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Ex-SIS staffer reveals security check pressure

An employment consultant and former SIS staffer says the agency has historically been under pressure to provide security checks and he has questioned whether government departments need to get clearances for so many employees.Craig Gubbins from Personal V

NZPA
Tue, 14 Sep 2010

An employment consultant and former SIS staffer says the agency has historically been under pressure to provide security checks and he has questioned whether government departments need to get clearances for so many employees.

Craig Gubbins from Personal Verification Ltd said while the SIS did security checks, it was up to recruitment agencies to screen for false personal claims and do integrity checks.

He was speaking in the wake of the resignation of Stephen Wilce as head of the Defence Technology Agency after it emerged he had misrepresented his past.

Mr Gubbins spent 26 years working for the SIS and said it primarily did security checks and there was a lot of demand for them.

"It put a lot of pressure on the staff," he told Radio New Zealand. "There was always a desire to get the applications processed quickly, and then there would often be a need to drop everything and handle an application immediately." That was most commonly for short-listed applicants for chief executive positions.

Mr Gubbins, whose company carries out pre-employment screenings, said getting SIS screenings done was free for government departments and he questioned the extent to which they used the service.

He said Australia had a model where departments paid the attorney-general's department for checks to be carried out, and outside contractors were often used.

"Because departments have to pay for it they think a bit harder about whether there is a need for security clearance or whether they are just being a little bit relaxed in requesting a security clearance which may not be necessary," he said.

Mr Gubbins said he didn't know the details of the Wilce case, but that any personal misrepresentations should have been picked up by the recruitment company -- in this case Momentum Consulting -- and that it seemed Mr Wilce "should never have got to first base".

He said 22 percent of CVs that came across his desk contained inaccuracies and sometimes recruitment companies, which gained financially from appointments made, were not focused on finding negative aspects of a person's character.

Momentum is cooperating with investigations into Mr Wilce's appointment and said it was confident in the quality of its recruitment systems.

NZPA
Tue, 14 Sep 2010
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Ex-SIS staffer reveals security check pressure
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