Pre Employment Checks Policy Responsible Directorate: Date Approved: Committee: Print Name
Human Resources/Organisational Development 9th July 2008 Governance Committees/Partnership Forum, PCT Board Sue Ellis Director of HR and OD Calderdale and Kirklees PCTs
Document Title Document number Author Contributors Version Date of Production Review date Postholder responsible for revision Primary Circulation List Web address
Domain Core Standard Reference Performance Indicators
Pre Employment Checks Policy One Lesley Shotton One 13 June 2008 13 June 2011 Lesley Shotton All staff http://www.kirklees-pct.nhs.uk/publicinformation/publications/policies-and-procedures/employmentpolicies/ None
Governance C10a undertake all appropriate employment checks Not applicable
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Associated Policies and Procedures
Aims and Objectives
Scope of policy
NHS Employment Checks Standards
Equality Impact Assessment
Monitoring Compliance with Policy
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Policy Statement NHS employers has developed standards with the Department of Health and employers in the NHS. The standards include those checks that are required by law, those that are Department of Health Policy and those that are required for access to the NHS Care Record Service. This policy sets out the various responsibilities and action required to ensure all checks are carried out in compliance with the standards and with the Data Protection Act 1988.
Introduction The NHS employers employment checks standards as outlined above are mandatory for all applicants for NHS positions (prospective employees) and staff in ongoing NHS employment. This includes permanent staff, staff on fixed-term contracts, temporary staff, volunteers, students, trainees, contractors and highly mobile staff supplied by an agency. PCTs who appoint locums and agency staff will need to ensure that their providers comply with these standards. The PCT must avoid unlawfully discriminating in their recruitment processes on the grounds of race, disability, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation. To avoid discrimination employers must treat all job applicants in the same way at each stage of their recruitment process. The PCT must also carry out all checks in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Failure to comply with these standards could potentially put the safety, and even the lives of patients, staff and the public at risk.
Associated Policies and Procedures The following documents should be referred to when handling cases of failure to maintain professional registration. â€˘ â€˘
Professional Registration Policy Criminal Records Bureau Policy
Aims and Objectives To ensure that Kirklees PCT carry out the relevant mandatory identity checks in accordance with the NHS Employment Check Standards to ensure a safe and lawful recruitment process.
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Ensure Kirklees PCT carry out the relevant mandatory checks for staff in ongoing NHS employment.
Scope of the Policy This policy applies to all applicants for NHS positions and staff in ongoing NHS employment. This includes permanent staff, staff on fixed-term contracts, temporary staff, volunteers, students, trainees and contracts. The PCT is also required to ensure locum and agency staff providers comply with the standards
Accountabilities & Responsibilities The Chief Executive is accountable for ensuring that adequate procedures are in place to ensure all applicants for NHS positions and staff in ongoing NHS employment are identity checked in accordance with the NHS employment Check Standards, however the Chief Executive devolves the responsibility to the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development. The responsibilities for carrying out the checks on new appointments to the PCT are outlined in the Recruitment guidance.
NHS Employment Check Standards 7.1
Identity Checks The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) sees identity verification as the most fundamental of all preemployment checks. It should be the first check performed and an application should not progress until the employer is satisfied that a person’s identity is proven. The process involves checking two elements of a person’s identity. •
Attributed identity: the evidence of a person’s identity that they are given at birth including their name, place of birth, parents’ names and addresses.
Biographical identity: a person’s personal history including registration of birth, education and qualifications, electoral register information, details of taxes and benefits paid by or to the person, employment history, interactions with banks and utilities providers
Verification of identity checks are designed to:
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determine that the identity is genuine and relates to a real person establish that the individual owns and is rightfully using that identity.
The NHS uses two methods for verifying identity: requesting original documents and checking an individual’s personal details against external databases. Original documents allow you to check an employee’s: • • • •
full name – forenames and last name signature date of birth full permanent address.
Prospective employees must provide acceptable documents containing their photograph, such as a passport or UK driving licence, and acceptable documents providing their current address. A face-to-face meeting is also an essential part of the verification process. Employers must record the outcome of the checks using Electronic Staff Record (ESR), where available, confirming that identity has been verified in accordance with these standards. 7.2
Right to Work Checks Changes to the Immigration, Asylum and nationality Act (2006), which came into effect on 29 February 2008 introduced a tough new criminal offence for employers who knowingly employ illegal migrant workers and a continuing responsibility for employers of migrant workers to check their ongoing entitlement to work in the UK. The PCT risk breaking the law unless they check the entitlement to work in the United Kingdom for all prospective employees. Failure to do so could result in a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker. There are three steps employers must go through to confirm a prospective employee has the right to work in the UK • • •
request right to work documents validate the documents copy and store
The PCT must assess the eligibility of an individual’s right to work in the UK. The PCT must validate documentation from all Page 5 of 10
prospective employees to ensure they are eligible to reside and work in the UK and also to meet the requirements of antidiscrimination legislation. If an illegal migrant is employed because the individual supplied fraudulent documents, which could not have been detected as fraudulent, the employer can establish a statutory excuse (‘the excuse’) against payment of a civil penalty. You must be able to show that you followed due process in accordance with the regulations. In addition to these standards, employers must check the UK Border Agency (UKBA) website at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk for the latest information. These checks are concerned only with an individual’s right to work in the UK and must be done in conjunction with verification of identity checks so that employers can satisfy themselves that the applicant is the rightful owner of the documents that they present. Work Permits The PCT will need to demonstrate that they were unable to recruit a resident worker before recruiting an individual from overseas. They will be required to provide details of the recruitment method used and give credible reasons why they did not appoint a suitably qualified resident worker. A ‘resident worker’ is a person who is a EEA national or has settled status in the UK within the meaning of the Immigration Act 1971, as amended by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. A work permit can be valid for up to five years. After a continuous period of five years, work permit holders can apply for ILR (permanent residence). Limited leave to remain is the permission an individual needs to stay in the UK and is granted in line with the duration of an individual’s Immigration Employment Document (IED).: If the PCT is applying for a work permit for someone already in the United Kingdom, he/she will only be able to switch to work permit employment in certain circumstances. Visas Non-EEA nationals may need entry clearance before they can travel to the UK. The entry clearance process for the UK is carried out by UK Visas, which runs the UK’s visa service through British diplomatic posts overseas.
