Employers in the US alone request millions of background checks each year, and each year improper and inadequate background screenings lead to thousands of FCRA lawsuits costing employers millions of dollars. The importance of a thorough and legally compliant background screening program for most employers cannot be overlooked or understated.
The employment screening services and consumer reports industries are governed by an ever evolving and expanding set of laws and regulations. Ensuring compliance with these laws is the purview of your organizations’ HR or hiring department, and noncompliance can lead to costly litigation and fines. Savvy HR departments employ the services of a professional background screening provider or a Consumer Reporting Agency (CSA) to help them stay compliant with these ever-changing regulations.
So, how do you know your background screening company is following all applicable laws and protecting your organization’s interests?
One important way to evaluate the integrity and commitment of a background screening provider or CSA is to check their Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) Accreditation status.
What is the PBSA?
The PBSA promotes and oversees ethical practices in the background check and consumer reporting industries through the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). This rigorous program outlines strict requirements and audits a background screening provider must meet in order to receive the PBSA accreditation seal. These requirements include a commitment to uphold and deliver the highest level of industry standards in the following critical areas:
- Information Security
- Legal and Compliance
- Client Education
- Researcher and Data Standards
- Verification Services Standards
- Business Practices
From the PBSA website:
“To become accredited firms must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with the accreditation standard as prepared by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). Compliance is demonstrated through rigorous desk and on-site audits, all of which are completed by an independent third-party auditor. Firms must document each of their policies and processes as required in each of the areas within the Standard and demonstrate visible compliance with their policies to the auditor. Accreditation lasts for a period of five years, after which time firms are required to re-complete the process if they wish to remain accredited.”
Since its establishment as the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) in 2003, and subsequent re-branding as the PBSA in 2019, over 1,000 companies have joined the organization. Of these members, fewer than 200 background screening providers have earned accreditation. AccuSource is proud to be not only be one of the few accredited firms, but also to be a founding member of the PBSA organization itself.
Why is PBSA Accreditation important?
Accredited firms like AccuSource must have well-documented policies and procedures in place to provide services, education, and compliance expertise to clients and the communities they serve. These policies must hold up against rigorous, multi-part audits (both on-and-off-site), and must align with the various standards set forth by NAPBS. In short, choosing an accredited partner helps mitigate risks because their established business practices support safe, ethical, and legally compliant screening.
Given the extensive and intensive process firms must undergo to earn accreditation, it is clear why PBSA Accreditation is so highly coveted – simply put, it separates the good CRAs from the great ones.
For more information on AccuSource’s commitment to PBSA standards and client satisfaction, or to learn more about our complete suite of employment screening services, please contact us today or call 888-649-6272.