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Pre-employment Checks in the NHS

It is essential that all persons working in the public sector are checked sufficiently before appointment to ensure that they are trustworthy, reliable and appropriately qualified for the jobs they are to do. Since April 2010 all NHS providers (including private providers) have been required to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC in turn requires that registered providers adhere to the NHS Employers Employment Checks Standards.

The Employment Checks Standards are also embedded in the Government Procurement Service (GPC) National Agency Framework Agreement and annual audit checks of agencies, to assure compliance with the standards is met in relation to contracted and subcontracted staff. They also form part of the information governance and assurance standards links to the use of the NHS Summary Care Records Service (NHS SCRS).

In the autumn of 2022, in recognition of the increasingly competitive labour market, NHS employers has brought to readers’ attention resources and guidance to help minimise any unnecessary delays in the hiring process. New guidance includes the following.

  • Updated NHS Employment Check Standards FAQs.

  • The Inspire, Attract and Retain Toolkit — including examples of the use of automation and different approaches to interviews in order to speed up the recruitment process.

  • Recruit and Retain Young People toolkit — ways to streamline processes and improve the candidate experience.

  • Information on the use of social media to attract a younger candidate pool.

  • A new resource which supports line managers to communicate rewards to employees.

This topic covers all current guidance for good recruitment and selection practice and procedures.

In April 2023, NHS Employers launched a new e-learning package based on the requirements of the NHS Employment Check Standards.

There are six modules to complete, plus a survey module to provide feedback. The e-learning package is accessible on the Learning Hub platform (hosted by NHS England) and is currently only available to individuals with NHS email accounts.

In August 2023, NHS England published the Fit and Proper Person Test Framework and supporting resources in order to strengthen board governance, boost leadership and improve patient safety. This will also help prevent directors who have been involved in or enabled serious misconduct or mismanagement from joining an NHS organisation.

Pre-employment Checks in the NHS: Quick Facts
  • All persons working in the public sector should be checked sufficiently before appointment to ensure that they are trustworthy, reliable and appropriately qualified. Introduction to NHS Pre-employment Checks

  • Relevant legislation in relation to pre-employment checks includes anti-discrimination legislation, protection legislation and data or information legislation. Legislation Relevant to Pre-employment Checks

  • All NHS organisations should have a policy on providing and requesting references, to ensure legal and NHS obligations are met. References Policy

  • An occupational health service (OHS) should be used wherever possible to provide pre-employment health assessment. Occupational Health Services

  • For posts where employees will be in contact with vulnerable or infectious patients there is a need to ensure that the immunity of new staff to infections is adequate, and that certain immunisations are up to date. Employee Immunisation

  • Smart cards can keep a record of pre-employment check data such as General Medical Council (GMC) or General Dental Council (GDC) registration status, contractual details, Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks and occupational health and immunisation records as doctors move from one NHS employer to another. Professional Registration

  • Criminal records checks are vital in any service providing direct patient care, particularly so for clinical posts where staff work unsupervised with children and vulnerable adults. Criminal Records

  • Enhanced disclosures are for posts of special sensitivity involving close contact with children or vulnerable adults. Enhanced Disclosure

  • An applicant may not commence employment in a regulated childcare position until the full CRB disclosure has been received. Regulated Positions

  • The policy on employment of ex-offenders should be that any relevant information declared is explored with the applicant prior to final selection. Policy on Employment of Ex-offenders