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Learn the basics of background checking

Updated: Dec 3, 2021


Whether you're an organisation conducting a background check on an individual or an individual providing a reference for an organisation, background checks are an important tool for establishing trust and providing peace of mind in any professional relationship, as well as ensuring that legal standards are followed.

Reasons to conduct a background check

Completing a background check on someone is an important process because having a complete, detailed image of someone's personal and employment history, gives you a clear picture of the type of person that you're dealing with is a trustworthy individual who has no hidden past and will not cause you or your company any future problems. There are many reasons as to why conducting a background check would benefit a company in the long run. These reasons are:

  • Protecting employees, customers, etc.

  • Improve the quality of hires

  • Mandated by law/regulation

  • Protect company reputation

  • Prevent and/or reduce theft, embezzlement, other criminal activity

Who completes background checks

Background checks have traditionally been performed by hand, using labour-intensive and administrative-heavy methods. These are normally carried out manually by HR departments utilising complicated software such as Excel, they also have to manually send and remind referees to return the prior employee's confirmation.

Let’s begin with the basics

Like many industries it can be easy to get lost in the jargon that surrounds background checks, so let’s break down some of the most basic elements.

Applicant: This will typically be a candidate who has accepted your job offer and who now needs to be background checked. It could also be a member of your staff who works in a protected environment and who needs to have regular checks, usually for safeguarding purposes

Referee: Your applicant should provide the name and contact details for someone from their previous employer, and this person is their referee. If your applicant has worked for a number of different companies during the referencing period then they will have a referee for each previous employer.

Reference: Your referee will send you confirmation and any additional required information about the work your applicant did for them. This is a reference. A reference in its most basic form should confirm when the applicant worked for the company, and this should match the timescales given in their CV and during their job application.

DBS: Disclosure and Barring Service Check

Evidence: If your applicant previously worked at a company that has since shut down you must collect evidence of your applicants employment there. This could include a number of things including but not limited to asking your applicant to request an OCA41 from HMRC.

The reference checking timeline for a new employee

  1. You offer your applicant a job

  2. Your applicant accepts the job offer

  3. As part of the onboarding process you must ask your applicant to provide their employment history and contact details of their referees at past employers

  4. You send a reference request to the referees

  5. Referees return the reference. You must then check the reference to ensure the information matches what you have been told by your applicant


What if I need to conduct a more detailed background check?

Depending on the job and/or industry in which your new worker will be employed you may need to conduct a more detailed background check, which could include DBS checks and right-to-work checks.

You can check an applicants criminal record no matter what role they apply for. This is called a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. For certain roles you can request a more detailed DBS check, for example if they’ll be working with children or vulnerable adults. You must also check that a job applicant is allowed to work for you in the UK before you employ them. You do not need to do checks for existing employees from the EU, EEA or Switzerland if they came to the UK before 1 July 2021. Irish citizens can use their Irish passport and passport card to prove their right to work. You may also need to do checks with the DVLA to see if your applicant is legally allowed to drive, sanction checks or a credit check. In most cases you will have to manually apply for each check with each individual provider.

The detailed background checking timeline for a new employee

  1. You offer your applicant a job

  2. Your applicant accepts the job offer

  3. As part of the onboarding process you must ask your applicant to provide their employment history and contact details of their referees at past employers

  4. In order to conduct additional background checks you will need to ask your applicant for additional information. For example, for a DBS check you'd nee to ask for the applicants address history for the last 5 years with the dates they lived there, it will require their National Insurance number, passport and also their driving licence.

  5. You send a reference request to the referees

  6. You submit your applicants details to each individual provider depending on what checks you are running. For example, if you are conducting a DBS check, you would apply for this checking to the Disclosures and Barring Service.

  7. Referees return the reference. You must then check the reference to ensure the information matches what you have been told by your applicant

  8. Background checking providers return the results of their checks to you, which you will need to review.

As you can see, there are a number of steps to conduct for each applicant. If you are completing more detailed checks from a range of different suppliers then you could also be juggling a number of different lines of communication. Plus, if you are hiring more than one person at a time you can greatly increase the complexity of managing these checks.

How can VettingGateway help?


VettingGateway was designed to relieve you of the strain of performing these tests manually. VettingGateway can help you handle the process from start to finish on an easy-to-use online platform, from individual checks like DBS and identity checks through to job and education reference checks.

For more information on how VettingGateway can help click here, or you can sign up for your free starter licence by clicking here.



 


The information Provided by VettingGateway in this blog was published on the 18/11/2021, all information was relevant at the time of publishing however as our landscape is forever changing this information may not remain valid.






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