What criminal record disclosure changes mean for recruitment

What criminal record disclosure changes mean for recruitment

The new Sentencing Whitepaper released by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has introduced new rules on criminal record disclosure rules to employers.

Aimed at helping rehabilitate offenders, the announcement will have an effect on the jobs market in the UK with citizens who hold minor criminal records having more options opened to them.

The new rules involve a reduction in the requirement to routinely partake in criminal record disclosure for non-sensitive roles. Custodial sentences of up to a year will become spent after a further 12 months without reoffending, which is down from the four years currently in place.

Sentences between one and four years will no longer be required to be disclosed after a further four crime-free years. This is down from the seven years currently in place. Sentences in excess of four years will not automatically be disclosed once a seven-year period of rehab has been served. This is a significant shift from the current rules, where offenders must disclose this information to employer for the rest of their lives.

Kerry Redmond, Head of Background Screening and Security Vetting at Morson, commented on the criminal record disclosure changes and what it means for recruitment:

“The government has been sensible in its approach, which will see thousands of ex-offenders with lower-level convictions aiming to work in non-secure or sensitive environments no longer having to disclose their criminal history, should they meet the criteria set out.

The approach continues to protect our most vulnerable communities and sectors and re-enforces the importance of background screening across all areas, yet allows for the rehabilitation of ex-offenders programme to progress positively and means some of the largest scale recruitment programmes of our time should now have access to additional talent they previously may have been forced to reject based on more stringent vetting requirements.”

Other rule changes to be introduced in the whitepaper include ending the release of offenders sentenced to between four and seven years at the halfway point, instead requiring them to serve two-thirds of the term before eligible for release.

If you are an employer and require background checks we can help. Contact backgroundscreening@morson.com for more information.

Free enhanced DBS checks for key workers

Free enhanced DBS checks for key workers

As key workers from a range of industries continue the fight against COVID-19, keeping Britain running and protecting lives, at Morson Screening we want to ensure that these individuals can get into work quickly and easily. Therefore, to support the COVID-19 response, we’re offering free enhanced DBS checks to businesses who need to apply for multiple enhanced DBS checks for key workers, such as, carers, government workers and NHS staff. We are also waiving any administration fees.

In addition to the complementary enhanced DBS checks, we are also offering the benefit of fast turnaround times, able to process screening candidates in hours, rather than days, with our 24/7 service.

As well as quick and efficient vetting, businesses will experience the peace of mind that comes with having a dedicated vetting case manager as well as no set up fees and no contract.

If you have candidates that require immediate vetting please get in touch backgroundscreening@morson.com to find out how we can help.

With a 50-year background in employment these are unprecedented times, never experienced by our business. However, we are able to harness the strength and robustness of the Morson Group to continue to support organisations and workers though this time.  Find out more about Morson Screening and our range of services here.

*Checks must be carried out during the time frame in which the government  are offering waved fees on applications for key workers.

What is an enhanced DBS check?

DBS checks are used to ensure that employers are making the right decisions during the recruitment process. Criminal record checks are especially important in finding suitable candidates to work with vulnerable groups, including children. There are three levels of DBS checks, basic, standard and enhanced.

An enhanced DBS check is only available to employers who request it on their applicant’s behalf. An enhanced DBS check’s a person’s criminal history, convictions and cautions from the Police National Computer (PNC) plus searches the DBS Children’s Barred List or the DBS Adult first. This ensures that a candidate is not barred from working with vulnerable groups.

Enhanced DBS checks are needed to protect vulnerable groups by ensuring that employees who have frequent and unsupervised contact will have a clear record, so most roles in education and health care will require the Enhanced DBS Check.

An enhanced DBS check will ensure that employers are equipped with the right information to make informed decisions on who they hire.

 

If you are an employer and require these checks quickly we can help, contact backgroundscreening@morson.com for more information.

