose any recent convictions or investigations to which they were the subject, she added.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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