In August last year, the Public Service Commission released its Workforce Assurance Model Standards for implementation by 15 March 2021.

The Standards require all public service agencies to undertake additional checks in relation to any serious misconduct upheld against any former employee within the last three years, so that the recruiting organisation has all the information available to make a sound appointment decision.

These additional expectations are to help ensure the suitability of the people organisations employ and that the workforce continues to meet high standards for integrity and honesty.

Specific requirements of the standards include:

  • Undertaking reference checking for all prospective employees and contractors, usually at preferred candidate stage, and prior to entering into contractual relations. One of these references is to be with candidate‚Äôs last direct line manager, and references must cover off whether the candidate has ever, to their knowledge, had a serious misconduct investigation, upheld or currently occurring, or has been dismissed from employment.
  • Undertaking a serious misconduct check for all prospective employees, usually at preferred candidate stage, and prior to entering into contractual relations. 


This means that all prospective employees will be asked on the application form to authorise the disclosure of whether they have been subject to a serious misconduct investigation from all previous State Services employers for the last three years. In the event that a person has been the subject of such an investigation, they will be asked to consent to the disclosure of additional detail of the serious misconduct investigation, including the outcome or status.

It also means that Fire and Emergency New Zealand will be required to provide such information about any former or current employee who has been subject to a serious misconduct investigation, including the outcome or status, for the last three years. 

You can view a full step-by-step guide in the Workforce Assurance Model Standards implementation support pack(external link) on page two.

HR will be coordinating the process of requesting and responding to serious misconduct checks. Please be aware that there are strict privacy requirements that we need to meet. These checks are organisation to organisation i.e. not with the previous direct line manager or other referee, disclosure of disciplinary investigations from previous employers must be based on consent from the person concerned, and these provisions only apply to serious misconduct, not to other misconduct.

We understand that there will be a period of transition as we start to implement these new standards. Your local recruitment team are here to help so please get in touch with your local Recruitment Advisor or HR Manager.

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