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Why background checks are so important during the HGV crisis

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

There is no escaping the fact that the UK is in desperate need of HGV drivers, and quickly. These drivers need background Checks, including a DBS check, and this is taking up to 8 weeks, further compounding the problem. Here we explore what is being done about it and how the background checking process can be sped up, not just in transport and logistics, but across all industries from healthcare to finance.

What is being done about the HGV crisis?

The UK has a shortage of over 100,000 HGV drivers, which is slowing down the delivery of essentials such as food and fuel, as witnessed first-hand with the recent fuel crisis. Contributing factors include the deportation of European drivers, complexities of Covid testing, and the UK having a long-term imbalance with importing and exporting demand. To alleviate this situation, the UK government are introducing several programs to increase the amount of HGV drivers, including the introduction of temporary visas for 5,000 fuel tanker and food lorry drivers, free intensive ‘boot camps’ to train 3,000 drivers in the UK and giving £7,000 funding per person for the large goods vehicle driver apprentice scheme. The UK government have also contacted HGV licence holders to encourage them to return to the industry.

This focus on recruitment has seen a high influx of new recruits, all of whom need stringent background and vetting checks, which is putting pressure on the background checking processes in place for HGV drivers.

How long is the Vetting process?

Vetting new employees can be a lengthy process in most industries, and HGV drivers are no exception; it can take up to 8 weeks to get them up and running. The biggest roadblock for HGV drivers is the specific mandatory driver checks required; performing these checks is in the best interest for everyone, from the legal interests of the company to the safety of the general public and the driver’s personal welfare.

HGV drivers must go through a rigorous background check before they can start the job. A driver much pass a medical check before they can be qualified, including eyesight, neurological state, alcohol and drug use or dependency, diabetes, heart conditions, sleep disorders, and mental health.

They also need a DBS check to check for any unspent motoring convictions, which would be solid grounds for refusing employment of a candidate. It is also essential to implement Right to Work Checks in light of the government introducing temporary visas.

How can VettingGateway help?

Reducing the 8-week lead time on background checking is essential; VettingGateway is a simple online tool that will help get these drivers on the road quickly, in a safe and legal way. You can manage all areas of the check in one central location, rather than having to run separate checks via DBS and a third-party reference checking supplier. VettingGateway prioritises your tasks and “to-do” lists to complete applications in the quickest time, and has easy to use email templates and automatic referee chasing functionality to simplify and speed up the process.

And shortening the recruitment process has positive implications across almost every industry; a long background checking process could reduce workforce flexibility, increase the reliance on contingency labour and increase costly overtime, so any tool that can help speed up the process will ultimately be valuable across many areas of a business.

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


The information Provided by VettingGateway in this blog was published on the 12/10/2021, 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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