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April 2, 2020
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COVID-19 (coronavirus) background screening updates

We have published and sent to all clients our current plans to mitigate any impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This document is designed to reassure clients that we are working hard to continue providing the services they need, while maintaining our robust security and data protection measures and ensuring the safety of our colleagues and their families.

Clients with access to our portal can see a copy of the plan here.

02 April 2020, 12:52

South Africa Criminal record check


This check has the requirement for a candidate to submit two copies of their fingerprints along with an application form and ID document. Within South Africa, the police force are unable to provide a fingerprint service at present.

However, we use a centralised data source which  stores fingerprint data, and we are expecting that in 80% of requests to be able to complete this check for South African citizens.

Candidates residing outside of South Africa may also experience difficulty in obtaining fingerprints.  Candidates should check with their local police force to determine availability of this service.


Nigeria Criminal record check (Police Clearance certificate)


This check normally has a requirement for a candidate to submit 1 set of their fingerprints along with an application form and ID document.

However, we are able to offer criminal records report instead of the police clearance certificate which will allow the check to complete if a candidate is unable to obtain their fingerprints

02 April 2020, 10:50


Driving Licence (DVA Northern Ireland)


We have spoken with the DVA. They have advised that all requests will be processed but that some delays are inevitable as they are working with skeleton staffing.  All the pending checks have been processed and results are expected to be received later today

Driving Licence (DVLA UK)


Please be advised that some delays should be expected. The DVLA have now issued the following statement: 

"In line with the government’s advice we have a very limited number of staff on-site who are only dealing with applications from those who are directly involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In particular, we are prioritising applications relating to HGV drivers and critical workers to make sure they get any documentation they need as quickly as possible.

"We are unable to deal with any other paper applications until further notice.

"So we can help those in most need, please do not call unless you are directly involved in the nation’s response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, we will not be able to respond to any other calls or general queries until further notice."

The DVLA have previously refused to accept requests for driver information via email and have insisted that we send requests by post. 

We have as yet been unable to speak with them to seek an alternative means of submitting driver information requests but will continue to pursue a new working arrangement.

Russia


We are pleased to advise that we are able to offer criminal check, directorship and credit checks and that no delays are expected at this current time.  Please be advised that academic references may be delayed due to quarantine restrictions within Russia

India Credit Check


Please be advised that we are experiencing delays to completion of these checks.  The Authorities are working to resolve the technical issue and we will continue to monitor the situation

01 April 2020, 14:10


Italy National Criminal, Civil and Bankruptcy Search


We had contact back from the Authorities today advising as follows: “seppur con qualche ritardo a causa dell'emergenza covid-19  questo Ufficio continuerà ad evadere le richieste da Voi inviate.”

Translation: "Albeit with some delay due to the covid-19 emergency, this Office will continue to process the requests sent by you."

Portugal Criminal Registry Certificate


The Authorities have confirmed that they will now accept application forms that have an electronic signature (previously required a wet signature). This removes the need to need to print and sign the application form by hand.

The requirement remains that candidates need to supply us with an application form, an Authority form and a copy of an ID document and that the signature on all three documents must match

31 March 2020, 14:10
 

Right to Work verification – Right to Work Audit (UK) 


The Home Office announced yesterday that:
  • checks can now be carried out over video calls
  • job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
This does not remove the requirement for  RTW check but it will make it easier for employers. It is important to note that it remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

It does make an allowance if an individual is unable, due to COVID-19, is unable to evidence their right to work.

Employers must take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show their documents.

More information is available at: code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.

Conducting a right to work check during the temporary COVID-19 measures:
  • Ask the worker to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app
  • Arrange a video call with the worker – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents
  • Record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”
Disclosure Scotland

Disclosure Scotland announced that online applications can be made for Basic, Standard Enhanced Disclosure and also for PVG applications for new and existing members.  They will prioritise roles in the following sectors:
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Childcare
  • Social work
  • Social care
  • Prisons and justice
Previously, clients had to provide candidates with a paper form, the candidate completed this and posted to Verifile where trained staff (“Contersignatorie”) viewed the information and submitted the paper form via post to Disclosure Scotland. 

Although the term ‘online’ is a little misleading, as it’s not a form that you complete online, the process is simplified and quicker:
  • forms can be downloaded from the website
  • the candidate needs to fil in the details (electronic signature from the applicant and countersignatory are now acceptable and there is no need to print and sign a form by hand);
  • the candidate returns the form to Verifile via email
  • we review and counter sign
  • we send to Disclosure Scotland via email
The different types of forms and how to download are clearly shown on their website.

