Get some basic information about what checks employers can make on job applicants in the uk, can an employer obtain background checks on anyone?

Checks employers might need to run on job applicants

Background checks are an important part of the hiring process for many employers in the UK. They can help to ensure that candidates are qualified for the job, have the necessary skills and experience, and have a clean record. However, employers must be aware of the specific types of background checks that are permissible under UK law, and must comply with all relevant regulations and requirements.

Criminal Record Checks

In the UK, employers can conduct criminal record checks on prospective employees through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, or warnings. The level of check required will depend on the nature of the job and the industry sector. For example, employees working with vulnerable individuals or in a regulated sector may require a higher level of check.

Identity Verification

Employers are required to verify the identity of employees to ensure that they are legally authorized to work in the UK. This may involve checking documents such as a passport, national identity card, or biometric residence permit.

Employment Verification

Employers may verify a candidate's employment history, including their job title, dates of employment, and reason for leaving previous jobs. This can be done by contacting the candidate's previous employers or through a third-party verification service.

Education Verification

Employers may verify a candidate's education credentials, such as their degree, major, and graduation date. This can be done by contacting the educational institution or through a third-party verification service.

Reference Checks

Employers may contact references provided by a candidate to obtain additional information about their work history and performance. This can be done through a phone call, email, or written reference.

It's important to note that employers must comply with all applicable laws and regulations when conducting background checks. For example, under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), employers must obtain the candidate's consent before conducting a background check, and provide them with a copy of the results if requested.

In addition, employers must be careful not to discriminate against candidates based on their background check results. For example, they cannot discriminate against candidates with a criminal record unless the offence is relevant to the job and the employer can demonstrate that the exclusion is proportionate.

Overall, background checks can be an important tool for employers in the UK to ensure that they are hiring qualified and trustworthy employees. However, it's important to conduct these checks in a legal and ethical manner, and to ensure that they are relevant and proportionate to the job in question.

Your right to work in the UK

  • Employers must check that job applicants are allowed to work in the UK before they hire them.
  • An employer can be fined up to £10,000 if they can’t show evidence that they checked an employee’s right to work in the UK.

Criminal record checks

  • For certain jobs like working with children or in healthcare, employers need to carry out a criminal record check on new employees before they can start.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS - formerly CRB) checks
  • Unless there’s specific need to check someone’s criminal record for a job, it’s against the law for employers to refuse to employ them because of spent convictions.

Health checks

Employers can only ask successful candidates for a health check before hiring someone if:

  • it’s a legal requirement, eg eye tests for commercial vehicle drivers
  • if the job requires it, eg because their insurers need health checks on cycle couriers