While there is much to love about South Africa, one of the biggest concerns many of us have is maintaining our personal safety. We all know how much is spent on securing our homes and possessions. However, how much attention do we give to those who are responsible for our children during the day

We have sadly recently seen a school incident where a coach and hostel master were employed by a school governing body and he is now in court for allegedly abusing 20 school boys.  The Department of Education has accused the school of not vetting the coach through the proper channels which I doubt due to the calibre of the school but it is something we all need to remember.

As South Africans we are quick to entrust our children with a nanny or an au pair. iFacts suggests that we all need to take a bit more responsibility in this regard. Much of the screening of au pairs and nannies can be done yourself. However, to do the job properly, in order to ensure that you get a real behind-the-scenes look at potential au pairs, it is always best to get a professional to do the screening on your behalf.

iFacts offers a range of services including careful screening of CVs and supposed qualifications, as well as social media assessments. The days of screening a potential employee by perusing their CV and contacting their list of references are long gone. We live in a digital age, and as such we need to be fully aware of our digital footprint. Of course, this digital footprint can be used to our advantage, and can be used to screen potential employees, nannies, au pairs, etc. However, it is equally important to realise how these same methods might one day be used against us.

Studies have shown that, in 2015, over 52% of employers first reviewed a potential employee’s social media profile before they were even called in for a telephonic or face-to-face interview. Of course, the amount of information that is available is constantly on the rise. There are more than 6000 tweets made every second, and five new Facebook profiles are created every ten seconds.

There are a variety of other checks that can be performed, and iFacts is highly specialised in many of these. These checks include criminal record checks, credit checks, and importantly, the verification of qualifications, which includes anything from a tertiary degree to something as simple as a driving licence. It is a good idea to leave these sorts of checks up to professionals, as it is often extremely difficult to be able to tell the difference between an authentic document and a fake.

A fake driving licence is available for as little as R800, which might seem like money well spent for somebody looking for a job. If you entrust your child’s life to a driver or au pair, it is absolutely vital that you know and can be completely sure that they are who they say they are and have obtained a legally valid driving licence.

A study was conducted by KPMG back in 2009 and, while the figures might be slightly outdated, the message remains the same. The KPMG Integrity Study showed that 74% of South African companies have experienced some form of misconduct on the part of their staff, with 59% of people indicating that they would actually do whatever it might take in order to ensure their success. These figures show very clearly that a nanny or au pair might very well be expected to lie about some or other aspect of themselves in order to ensure a successful placement. It has been suggested that 25% of people will always lie or deceive, 25% will never do this, and the other 50% of people might consider both options. The message here is that with75% of potential employees; there is always the risk of deception.

While you might consider yourself an excellent judge of character, the team at iFacts has developed of number of highly specialised tools that are used to do specific employee screening. Fraudulent qualifications are becoming a source of increasing concern. Research that was concluded in 2014 suggested that, worldwide, there are well over 700 so-called degree mills, or places where a person might obtain a fraudulent qualification. These degree mills have a clear online presence, and it is easier now than ever to deceive possible employers. iFacts strongly suggests that a proper and robust qualification screening process is followed for every employee that you consider hiring, and possibly even for those who are already working for you.

Remember that there are various laws in South Africa that protect an individual’s privacy. There are also regulations that are found throughout South African labour law, such as the Labour Relations Amendment Act 6 of 2014. This is just one of the many regulations and laws that must be considered when screening an individual. If you are unsure about the legal implications of any step you want to take, feel free to contact iFacts for up-to-date advice.

Remember that protecting your house and possessions is important, but protecting your children should be your primary concern. Take the time, put your mind at rest, and ensure that your children are in safe hands at all times.

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