 

Top 4 employer screening challenges

Top 4 employer screening challenges

Conducting an employee screening process can often feel like crossing a tightrope over a minefield. Different industries come with their own complex screening requirements, that if not met could result in considerable penalties for employers. Pre-employment screening isn’t just determining whether a candidate possesses the right credentials for the job, it’s finding truthful and explicit information about a person in an ethical and regulatory compliant manner.  Here we’ll discuss the main challenges of conducting a compliant and effective screening process – and how to overcome them.

1. Finding the right screening process for your industry

One of the main challenges of establishing a compliant and effective pre-employment screening process can often be finding the right policies to follow. There are around seven key employee screening checks that most employers regularly conduct. Those are:

  • Right to work in the UK (compulsory £20,000 fine for not complying)
  • Criminal Record (DBS/Disclosure Scotland/Access NI) checks (compulsory depending on type of role and working environment)
  • Credit checks and advanced financial reports such as CCJ/bankruptcy/IVA history (compulsory typically only for legal and financial firms)
  • DVLA checks (compulsory typically only for driving or automotive related jobs)
  • Previous employment referencing (legally only dates and job titles have to be confirmed)
  • Health checks (compulsory typically only for jobs involving driving and manual tasks in a public environment, e.g. regular eye tests for truck drivers)
  • Proof of address confirmation (required under BPSS, and part of obtaining a DBS)
  • Social media checks (not compulsory by law)
  • Past employment and educational credential checks (not compulsory by law)

These are the most common checks that many different employers use to qualify candidates. However, these barely scrape the surface of the number of compulsory pre-employment and vetting checks that some employers working within certain industries must comply with.

Simple ways to ensure you find the right screening process for your industry:

  1. Visit the GOV.uk website to access guides on what checks are compulsory for certain industries and job roles.
  2. Contact legal experts and industry union representatives to find compulsory policies specific to your industry.
  3. Implement pre-employment screening policies within your HR Department and conduct constant reviews of current candidate screening processes.
  4. Consult a specialist Pre-Employment Screening vendor to help you identify, implement and conduct the right pre-employment screening processes.

At Morson, we listened to the challenges of our clients and created a dedicated screening service tailored to their requirements. If you would like to see how Morson Screening can help streamline your pre-employment screening operations, get in touch with us today on 0161 786 7025.

TOP BLOG | Top 10 Background Screening Questions Answered

2. Implementing an effective pre-employment screening policy

Typically, it is the HR department’s responsibility to screen potential candidates and store employee information. The policies that define the HR departments vetting processes often impact how quick or how slow the turnaround process of qualifying a candidate is.

Consequently, many employers fall into the trap of blaming a slow turnaround on the HR department or external factors. However, it is often the policies laid down by senior level employees or regulatory bodies that are to blame. Many companies struggle to maintain effective and relevant pre-employment policies, which can result in inefficiencies in the vetting process.

Why? Screening processes are constantly changing. New regulations force employers to introduce new and updated policies, often slowing down the process. Whilst new technologies have allowed savvy employers to gain a competitive edge by shortening their pre-employment processes and quickly strengthening their workforce. Even politics and international trade agreements can affect how employers screen foreign candidates.

Who has the time?

For companies who simply don’t have the time or resources to monitor every change in regulation or development in technology, outsourcing their pre-employment screening requirements is often the most efficient solution. Outsourcing to a screening specialist can pose significant benefits and free up much-needed resources.

Benefits of using a screening specialist:

  • Ensure every screening process is compliant with your industry standards.
  • Find a bespoke candidate screening journey tailored to your company.
  • Speed up the turnaround process of qualifying a candidate and strengthen your workforce.
  • Optimise time and resources to ensure every member of staff continues to add value to your company. Outsourcing your screening can often reduce the admin burden by up to 40%.

3. Sourcing the right information

One of the main contributing factors to a slow pre-screening turnaround is sourcing the right information and ensuring that information is verified. It isn’t just places like MI5 where rigorous candidate vetting is required. At Morson Screening we work with a variety of different companies all specialising in different industries. We have witnessed first-hand the growing complex requirements for candidate information in pre-employment screening regulations.

