Lack of Background Checks in Government-owned Energy Company

‘Horizon Power’s biggest cyber-attack risk is its HR team’

Has there ever been a more scathing headline?!

Back in May, government-owned electricity provider Horizon, was left red faced by a report released by the Western Australia Auditor General’s office, listing the many process weaknesses throughout the company.

Amongst the most alarming was the lack of ‘off boarding’ policies that neglected to immediately retract system access to past contractors or ex-employees.  This left sensitive data exposed for months at a time.

It was also uncovered that Horizon did not carry out criminal history checks on new staff, despite them having access to “critical power infrastructure and systems”. Although the company carried out some background checks (reference checks and qualification verifications), no police checks were carried out even for the most trusted roles.  Inadequate background checking processes were also lacking for existing staff.

If there was any doubt that background checks are relevant for trade roles and not just reserved for executive level, financial and high-risk positions, this article will remove any such doubt! The risks of hiring unqualified or unsuitable staff in industries such as utilities, mining, construction and manufacturing that have a large component of blue-collar workers are just as real and background checking is becoming a crucial part of the recruitment process.

A summary of the gaps identified are covered in this article and the full report PDF gives you the complete details of the other weaknesses – you could almost use it as a checklist of what not to do within your organisation!

 

The information contained in this post is the opinion of PeopleCheck Pty Ltd and does not form the basis of legal advice.

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