​30 March 2020, 14:15
 

Latest updates related to various checks

DBS Standard & Enhanced Criminal Checks

These checks are now FREE OF CHARGE. Please see our update about this here.

Right to Work verification - Right to work (UK) aka as Conditional Right to Work check

Now operating as normal

China Criminal Record Check

We have been informed that normal service has resumed

26 March 2020, 17:25
 

Multiple updates related to various checks

As various countries and data sources decide on how best to enact contigency plans to lesen the impact of coronavirus, we're starting to understand more how this may impact the background screening sector. Here are the latest updates that we have for you today:

Please note: some of these updates may be repeated from earlier updates and act as a reminder.

Right to Work verification – right to Work Audit (UK)

The Home Office are not aware of any immediate decisions to relaxing the rule around face to face meetings and the need for original documents. Any updates will be announced on their website. Therefore, existing requirements remain in force:
RW.jpg
There has been some relaxation around visa regulations. You can read more about these at the Home office website.

Right to Work verification - Right to work (UK) aka as Conditional Right to Work check

There is significant disruption at present.  We are hopeful that the current backlog will be resolved over the weekend.

Criminal Records Checks - Northern Ireland

AccessNI has partially activated the Priority Plan their coronavirus Contingency Plan. As of today, Registered Bodies can request an urgent check of the Barred Lists to enable individuals to begin work in advance of completing a full AccessNI check.

This service is only available for positions where the applicant is urgently required to undertake work in response to the current COVID-19 crisis and must be followed up with a full Enhanced Disclosure Application in the normal way.

Driving Licence -  Northern Ireland

We have been unable to speak directly with the DVA but were reassured last week that it was business as usual.  They have an automated message advising that all first time licence applications and some other applications are suspended until 22 June 2020 and that no calls will be answered.

We will continue to seek confirmation of the disruption but at this time it is expected that delays are inevitable.

Cifas

No disruption to service at this time

Criminal records assistance and validation (SAR) 

The Spanish Parliament extended emergency measures until 12 April 2020. Whilst the document required to process the check can be posted to the Ministry of Justice, each candidate is required to submit an ID document that has been stamped by a Notary Public. Given the current lock down restrictions, we expect significant delays

Italy National Criminal, Civil and Bankruptcy Search

Whilst we are able to place these checks, we expect significant delays in receiving results

India Criminal Record Check

Whilst we are able to place these checks, we expect significant delays in receiving results

Lithuania Police Criminal Record Check

Not available at this time

France Criminal Record Extract

This remains unavailable. From 16 March the National Criminal Records has participated in the effort essential to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Consequently, no request for a criminal record extract (Bulletin 3) can be processed, whether it is sent by digital or postal mail, and telephone reception is no longer guaranteed.

Senegal Criminal record check

Senegal has joined the list of countries on lockdown. We are able to place orders but expect delays to receiving results

Poland Criminal record check

Polish Mail have resumed distribution of Registered mail, we are able to place checks but expect delays to receiving results

Cyprus Certificate of Character

The Authorities have confirmed they will accept digitally signed applications and authority forms meaning candidates are no longer expected to post documents to Verifile.  

Switzerland Extract from the Criminal Record

Whilst we are able to place these checks, we expect significant delays in receiving results.

25 March 2020, 09:10


DBS allows temporary video I.D. verification for all checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), has allowed a temporary relaxing of their identity verification requirements in response to the coronavirus lock down.

They are now allowing candidates’ identity to be verified via video link or by sending a scanned electronic copy to employers or their agents for Basic, Standard and Enhanced checks.

Previously they had only relaxed these rules for Standard and Enhanced checks.

In an advisory sent to Verifile, they said:

"Due to current measures that have been put in place as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, we’re aware that organisations are having difficulty following the DBS ID checking guidance.

"Currently, when validating ID documents, it is best practice to carry the examination out face-to-face with a live video link as an alternative method. Under the current guidance, the ID checker must be in physical possession of the original documents so they can be checked for indicators of fraud.

"As the public is being advised to work from home where possible, this is causing difficulties in receiving the physical documents and is delaying applications, and in some cases, preventing applications from being submitted.