Companies working on Government contracts, such as road/highway construction projects are required to undertake a rigorous candidate screening process. For example, any employee/contractor working on a civil project will be required to pass a full Baseline Personnel Security Standard check (BPSS check). The BPSS has four standard checks that every candidate/personnel must pass in order to be eligible to work on most civil projects. Those are:

  • Right to work
  • Identity check
  • Criminal record check
  • Employment history check

Gathering and verifying data such as this can be a long and costly process for employers. Failure to do so can often lead to disruptions to the workforce and overall delivery of a project.

4. Finding the right pre-screening vendor

Pre-screening is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Different pre-screening vendors specialise in different industries and provide different services. It is therefore vital that before a vendor is chosen, their area and level of expertise is assessed and aligned with your company’s requirements. But how?

  1. Start by setting goals that you want to achieve through improving your candidate screening process. This could be anything from improving the quality of candidates or shortening the turnaround of screening – to placing candidates.
  2. Then identify areas of your current pre-screening process that need improving. This could be done through working with the HR department, employees and even candidates to review the process and find any inefficiencies.
  3. Identify your industry regulations surrounding pre-screening practices.
  4. Research pre-screening vendors and carefully cross reference your requirements with their services. A good way to quickly find the right vendor for you is to narrow your searches and make them more specific to your industry.

Are you undertaking a pre-screening project?

At Morson Screening we have provided pre-employment solutions to industries across the world. We have worked with some of the UK’s largest companies, including Cargill Ingram Micro, World Duty-Free and Royal London to provide expert vetting solutions tailored to their specific organisational needs.

We remove the time and overhead burden of pre-employment vetting and streamline the clearance process of your organisation. Utilising a technology platform underpinned by a tailored service level agreement, Morson Screening Services will provide you with full visibility of the vetting progress of every candidate.​

Why employee background screening is vital to the recruitment process

Why employee background screening is vital to the recruitment process

Over the last few years a growing number of employers have introduced employee background screening policies into their recruitment process. A number of factors have likely contributed to this increase. Industries are having to adhere to an increasing level of compliance and regulation, from safety certification to diversity accreditation. The advent of social media has also required employers to consider what type of people their candidates are outside of work; social media checks have become common place for many employers in today’s digital age.

As pre-employment checks appear to be showing no signs of slowing down, we discuss why employee background screening has become so important and what types of background checks are essential for certain industries and employers. We’ll also identify where discrepancies might be found whilst conducting background checks and general checks that every employer should carry out to ensure they are hiring the right candidate. 

Why carry out background screening?

Improved security and safety of employees / clients / suppliers

Whatever industry or sector your business might work in, ensuring that every employee, client, supplier or third-party company that your business works with is safe, is one the most important responsibilities that you as an employer has. Threats to safety can come in many different shapes and sizes, from physical safety in the work environment to cyber security and the safety of digital assets. Conducting checks like criminal record checks or conducting past employer research can be useful checks to assess whether a candidate is safe to employ.

Regulatory compliance

For many employers working within specific industries, conducting employee background screening checks is essential in order to pass strict regulation. Failure to carry out the mandatory background checks can pose severe risks for employers. Typically, there are around five general industries that require mandatory background screening check, those are:

  • Government (local and central)
  • Financial Services and Insurance
  • Healthcare/Medical Industry
  • Nuclear
  • Transportation including Aviation and Rail

For many employers working within these industries there are often multiple phases of screening checks that must be conducted to satisfy regulation. If regulation affects your industry and you would like to find more information about screening processes, visit our services section here.

Better quality of hires

Perhaps one of the most important benefits, employee background screening checks provides employers with is the assurance that they are hiring the right employees. Implementing a screening policy has helped many employers save time and resources in sourcing the right employees and has made their recruitment processes far more efficient. According to a report conducted in 2017, the average time it took employers in the UK to make a new hire was 36 days. Last year the average employee turn-over rate was around 15%. This results in a lot of wasted time for employers trying to find and retain qualified employees. Putting in that bit of extra work at the beginning can save a considerable amount of time and resources further on down the recruitment line. Morson Screening Services was created with this in mind, the team provide tailored screening processes for employers working within various sectors. The average screening turnaround time for employers who work with Morson Screening Services is 7 days.

