A Guide to the Different Types of Employment Background Checks in UK

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Financial Hiring Trends Report of 2023

Background checks are a standard procedure for a number of sectors in the United Kingdom. They are used to ensure that the candidate is qualified for the position and that they do not have any criminal records. When an employer wants to hire someone, they will usually request a background check. Background checks can be done through a variety of means, from checking court records to calling their previous employers. The most common type of background check in Britain is through disclosure and barring service (DBS).

How to Perform a Legally Valid Employment Background Check in the UK

The Employment Background Check Act was introduced in the UK in 2008. It is a requirement for employers to conduct background checks on staff before hiring them. These checks can include criminal records, credit checks, and employment references.

background checks uk
Background checks uk

Employers are legally obliged to follow best practice when conducting compliance checks. This includes:

- Conducting a thorough check of criminal records and checking with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for any previous convictions

- Conducting credit checks to see if the applicant has any outstanding debts

- Checking employment references

What Exactly are DBS Check and BPSS Check in the UK? What’s the Difference?

Both are forms of background checks, primarily carried out before a candidate fills a job vacancy, or voluntary position, with an organisation but it's important to know that a DBS check is not the same as a BPSS check. 

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a type of background check in Britain. It was set up by the British Government in 2002 to keep a record of people who have been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults because they pose a risk to them. 

employment background check uk
Employment background check uk

DBS check can be done on a potential employee or an organisation. It is most commonly used for people who work with children and vulnerable adults, such as: teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses, police officers and care workers. DBS checks are also used to screen people who work with animals.

On the other hand, the BPSS (Baseline Personnel Security Standard) check, was established to meet the minimum level of checks required for all civil servants, members of the armed forces, temporary staff and government contractors or alternatively anyone who is granted access to classified information. The goal of BPSS security clearance is to keep any information or assets safe, which in turn reduces the risks to national security.

DBS Basic vs Standard vs Advanced

The DBS Basic Check only tells you about a person's unspent convictions, while the  Standard and Enhanced checks will show you all their convictions, including those that have been spent or not. They'll also inform  you about when a person was cautioned, reprimanded or had their case finalised (sentenced).

employment history check uk
Employment history check uk

The Importance of Background Checks for Hiring Expats or International Employees

The UK is one of the most popular destinations for expats. The country has a diverse range of industries and a rich culture.  However there are many people who are not working legally in the country, which can lead to a variety of issues. 

uk background checks
UK background checks

In order to ensure that you are hiring someone with a good background and can work legally, it is important to take certain precautions. One of these precautions is ensuring that you have all of their documentation in order before you hire them. This will help ensure that they have not been working illegally or using false documents. Another precaution would be to make sure that your company conducts thorough interviews with each potential employee before you hire them, as this will help weed out any potential problems right away.

Aside from taking precautions, the need to conduct employment background checks is becoming more and more important in the UK. It's important for employers to be sure they are aware of the most common types of background checks that hiring managers are running to screen potential candidates coming from other countries.

criminal background check uk
Criminal background check uk

UK Background Checks are not just about criminal records - they also cover other important aspects such as financial history, health history and education history. It is important to take this step before you offer any international candidate any job in the UK, as it will safeguard you from contravening UK employment legislation. UK background checks are a standard requirement for many international employees. It is important to understand the process and what information is required so that you can run your background check quickly and efficiently.

Conclusion: Outsourcing to a Third Party Provider

Employment background checks are an important part of the recruitment process. They can help employers assess the suitability of a candidate for a position. Background checks can also help in reducing the risk of employing someone who has been convicted of a crime and is likely to pose a risk to its employees, customers or people in its care.

Background checks can be done by employers themselves, but it is often better if they are outsourced to third party providers who have the necessary experience and expertise in this area. A survey, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, found that the vast majority of companies perform background checks before hiring a new employee. However, many employers struggle with researching and using the database systems necessary to perform these checks. A third party provider can save time by doing all of the necessary research and providing employers with a list of acceptable candidates.


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

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