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Procurement of background checks for municipalities

Organised crime in Sweden is increasing and it has become more important for organisations to take measures to counter corruption, infiltration and other crimes such as financial crimes, bribery, sexual crimes and drug crimes. Municipalities that handle highly sensitive information are particularly vulnerable and need to take responsibility for preventing crime from entering their operations. Municipalities that handle highly sensitive information are particularly vulnerable to insider threats. The Swedish government has decided to expand the possibilities for municipalities to carry out background checks on employees and people who are offered employment or carry out assignments within municipalities.

How to start with background checks

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By introducing background checks before employment in the municipality, you can ensure a safe and secure place for both employees and residents. This is something that many municipalities and authorities have already started with, and more are following to ensure the best possible hire for a particular position. However, when you start with background checks, there are some procurement rules that you need to be aware of, such as the Public Procurement Act, which we will go through here.

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The Public Procurement Act

The Public Procurement Act

The Public Procurement Act regulates how municipalities and regional authorities should proceed when purchasing goods and services such as background checks. The purpose of the Act is to promote the efficient use of society’s resources, ensure open and fair competition, and counteract corruption and bias.

The basic principles of The Public Procurement Act include the following:

  • Equal treatment: All suppliers must be treated equally. No one should be favoured or disadvantaged because of nationality or other irrelevant factors.
  • Non-discrimination: The principle of non-discrimination complements the principle of equal treatment and ensures that no supplier is discriminated on the basis of nationality or other factors not relevant to the procurement.
  • Openness: The procurement process should be open and transparent. This means that information about procurements and the criteria used to evaluate proposals should be clearly communicated to all potential suppliers.
  • Proportionality: The requirements and conditions imposed in a procurement should be proportionate to what is being procured. This means that the requirements should not be unnecessarily burdensome or extensive in relation to the nature and value of the procurement.
  • Mutual recognition: The principle of mutual recognition means that procuring organisations must recognise qualifications and certificates from other EU countries in the same way as national qualifications and certificates.

Direct awards limit determines the procurement rules

The direct award is the limit up to which public authorities can award contracts without following the formal requirements of the Public Procurement Act. There are still some procurement rules that must be followed, such as compliance with the basic procurement principles.

For 2024, the direct award limit for goods, services and construction under LOU, LUF and LUFS is SEK 700 000 and SEK 1 200 000. This means that if the value of the procurement is less than these amounts, authorities can choose to use direct award.

For more detailed information, you can visit the National Agency for Public Procurement’s website.

Can employers carry out background checks on their employees?

Can a municipality and employer carry out background checks on their employees? Yes, you can, but there are certain restrictions and rules that must be followed. The background check should be relevant to the role and you need to have a legitimate purpose for conducting it. It is important to respect employees’ privacy and to comply with applicable laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You should also inform the employee about the background check even if no consent is required.

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Background checks of employees according to the Discrimination Act

It is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of gender, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other beliefs, disability, sexual orientation or age according to the Swedish Discrimination Act. With regard to background checks on employees, this means that such checks must be carried out in a non-discriminatory manner.

Employers cannot use information from background checks to discriminate against an employee or a job applicant. For example, if an employer conducts credit checks or criminal record checks, these checks must be relevant to the job and applied consistently to all candidates or employees in similar positions.

What to consider when choosing a background check provider

As a municipality, there are a few things to consider when choosing a background check provider. First of all, you need to comply with the Public Procurement Act and the five basic principles: equal treatment, non-discrimination, transparency, proportionality and mutual recognition.

In a public procurement procedure, suppliers may submit proposals describing how they meet the different requirements you have set. If the contract is above the direct award limit, you need to choose the supplier who has submitted the most economically advantageous proposal on one of three grounds: best price-quality ratio, cost or price. For a procurement below the direct award limit, you must describe in your procurement documents the criteria used to select the supplier and their order of priority.

Submit a request for proposal to us and we will get back to you with an offer customised to your needs.

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Why you should complement the police criminal record check with other checks

In municipalities, it is particularly important to have reliable and honest staff. In many cases an extract from the police criminal record is taken, but this is often not enough to get a complete picture of the person’s background. Complementing the police criminal record with other background checks can be important for several reasons:

Extended information: the criminal record only contains information on certain criminal convictions. Other background checks can provide a more complete picture of an individual’s background, including education and work history, credit history and legal issues that did not result in a conviction.

Relevance to specific job roles: Some positions may require specific information that is not in the criminal record. For example, a financial role may require a credit check, while a position involving work with children or vulnerable groups may require a more extensive background check.

Fair assessment: Relying solely on criminal records can lead to misleading assessments. A person may have an entry in the register that is not relevant to the specific job role, or important information critical to the position may be missing.

Organization’s reputation and security: By conducting thorough background checks, you can protect your municipality’s reputation and ensure a safe work environment for all employees.

Validata is specialised in background checks

Validata helps you with GDPR-safe background checks before recruitment for municipalities

At Validata, we perform GDPR-safe background checks prior to recruitment so that you can ensure that the person you hire is who they claim to be. Municipalities are particularly vulnerable when it comes to handling personal data and it is important that the background checks are done in a proper way. We use reliable sources and data partners and have a dedicated Data Protection Officer to advise on the correct processing of personal data. Our background check service allows you to quickly identify potential risks before hiring.

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Background check software that works with most recruitment systems

We have developed a fast and efficient software, Valluga, which ensures an effective background check process. It can be integrated with most recruitment systems and offers a transparent process for both the employer and the applicant. You can reduce the time to perform background checks and quickly receive a digital report so you can make a confident hiring decision.

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