Justice ministry wants to ramp up background checks

Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL).
Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL). Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The Ministry of Justice has submitted a draft bill for review that would make background checks of individuals performing duties of public authority more systematic than they are performed now.

Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) said the purpose of the background checks was to make sure that duties of public authority were performed by reliable people in a firm, legitimate, and purposeful manner. Hiring an individual, one had to be aware of the risks arising from their proneness to corruption, addictions, or attitudes hostile to the Estonian state. At the same time, exact rules needed to be in place to avoid abuse, Reinsalu added.

At present, background checks often depend on what the employer considers important to get to know about the person. In the future, they will be done also with regard to people seeking a job or concluding a service agreement with the government to perform duties related to the exercise of public authority, or a task entailing a security risk.

The bill also calls for checks of people performing duties on a voluntary basis, such as volunteer police personnel, volunteer rescuers, members of the Kaitseliit volunteer corps, and others.

A background check will also be required of individuals who conclude a procurement or management agreement with the state or a public-law institution, or who take up business in a field related to national defense, internal security, or the provision of vital services.

The background of such individuals is to be checked primarily based on the data provided by the individuals themselves as well as random checks of that data.

The new provisions would not make changes to the background checks of officials performed in accordance with valid law, such as those performed for members of the police, border guard, rescue, tax, and prison personnel.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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