Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) Conference Update
Twice a year, we attend the PBSA Conferences. These are a great opportunity to speak with industry vendors, colleagues and catch up on the trends and changes facing the background check industry. This year’s areas of focus, driven mostly from litigation trends, were the importance of the accuracy with criminal records, including properly identifying if a record belongs to the individual, continued adoption of criminal record monitoring as a valuable risk management tool, increased changes to the drug testing process as a result of marijuana legalization and consumer rights in the screening process. Our operations team embraces these updates and uses them to continually improve our process and service offering.
Court Record Turnaround Times Improving
We continue to see improvements in turnaround times, access to records and backlogs shrinking from the closures we experienced due to the pandemic, staffing delays, weather events and other reasons. The backlogs are being cleared by our vendors and the courts and the processes are reflecting pre-pandemic turnaround times.
We had seen notable progress in California, which was delaying and withholding records based on court administration interpretations related to the use of date of birth and the disclosure of criminal records. Specifically, SB 1262 would require that public records of defendants in criminal cases be searchable and capable of filtering based on the defendant’s driver’s license number or date of birth.
In mid-September, SB 1262 was moved to Gov Newsom for signature where he had twelve days to either sign or veto the bill. After those twelve days – if he has neither signed nor vetoed the bill – SB 1262 would be deemed “approved without signature” and enacted. Unfortunately, he vetoed the bill so as an industry we are strategizing about how to address this issue. Some courts are releasing records but some continue to delay and cause frustrations.
Expungement and Record Sealing Continues
Numerous states are actively working on legislation to seal criminal records of previously convicted individuals. This is being done to reintegrate individuals into society and each state that is pursuing this approach will have varied requirements for a record to be sealed or expunged. The key difference between these two options is that sealed records prohibit the information from being publicly accessible, but it does still physically and legally exist and can still be re-opened or accessed with a court order. An expungement, on the other hand, actually clears a conviction or arrest from the individual’s record. In both cases, however, if a record has been sealed or expunged, it will not be available to companies like PlusOne to report.
PlusOne has successfully completed the implementation of the document submission process improvements for our screenings, licensing and insurance management operations. This project utilizes a digital automation process, with machine learning textract features to collect, route and read the documents provided to us in standard formats more efficiently. We are happy to report we have seen improvements in the efficiency of the process which have resulted in the insurance (COI) process turnaround times dropping to half a day on average.
We thank all customers for working with us as we continued to refine the process and your feedback through the changes has been valuable.
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