An Code of conduct alone is often insufficient

An Code of conduct alone does not say much. But it does say something about the reliability and integrity of the candidate, but several sources are needed. This gives more certainty about the candidate’s behaviour in the past and a better predictive value about his or her behaviour in the future.

A Certificate of Good Conduct is often considered sufficient. In practice, however, these appear to be easily issued.

In 2014, 703,860 SNBs were applied for, of which only 2,479 were refused. This corresponds to only 0.35% of all applications.

Remarkably little, therefore, because Levent Bedrijfsrecherche has identified serious integrity risks in 2.4% of the interviewed applicants. None of these people had problems applying for a VOG.

In addition to a CGC, a sponsor examination and a source examination are also required.
A professional screening agency offers both government institutions and companies a thorough screening investigation of future personnel. Part of this is a sponsor survey and an extensive source survey is also part of the process.

It looks at suspicious behaviour and dubious contacts, financial behaviour, certain life patterns, contacts, additional functions and other functions that the person in question has performed in the past. A remarkable find does not have to give negative advice; a conversation with a question for explanation often leads to people with bad intentions withdrawing themselves.

A full screening study thus has a preventive effect and is an effective way to better safeguard the integrity of municipal institutions.


A case example

The Amsterdam Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating an official who allegedly falsified invoices. The official in question has since been suspended. The municipality launched an internal investigation into reports of ‘operational irregularities’ and informed the police. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) then started a criminal investigation.



In recent years there have been many cases of fraud by civil servants and external parties in the municipality of Amsterdam. In response to these abuses, Mayor Van der Laan launched an ‘anti-fraud offensive’ with a total of 606 measures, most of which were implemented.

There is also an obligation to sign a confidentiality declaration for the entire organisation and new employees and external parties must apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct. “An important principle is that fraud must not pay off and that the civil servants and external parties involved must always be held liable. The damage is recovered from them,” says Mayor Van der Laan. He states that extra attention will be paid to the problem in the coming years.


Potential risk

The obligation to apply for an code of conduct is a step in the right direction, but the problem is that a COC alone does not say much. A CGC is issued by the Justice Service as past conduct, even if it concerns criminal offences, does not constitute an objection to the performance of a specific task or function in society. It says nothing about how they have continued to behave in recent years. New employees who previously committed fraud but did not run into the light can therefore continue to pose a potential risk to the municipality despite this statement.

In practice, it turns out that a COC is issued easily: a very small number of applications are refused. Levent Bedrijfsrecherche nevertheless identified serious integrity risks in a number of the applicants investigated. None of them had a negative COC.

Would you like more information about screening examinations to prevent fraud? We will be happy to tell you more about it during a free intake interview. Please contact one of our advisors immediately by telephone on +31 (088) 98 76 000, or visit our contact page.