In March 2021, the ANU’s human resources department updated its hiring process to include further background-checking measures.
According to an ANU spokesperson, “[i]n addition to referee checking and Working with Vulnerable People check, some positions may be subject to additional checks such as criminal record, financial record, employment history, professional registration, qualification checking”.
The ANU National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has called for the University to immediately halt the policy. In a letter to the VC and director of HR, the NTEU brought forth concerns regarding the “lack of clarity in the procedural aspects of the policy”, potential discriminatory impact, and its burden on current staff and applicants.
President Simon Copland of the NTEU ANU branch further stated that “[T]he requirement of criminal record checks will disincentivise individuals from more highly criminalised groups”.
Regarding data collection, Copland states that “third-party involvement in background checking raises some issues around who has access to data collected and how is this data stored”.
In response, an ANU spokesperson affirms that “[t]he University has engaged MakeSure, a national provider who will manage the completion of all background checks. The University has conducted privacy impact and cyber security assessments of MakeSure to ensure that they meet security and privacy of information requirements and regulations.”