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Employment Suitability Checks

Once you have chosen who you are going to employ and have provisionally offered them the position, you will need to follow up on some checks to ensure they are suitable to work for you.

Some of the checks are a legal requirement so we'll cover these first but others are suggested as good practise but are not compulsory.

Eligibility to Work in the UK

It is important that you complete the necessary checks to ensure that the person you are employing is eligible to work in the UK. Failure to do these checks and employing an illegal worker may result in you receiving a penalty (up to £20,000 as of July 2016).

The criteria for such checks changes periodically so, rather than giving you potentially incorrect information on this page, we link you to a couple of GOV.UK webpages that provide the most up to date information.

We can't stress how important doing these checks is so if you need any support or have any questions, please don't hesitate to Contact Us.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

DBS checks, formerly known as CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) are checks that are carried out to see if anyone has a criminal record that may make them unsuitable to employ.

You should only arrange a DBS check once an applicant is successful. You can withdraw a job offer if the results show anything that would make the applicant unsuitable.

It is important to check that a DBS is required as it is illegal to request one if the position isn't eligible under current legal provisions. We link to relevant GOV.UK webpages below but, due to the complexity of this subject, you may like to have support from us to ensure that your vacancy would be eligible for a DBS check.

You need to state on your advert and job description that a DBS check may be required for the position and you should remind anyone you interview of this.

SILC (Surrey Independent Living Council) are able to carry out DBS checks for you and, if you are in receipt of funding from your local Authority or NHS, the cost of a DBS check is covered.

If you are using a PA that is self-employed then you can't request a DBS as you are not their employer. However, they may be willing to show you a DBS that they had from a previous employer or they can get a basic check from Disclosure Scotland which provides details of any 'unspent' convictions (you do not need to live in Scotland to use this service).


It is advisable, but not compulsory, to follow up references once you have provisionally offered someone a position.

References are a good way of confirming that what the applicant has told you is correct. It is also valuable to have the opinion of another person who already knows, or who previously employed the applicant, on their suitability to your vacancy.

You will have the details of the 2 references if you used an application form but if you asked for a CV then you'll need to obtain 2 references from your chosen applicant in order to proceed with contacting the references.

It is up to you how you make contact with the referee (the person giving the reference). You can contact them by post or email which will allow you to ask some specific questions and also provide them with a copy of the job description, ensuring that they understand what role the applicant will be undertaking. This way could take considerable time and result in you chasing references (therefore possibly delaying the employee's start date) but it may lead to more structured and detailed information.

The other way of gathering references is by telephone. This is a quicker way of contacting and discussing the applicant's suitability and referees may also be prepared to say things over the phone that they wouldn't put in writing. However, a telephone call to discuss a reference may put the referee on the spot and therefore not allow them time to think about what the job involves and how suitable the applicant may be.

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