"To ensure that the necessary DBS checks can still be carried out, the DBS ID checking guidance will be changed for a temporary period. The change will come into effect immediately."
The changes allow:
  • ID documents to be viewed over video link 
Or, if it is not possible to verify documents via video link:
  • Scanned images can be viewed in advance of the DBS check being submitted
  • The DBS also advised that this change should only be implemented for urgent cases where it is not possible to follow the normal identity checking guidelines
Under the relaxed guidelines, the applicant must also present the original versions of these documents when they first attend their employment or volunteering role.
In addition: 
  • Similar relaxations were announced by Disclosure Scotland and AccessNI
  • Turnaround Times for DBS checks are being treated as a priority with the government committed. PM Boris Johnson said: "We are speeding up the DBS checks so they can be done in 24 hours and I want to thank and congratulate all the boroughs throughout this country for the way they are harnessing those volunteers.”
  • You can follow live updates on how Verifile is adapting to mitigate the affects of coronavirus here.
For more information on these changes and how they will help you to continue running background checks during this unprecedented time, please contact your account manager or the Client Services Team on +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or via email service@verifile.co.uk

20 March 2020, 15:10

Disclosure Scotland to prioritise key checks

Disclosure Scotland is working closely with the Scottish Government and key stakeholders on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also invoked their Business Continuity plans to prevent any disruption to safeguarding services at this time of crisis.

The organistaion says they will also prioritise checks for those who have the most sensitive roles in supporting this crisis. The criteria for prioritisation is based upon the roles: 
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Childcare
  • Social work
  • Social care
  • Prisons and justice
They add that the list of key roles may change as the situation develops and evolves.

If you have any questions, please contact your Account Manager or Client Services on +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or service@verifile.co.uk

20 March 2020, 15:10

Swiss Criminal Records Checks

The Swiss Register of Criminal records has warned of being "severely restricted". 

In a satement they said: "It is our prime objective to continue to provide our services to the people of Switzerland even in these exceptional times. Because of the coronavirus crisis, the capacities of the Swiss Register of Criminal Records have been severely restricted.

"As a result, until further notice we can only guarantee orders of criminal records excerpts if the order is made over the counter at a post office in Switzerland. Please do not order any excerpts unless it is absolutely necessary. Thank you for your understanding and take care."

19 March 2020, 15:10

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and AccessNI allows temporary video verification


The DBS and AccessNI has said they will temporarily allow ID verification via video for standard and enhanced checks. Basic checks will still have to be carried out face to face. Read their official statement here.

This means that for the checks mentioned, remote video session is now allowed. Employers must ask the individual to present the documents in the video, they must be able to see it clearly and look for signs of tampering and make sure they can match the photos in the documents to the individual.

Our recommendation to all clients using this method is to add a passport verification check as it will help reduce the chance of fraud further. Adding further identity verification to your screening programme adds real value especially at times when recruitment is being carried out remotely.
 
Employers will still need to see the original documents on the first day the new employee attends their place of work.
 
19 March 2020, 15:10

IR 35 postponed


The government has announced they will postpone the IR35 reforms due to be launched in April. They will now be implemented in April 2021.

The changes will see every medium and large private sector business in the UK become responsible for setting the tax status of any contract worker they use from April 2020.

The postponement has been made to prevent any delay in hiring contractors, should you need them to support peaks in demand or urgent work within your business due to impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

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April 2, 2020
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BS7858 has changed - here's what you need to know

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has issued changes to the BS7858 which sets out requirements for companies carrying out background screening for employees in a secure environment.

BS7858:2019 came into effect at the end of September and replaced BS7858:2012, which was then withdrawn on 31 March 2020.

Full details can be found in the BSI Standards Publication which you can purchase from them here.

We have recently seen a lot of misinformation published about the changes. As we are certified NSI Gold for screening services, we wanted to help clear up the confusion.

We’ve already written about the inclusion of social media screening, but as Verifile remains committed to accurate data and meaningful relationships, we’ve looked at the top three elements of BS7858:2019 that will be important to you.

The main changes are:

  • Removal of character references
  • Inclusion of a global watchlists check
  • Right to Work checks in line with DBS identity requirements (previously SIA identity requirements)
  • Inclusion of social media checks as a recommended best practice
  • Permission to passing on of a screening file from job to job.
  • Retention of each candidate’s screening file:
    • For those unsuccessful in the process for 12 months
    • During the entire employment period
    • After cessation of employment, specified records held for additional seven years
  • All people engaged in carrying out BS7858 screening should be trained for the duties envisaged

Of all the changes, there are three specific areas that we think are most important.

DBS checks:


There is absolutely no need to include standard DBS checks in BS7858 packages, as these checks are undertaken by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) when they first register the individual. Otherwise only a Basic DBS check is appropriate.