Improvement of company reputation

Conducting pre-employment screening checks ensures that your employees are safe, and your recruitment processes are efficient. These are two valuable attributes that will be associated with your business if you have the right processes in place. It works on two levels:

  1. Employee Value Proposition – good retention rates, ensuring that your workforce is safe and that everybody is vetted and carefully considered before they are employed shows potential candidates that you as an employer value your employees and are dedicated to creating a safe working environment.
  2. Clients – an efficient recruitment process, high employee retention rates and vetted employees proves to potential and existing clients that your business is responsible and forward thinking. Choosing to invest a bit more time in the beginning to ensure a more efficient process and better results in the end.

 

Types of background screening checks

  • Employment Referencing – this a basic but important background check that every employer should conduct. Assessing a candidate’s employment history is a great indicator of what they are like as an employee. Validating every reference can be difficult and a time-consuming process for many employers. Morson Screening Services provides full employment referencing checks plus validation and employment gap analysis, to ensure you have a concise and honest representation of every candidate.

 

  • Identity/Right to work – the right to work check is a mandatory pre-employment check that every candidate must pass before they can be employed. According to the Government guidelines all employers must; see the applicant’s original right to work documents. Check that the documents are valid. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date they made the check.

 

  • Criminal Record Checks – these checks can be mandatory for certain industries such as education, law or public services. But any employer can request that a DBS check is conducted during a pre-screening process, as long as legitimate interest is satisfied. The check can sometimes cause a in delay the hiring process as records from the DBS database have to be sourced and returned to the employer, which can take a few weeks and require additional time and resources spent collecting the information. Through Morson Screening, we receive a “content” or “no content” response directly from the DBS within a matter of days, with the certificate to follow.

 

  • Professional Qualifications – this check is common place for many employers, especially when hiring for senior or specialist roles. It can often be difficult for employers to validate a candidate’s qualifications, and many employers choose to oversee this important process. Morson Screening Service has a dedicated professional qualification validation checking system that uses a data led validation platform to ensure every qualification is genuine and validated.

 

  • Financial Profiling  – for any employer working within the financial sector, conducting financial history checks is a vital part of the screening process. At Morson Screening Services we provide financial summary reports on candidates, both basic and more in detail reports. The reports are designed to flag any adverse financial history such as: bankruptcy, CCJ’s, IVA’s and offers a full credit report. The more detailed reports check FCA records and also contain a sanction check and directorship search.

 

  • Social Media – social media checks have become much more common place over the last five years. It is reported that 70% of employers now conduct social media checks on every candidate they process. Social media checks are a great way of limiting potential damage to your company’s reputation, especially within certain public facing industries.

Morson Screening Services provides all of the pre-screening checks listed above and much more. For more information about we can help you, get in touch with Kerry.redmond@morson.com.

Where might discrepancies be found?

With every pre-employment check there is a chance that a discrepancy might be found. But that is what the checks are designed to do.  It is important to understand what kind of discrepancies will be flagged with specific checks.

Previous employment – here likely discrepancies can appear when a candidate has several missing references. As employers are by law prohibited from leaving a bad reference, they will often refuse to give a reference, if a candidate has multiple missing references then this could be an indicator that there has been recurring issue with past employment. Another discrepancy could be false contact details, this is why it is important to check all the contact information provided as false information could be an indicator that a candidate is also providing false references.

Professional / Educational Certificates – false certification has proven a recurring issue for many employers in the past. Some pre-screening policies fail to prioritise verifying certification or what a candidate has stated on their CV or application. For some industries such medical, financial or educational this can result in harsh penalties for employers who fail to verify a candidate’s certification.

Financial History – for employers working within the finance sector, ensuring that a candidate’s financial history is verified and compliant with industry regulation is vital. Discrepancies can often appear when a candidate is untrue or fails to highlight adverse financial history. This however can often be found with a thorough credit check and financial summary report.

