Curriculum vitae fraud (CV fraud) is on the rise in New Zealand, and a recent survey of 1000 Australasian job applications found 21 per cent of applicants had lied on their CVs.
Read more about how simple background checks could have helped avoid CV fraud in the Walmsily Ministry of Health qualifications case.
The Press - By Amanda Warren
The Ministry of Health is confident Crown- funded Richmond Fellowship services are financially "tight", despite revelations that its head lied about his qualifications. The Press revealed yesterday that Richmond chief executive Gerry Walmisley had falsely claimed to have a bachelor's degree and doctorate from Bristol University. The Richmond board confirmed some of the qualifications Walmisley had claimed to have did not exist.
The Press understands Walmisley left under a cloud of financial irregularities, centred on his use of company airpoints to fund first-class travel for his wife and himself. However, the fellowship would not comment on those matters. Richmond Fellowship administers contracts, some from the Ministry of Health and district health boards, worth about $26 million. The ministry's mental health directorate deputy director-general, Janice Wilson, yesterday said the directorate had been assured by the fellowship's board that the financial management of services funded by the Crown was tight. "There is nothing to indicate the Ministry of Health needs to audit the organisation again following a comprehensive review two years ago," Wilson said. "The Ministry of Health has no comment to make about Richmond's chief executive as this is an HR (human resources) and management issue for the organisation's board."
Rumours about Walmisley's qualifications have swirled about the institution for some time. In confirming that he had lied about some of his qualifications, board deputy chairwoman Judith MacKenzie said it came to the board's attention only after Walmisley decided last month to retire. Former board member Meri Gibson yesterday confirmed there had been questions about Walmisley's claimed qualifications for at least the past year. Gibson, who, along with three others, left the board in September after a no- confidence vote, said a board member in February questioned Walmisley over his qualifications. Gibson said Walmisley stalled for time, and the board was still trying to get to the bottom of the matter when she and the others were forced out because of concerns about their vote to increase directors' fees.
Despite the concerns about his qualifications, the board reportedly offered Walmisley another one-year contract this year. Last month, incoming board chairwoman Dame Ann Hercus said Walmisley had turned the offer down. CV fraud (Curriculum vitae fraud) is on the rise in New Zealand, say recruitment companies and new companies set up to carry out background checks on prospective employees. A recent survey of 1000 Australasian job applications found 21 per cent of applicants had lied on their CVs. The most common things lied about were experience and qualifications.
Staffchecks managing director Dan Thompson said the onus was on employers to ensure they thoroughly checked the claims made by job seekers. "What fails me is they go through a lot of trouble to select these people but they don't do the simple background check," he said. In the Walmisley case, as in any other, it was up to the employer to carry out a background check or ask the recruitment company to do so "You've got to look closely at the employer and the agency for not looking at the qualification. The Millennium group in Wellington went broke over that with John Davy," Thompson said.
Davy, the Canadian hired to head the Maori Television Service in 2002, was jailed for six months for defrauding the service with bogus qualifications, including an MBA from a non-existent university. Davy was deported to Canada and the recruitment company that hired him, Millennium People, was accused of incompetence by Prime Minister Helen Clark and later closed. Thompson said CV fraud activity -- faking CVs -- was becoming increasingly common.
"Most employers don't ask for verification of qualifications because New Zealanders, in particular, are very believing," he said. Attempts by The Press to reach Walmisley yesterday for comment were unsuccessful.