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VOG certificate. Photo: Justis

Dutch inspectorate declare war on fake good conduct certificates

Dutch health and youth service inspectors say they have evidence that fake certificates of good behaviour are in circulation after finding nine people working in youth social services with forged documents.

Published: August 12, 2019, 12:22 pm

    The Hague

    The inspectorate says it believes there are more Declarations of Behavior (VOGs) certificates currently in circulation and has urged hospitals, youth social service departments and staffing agencies to make sure they have original documents for all staff in their possession.

    For immigrants to the Netherlands who intend to become a teacher, taxi driver or to look after children, the VOG is compulsory.

    The inspectorate said it would step up its own checks in the coming months. This certificate [Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag],VOG is a document by which the Dutch State Secretary for Justice and Security declares that the applicant did not commit any criminal offences that are relevant to the performance of his or her duties.

    The nine people worked for a staffing agency. The secondment agency in the care sector contacted the Judicial Implementation Service for Assessment, Integrity and Screening (Justis). Justis screens people who apply for a VOG and issues the VOGs. The agency discovered the fakes and alerted officials last week. The youths were suspended after the problem was reported to the police.

    It is unclear from the inspectorate statement if the workers had direct contact with youngsters.

    The nine forged certificates were all pdfs which did not have the requisite water marks and other security symbols. All institutions, but also secondment and temporary employment agencies, are requested to only accept original VOGs and to check whether there are currently false statements in the personnel files.

    The inspectorate has asked the youth organisations Netherlands, Actiz, Dutch Hospitals Association (NVZ), Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU), GGZ Netherlands, Handicapped Care Association Netherlands, Small-scale Care Association and Independent Clinics Netherlands to inform their members about this.

    An original VOG has a number of security features:

    The paper has a grid and the blue Rijks logo;
    The paper contains a characteristic wavy watermark;
    Under a UV lamp, the paper remains dark and small fibers in the paper and a logo light up in the lower right;
    Under a UV lamp, the blue number in the top right corner changes color;
    A hologram is visible in the paper.

    It is the task of the organisation or employer to check whether someone has a real VOG and not a counterfeit.

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