See 7.3.2 (c), and 7.7. (j) in the 7858 Standard, or refer to the SIA’s ‘Get Licensed’ handbook. Where an individual is employed in a position that is likely to bring them into contact with children or vulnerable adults, e.g. child and adult workforce, a standard or enhanced level of disclosure might be necessary.

Global watchlists:


7.4 (c) of the BS7858 Standard includes mandatory requirement to search various global watchlists, sanctions and fraud databases. Previously, the standard called for searching only HMG sanctions list. 

Social Media:


BSI are increasingly aware that what employees post on social media may create problems for businesses operating in secure and regulated environments. The updated standard now recommends you therefore carry our social media screening pre and post-employment.

The BSI say: “For some roles, it might be prudent to seek additional information using best practice social media and other open-source internet checks to provide greater insights and reduce risk.”

For more guidance on this, and some further best practice guidance on social media screening in relation to BS7858:2019, please see our previous blog.

Verifile’s BS7858 checks


Verifile provides packages that cover the requirements of the updated standard for those employed in SIA licenced/regulated roles, as well as those employed in a secure environment but not in such a licensed/regulated role. 

Our flexible approach enables us to cater for senior leadership roles and other risk factors and customise the packages for each of the scenarios your organisation face. Our increasing number of quick checks also allows for your business to access almost instant results, so you can get your candidates in their roles quickly, even on the same day.

As always, Verifile will seek to demystify the changes in updated legislation such as this. If you have any questions about how BS7858:2019 may affect your business and if you need to make any changes to your background screening requirements. Give us a call on:

Existing clients, call: +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or email: service@verifile.co.uk

New clients, call: +44 (0) 1234 60 80 90 or email: sales@verifile.co.uk
 

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| Criminal Record Checks
March 30, 2020
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COVID-19: DBS checks now FREE OF CHARGE and Fast-Tracked

Temporary changes to enhanced checks to help emergency coronavirus recruitment


Verifile removing admin costs to support healthcare recruitment

In response to COVID-19, as of 30 March 2020, the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) are removing the costs of enhanced DBS checks.

They will also be fast-tracking the adults’ and children’s barred lists checks.
 

All the latest news about how COVID-19 is

affecting the background screening sector


However, this only applies to healthcare and social care workers being recruited in connection with the care and treatment of COVID-19 in England and Wales.

Verifile will also be joining the national effort to make its DBS checking service free-of-admin-charge too. Employers recruiting staff and volunteers to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic will receive a free service end-to-end. 

A full list of eligible roles within NHS health services, social care services or social services functions that will benefit from these changes can be found here.

Please note: Roles eligible for the free and fast-track emergency checks are different to those defined as ‘key workers’ for the purposes of childcare etc.

These temporary arrangements will provide employers with the option to appoint new recruits into regulated activity with adults and/or children, so long as the individuals are not barred.

Appropriate measures must also be put in place to manage the individual until the full DBS check is received.

Only apply for a free fast-tracked DBS check under this change if you really need to

The DBS have also asked people to be mindful of only using these services if the roles fall into the eligible categories.

In communicating the free and fast tracked checks, they said: “Misuse of this emergency fast track and free COVID-19 provision, will delay the urgent deployment of health and social care personnel and therefore undermine the national effort to fight Coronavirus.”

Before accessing this benefit, please read these key facts and prompts to help you make an informed decision before applying for a DBS check under these changes:
  • 95% of all Enhanced with Barred List DBS checks return no information
  • Only 0.02% of Enhanced with Barred List DBS checks state the person is on a barred list
  • If the person you are looking to employ as part of these emergency measures has had an Enhanced with Barred List DBS check in the last three years, as long as it is for the same workforce (i.e. children and/or adults), consider whether you can use the recent check to determine suitability for the role applied for.
  • If the person you are looking to employ as part of these emergency measures has an existing subscription to the Update Service using a DBS Enhanced with Barred List check, assess the suitability of the applicant using the original certificate and a check of the Update Service.
Please note: as a temporary measure where you are recruiting into paid employment you may consider accepting checks previously issued for volunteer roles.

To help you access these checks, please speak to your account manager or contact our Client Services Team by calling: +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or emailing service@verifile.co.uk.

These changes are further commitment to DBS Turnaround Times, which are being treated as a priority with the government. 

PM Boris Johnson said: "We are speeding up the DBS checks so they can be done in 24 hours and I want to thank and congratulate all the boroughs throughout this country for the way they are harnessing those volunteers.”

 

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