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It is the responsibility of the appointed individual to obtain, and meet the cost of, any visa required. Particular scrutiny should be given to those individuals who present student visas and the PCT should contact UK Visas if they are in any doubt regarding the suitability and authenticity of these documents
Qualification Checks Qualification checks verify the information about educational or professional qualifications that a prospective employee provides on their application form. For non-health professionals, qualifications that form part of the requirements for a position must be checked. Applicants may not always have the original documentation and The PCT needs to use appropriate discretion and take proportionate action. The level of checks carried out should be proportionate to the level of risk to the individual role and the priority given in the person specification to the qualification, or the opportunity to cause harm or damage, in that position
Employment History and Reference Checks Previous employment history must be checked before an unconditional offer of employment is made to a prospective employee. References and application forms should be crosschecked as part of this process. References serve two purposes for the NHS. They allow organisations to check the accuracy of a prospective employee’s previous employment and training history. They can also provide assurance of an individual’s qualifications, integrity and track record References for the purpose of checking employment history should always be obtained in writing and should be on original company/PCT headed paper. They must be requested with the employee’s consent and only for the preferred candidates following interview. The PCT must make all reasonable efforts to check that referees are bona fide and references are genuine. This could include checking that the organisation exists (using the telephone book/internet or business directories) and telephoning the HR department to confirm employment dates.
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Electronic Staff Record makes the process easier for checking employment details of staff who have already been employed in the NHS. Where employment has been outside the NHS or overseas then the use of references is critical. The PCT must make it clear to prospective employees that appointment to any position is conditional on satisfactory employment history and reference checks and that any information disclosed on the application form will be checked. Prospective employees must also be informed that any offer of appointment may be withdrawn if they knowingly withhold information, or provide false or misleading information. Executive and other Senior Appointments The PCT must pay special attention to confirming appropriate employer references for these positions. It is up to the employer to determine the most appropriate referees for the position they are offering and the level of checks required. It is a matter of good governance that a financial security check should be made on any person who has a role handling money that goes in and out of the organisation, as well as the finance director and chief executive. Checking employer references for chief executives and clarifying their reasons for leaving should be the responsibility of the chair. 7.5
Occupational Health Checks
All NHS staff must have a pre-appointment health check, which adheres to equal opportunities legislation and good occupational health practice. Pre-appointment health checks are carried out to: • • •
ensure that prospective staff are physically and psychologically capable of doing the work proposed, taking into account any current or previous illness Identify anyone likely to be at excess risk of developing workrelated diseases from hazardous agents present in the workplace Ensure, as far as possible, that the prospective employee does not represent a risk to patients and that they will be doing work that is suitable and safe for them.
The checks should include:
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• • •
a health questionnaire completed by the applicant when applying for the post An interview with an occupational health nursing adviser, if the questionnaire answers need clarification onward referral to an occupational health physician, if this is appropriate.
All checks must take into account the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and reasonable adjustments must be made to ensure that people can work in the NHS regardless of physical impairment or learning disabilities. The PCT must make it clear to prospective employees that appointment to any position is conditional on a satisfactory occupational health check.
Equality Impact Assessment All public bodies have a statutory duty under the Race Relation (Amendment) Act 2000 to “set out arrangements to assess and consult on how their policies and functions impact on race equality.” This obligation has been increased to include equality and human rights with regard to disability age and gender. The PCT aims to design and implement services, policies and measures that meet the diverse needs of our service, population and workforce, ensuring that none are placed at a disadvantage over others. In order to meet these requirements, a single equality impact assessment is used to assess all its policies/guidelines and practices. This policy was found to be compliant with this philosophy with a copy of the assessment attached to the policy.
Training Training will be provided to enable staff and managers to recognise the importance of Employment Checks. The Training will be commissioned by the HR department. Employment checks is covered in the Recruitment and Selection Training Module.
Monitoring Compliance with Policy This policy will be monitored by HR Shared Services who will be responsible for ensuring that the policy is made available for staff and managers and that any necessary training is provided.
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Key Stakeholders Kirklees PCT Directors Kirklees PCT Managers SMT MEG
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