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.

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.

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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.​