Security advice

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Pre-employment screening

Pre-employment screening is the foundation of good personnel security. It seeks to verify the credentials of those you are seeking to grant access to your sites and information, and to check that they meet preconditions of employment (e.g. that they are legally permitted to take up an offer of employment).

Pre-employment screening can be used to confirm an applicant’s identity, nationality and immigration status, and to verify their declared skills and employment history. It may also raise concerns about the integrity and reliability of an applicant, for example:

  • involvement in illegal activities;
  • unspent criminal convictions relevant to the role, particularly if not volunteered by the applicant and only revealed by other checks;
  • false or unsubstantiated claims on the CV or application form;
  • unsubstantiated qualifications;
  • unexplained gaps in employment history;
  • adverse references;
  • questionable documentation e.g. lack of supporting paperwork or concern that documents are not genuine; or
  • evasiveness or unwillingness to provide information on the part of the candidate.

Other stages of the recruitment process also give opportunities to screen candidates. Interviews, in particular, will help to form an opinion of their character. Credit reports can provide assurance that there are no significant credit or debt problems that could place the individual in a vulnerable position.

Take Another Look: ID Verification

CPNI has released its latest personnel security film – Take Another Look: ID Verification. This short film highlights the importance of verifying a person’s identity and the authenticity of their identity documents as part of the recruitment process. It also serves as a refresher for those who have undertaken identity and document verification training.

Accompanying the film is a handy desktop checklist, which reinforces key messages in the film.

The DVD-ROM also includes the Operation FAIRWAY PDF document ‘A Guide to Document Awareness’.

Copies of the DVD and checklist can be obtained by emailing IDENTITY@cpni.gsi.gov.uk.

Driving licence changes

From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will no longer be issued by the DVLA, and it will no longer have any legal status. You should destroy your paper counterpart after this date, but retain your photocard. However, paper driving licences issued before 1998 (when the photocard was introduced) will remain valid, and should be retained.

The DVLA website explains these changes, including how to view your driving licence online, and the new Share Driving Licence service – this will enable organisations to check the driving record of employees and customers, with the consent of the driving licence holder.

Employing migrant workers

Information for employers on employing migrant workers can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration pages (UKVI). Employers may be subject to a civil penalty for employing migrants with no entitlement to work in the UK. Comprehensive guidance can be found on the illegal working penalties page on the UKVI website .

Employers should be aware of the points-based system (PBS) for migrants coming to work from outside the European Economic area and Switzerland, which is controlled by UKVI. Prospective employees must pass a points-based test under one of the tiers operating under the PBS. Points are awarded on ability, experience, salary, ability to speak English and, when appropriate, the level of economic need within the sector they will be working in. Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the PBS are operational, whilst Tier 3 is closed. Detailed guidance can be found on the UKVI website.

Employers should also be aware of the Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) for migrants coming to work in the UK. All migrants from outside the EEA and Switzerland granted permission to stay in the UK for more than six months must apply for a BRP. This is to comply with EU regulations. Further information can be found on the UKVI website.

Candidates’ online profiles

The use of the internet, social media in particular, for employment reasons is widespread, routine and growing. Employers are increasingly reviewing the online presence of candidates as part of their recruitment processes. While this can provide useful pre-employment screening information on candidates, doing so can present a number of challenges. This guidance has been therefore written to provide employers with some simple principles that they should consider if they wish to conduct online checks of potential employees.

National security vetting

The national security vetting regime applies to certain employment positions which give access to classified government information, or access to potential physical targets of terrorist attack and/or information that would be of use to terrorists.


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