Criminal Checks – criminal checks are a mandatory part of many screening processes. Discrepancies here can be found mainly when a candidate is dishonest or fails to mention any active or pending criminal records or history in their application. A DBS check will typically recover any criminal history, so it is always important to confirm a candidate’s criminal history with an official DBS check. There are 4 different types of DBS (basic, standard, enhanced, enhanced with barred lists) all of which return different amounts of information on criminal history. Ability to perform more in-depth DBS checks is dependent upon the role the individual is going into.

For many employers, ensuring that every candidate they recruit is fully screened and to a standard that meets industry regulation can be a daunting task to undertake. The amount of time and resources required to fully integrate a pre-employment screening process that covers every requirement can be costly and not the most efficient use of time. Morson Screening Services has been designed to provide pre-employment screening services that cover any requirement an employer may have.

If you would like to learn more about Morson Screening Services and how we can help your business, get in touch today at Kerry.redmond@morson.com

What is BPSS screening?

What is BPSS screening?

BPSS screening (Baseline Personnel Security Standard) was created by the government to reduce the risk to the United Kingdom of illegal workers, identity fraud and importantly protect our national security.

BPSS is the Government standard for vetting, utilised as the standard within government departments, on government projects and is often a mandate for all candidates commencing employment within any part of the government.  

When should BPSS screening be conducted?

Any personnel involved in a government project should pass BPSS screening before employment begins. This is to ensure that all assets related to the project such as data, sensitive information, materials etc. are protected. External contractors working on public contracts will need to ensure that the proper screening processes are in place before labour can commence.

BPSS is the standard of vetting which is applied to programmes such as Hs2. This means that Hs2 direct staff and contractors, projects and programmes working to deliver Hs2 and their subsequent supply chains and any touchpoints on the programme, all are subject to BPSS vetting prior to starting work.

Why was the BPSS introduced?

BPSS was created to protect government assets. It was introduced in the UK in 2006 as a precaution against the growing use of Wide Area Networks and Public Service Networks (WiFi, data cloud storage etc). More employees now have access to sensitive information through company servers, this has increased the threat against data security.

What does BPSS screening consist of?

  • 3-year employment / academic referencing including validation of gap periods over 28 days
  • Identity verification (right to work in the UK/address validation)
  • DBS (England & Wales) / Disclosure Scotland (Scotland)
  • Overseas Criminal Record Checks for periods spent outside of the UK greater than 6 months

Do BPSS checks need to be carried out more than once?

Employees working on the same project will typically only need to pass BPSS once. However, migrant workers must pass BPSS checks every 12 months. Once the migrant has been granted indefinite leave to remain, they will only need to pass BPSS once.

At Morson Screening we provide onsite consultancy to manage vetting both in house for customers and subsequent supply chains. We receive, on average, 800 new BPSS cases on a weekly basis.

Managed by a specialist team of case managers, all our vetting requires consent and complies with GDPR to the highest standard. Streamlined through candidate friendly technology, the candidate journey is at the heart of what we do whilst producing an auditable, government approved report once vetting has been completed.

How long does it take?

The average turnaround of a BPSS screening process takes around 7-10 working days. Through Morson Screening, our average turnaround time is 4.5 working days from the point we are instructed to conduct vetting on an individual.

For more information, get in touch with the team

Top 10 Background Screening Questions Answered

Top 10 Background Screening Questions Answered

Whether you’re an engineer, project manager, doctor or accountant at some point you have probably gone through some form of pre-employment or background screening. Different jobs require different background checks, some of which employers are legally required to carry out, others are often just a part of the hiring process. But what are these checks and what do they tell employers about you? Here we’ll debunk the mystery surrounding background checks and answer the most commonly asked questions about pre-employment screening.

Q1. What checks do employers have to carry out?

Aside from specific pre-employment screening in regulated environments, there is only one pre-employment screening check that every employer must legally carry out and that is the right to work in the UK. This check is a legal requirement that every employer must carry out, it ensures that an applicant is eligible to legally work in the UK. For British citizens or applicants from the European Economic Area (EEA), this check is typically quite straightforward. But for international applicants, these checks can take time to process. This is mainly because the HMRC will check the Visa and immigration status of every international applicant.

What do you need to do? The answer is usually nothing. For British citizens, the right to work checks are handled by the employer and the HMRC. For EU citizens you are required to provide a copy of your EU citizenship ID or passport. For international applicants the process can take longer, you will typically need to arrange a work permit and present this to your employer. The type of work permit you require or may be issued with will be dependent upon the reason for your entry into the UK. i.e. student visa, where you can work up to 20 hours per week.

Q2. When will employers carry out background checks?

Despite the extra stress brought about by background checks, they are usually a good sign. Many employers won’t start the pre-employment screening process until they are certain they want to hire an applicant. When they choose to carry out the checks can vary depending on the employer’s recruitment process, but they will typically carry out checks soon after the interview process has finished. However, always check the terms of the application beforehand, as background checks can be carried out at any stage of the recruitment process. You will usually be asked about your right to work in the UK at the start of the recruitment process and asked to bring a copy of your ID to an interview with you.

Q3. What is an employment reference check?

As part of the screening stage, many employers will ask for references from past employers. You can refuse to provide a reference but, in some cases, this could harm your chances of getting the job. It is important to note that past employers are legally not allowed to give you a bad reference, they can only refuse to provide a reference. For some heavily regulated sectors, if references cannot be confirmed and your background cannot be verified in another way, it may affect your employment offer as you may be unable to gain access to areas you need to work in.

What do you need to do? If a new employer asks you for a reference they will typically provide you with an employee reference form. Often, background screening is outsourced as it is time-consuming for HR functions so the provider will usually guide you on how to complete the referee details and they will request the reference on your behalf.Morson screening services

Q4. Do employers look at social media?

The number of companies using social media screening for job applicants has increased dramatically over the last few years. According to a study conducted by CareerBuilder, around 70% of employers check an applicant’s social media pages before hiring them. Likewise, checking a company’s social media accounts as preparation can be a great way to find out more detailed information about them.

Always remember: when you are applying for jobs make sure that there is nothing that could potentially harm your chances of getting hired. An easy way to do this is to make your social media pages private, so employers can’t fully access your account.

Q5. Can employers check criminal records?

Some employers will carry out a criminal record check, this is typically referred to as a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service) or Disclosure Scotland if you live in Scotland. DBS checks can be a contract requirement that certain employers must carry out. There are different levels of DBS checks depending on the industry and role, so it’s important to identify which checks may be carried out on you before you apply for a job. Visit the Gov.uk website to find out more information.

Q6. What happens if I fail a background check?

For some employers, it would be against the law to employ somebody who has failed a background check. But for the majority of employers, they are within their right to deny any applicant a job based on the results of their background checks. This, however, depends on the situation and many results from non-vital checks can be reviewed and discussed with the applicant. So, a fail doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the job.

Q7. What can employers do/not do with my information?

Background checks are designed to be impartial, objective and fair, and any handling of personal information must follow the General Data Protection Regulation. This means your information is stored safely and is not shared with anybody who isn’t involved with the recruitment process. It is illegal for any employer to make decisions based on your ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, maternity status or political views.

Q8. Can I refuse a background check?

You are completely in your right to refuse a background check. Every employer must have your consent before they start the screening process. However certain checks are legal requirements and must be certified before you start employment, so refusing those checks will result in your employment being terminated. It is the decision of the employer to accept your refusal for non-vital checks. Remember, social media checks can be carried out without your consent.

Q9. How long does a background screening check take?

Typically, a background screening check will take around 5-7 days. This, however, can vary depending on the industry and role you are working in and the number of checks the employer carries out. Working on confidential projects, such as military/weapons manufacturing or on government contracts will often involve a long background screening process. Some background checks can last for around 4-6 weeks.

Q10. Where can I find more information about background screening?

At Morson, we have a dedicated background screening service. Morson Screening Services helps both applicants and employers speed up the recruitment process through providing quick, verified and detailed information. If you are currently looking for a job and want to find out more information about background checks, get in touch