With the threat of terrorist activity unlikely to recede any time soon, the Airside screening required for an individual to be allowed to work airside at a UK airport is reassuringly comprehensive. The Department for Transport (DfT) has defined certain aviation roles and duties for which National Security Vetting (NSV) is required. Such is the level of security around these roles however, that even the guidance on this subject cannot be published for reasons of national security.  However, such roles remain in the minority. For most other roles, airside vetting, rather than NSV, is required before an individual is granted an airside pass. The composition of these checks and how they must be conducted is overseen by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and DfT.

Securing an airside pass can be challenging. One non-compliant result within a whole battery of checks will be enough to prevent a pass from being issued. Furthermore, the delays created by addressing points of non-compliance can result in other elements of the screening process expiring, meaning that the whole process needs to be repeated.  The basic principles of airside vetting – and the zero-tolerance approach to non-compliance – are consistent across the industry. It is however worth pointing out that the interpretation and application of those principles do vary significantly from one airport group to another, for example, making this process far from straightforward.  Airside vetting will always include a basic criminal records check; something which needs to be repeated every time an airside pass is renewed.  The fact that it is only a basic check does however mean that individuals with spent convictions will not be precluded from working in this area.  Other standard checks likely to be included in this area include identity and right to work checks, as well as career history and gap verification (e.g. periods of more than a month spent overseas or unemployed).

It will be interesting to see whether social media checks become a mandatory requirement in the future. Bearing in mind the insider threat that could be posed by a rogue airport or airline employee, such checks were recommended by Theresa May, during her time as Home Secretary, but have not yet been mandated.  When conducting airside vetting, organisations should be aware that the various rules and regulations that govern it are constantly changing. Also, as mentioned previously, this is a comprehensive, complex and therefore time-consuming process. No shortcuts are available so beware of any screening provider offering unbelievably rapid turnaround times – as these simply aren’t achievable.

Checks that employers may want to consider running in this sector

Right to Work: We’ll ensure that a candidate’s documentation meets the current Home Office requirements. We can also repeat checks as and when needed for individuals who have a limited entitlement to remain in the UK.

Identity checks: To prevent employers falling victim to identity fraud, we can undertake electronic verification checks on identity documents provided by a candidate. Alternatively, we can provide online identity checks, using biographical data.

Criminal record checks: We’ll undertake the appropriate level of UK criminal record checks, subject to strict eligibility guidelines. We’re also able to obtain overseas criminal records for candidates with an international background.

Employment history (and gap analysis): We can verify a candidate’s work history and references for the past five years, including checks on the existence and authenticity of all listed employers. Using our CV comparison service, we can also check for any discrepancies between the CV used to secure an interview and the subsequent findings of the full background check. Our gap analysis check will secure explanation of any gaps in a candidate’s activity history of more than a month when they were neither employed or in full-time education.

General Security Awareness Training (GSAT): We can check that GSAT training has been satisfactorily completed, where applicable.

Professional and academic qualifications: Where applicable, we can check the validity of someone’s professional accreditations or registrations while also checking that their academic qualifications are genuine. For all professional and academic qualifications, we’ll always check at source with the awarding body.

Global fraud and sanctions watchlists: We’ll check to see whether a candidate’s name appears on any of the hundreds of publicly available watchlists worldwide, relating to anything from terrorism and fraud through to being a barred or politically exposed person.

Credit checks: We’ll establish a candidate’s identity, address history and financial status via credit referencing agency records. The search will reveal details of financial probity and information including County Court Judgements, bankruptcies and voluntary arrangements within the last six years. This search will be recorded on the candidate’s file but will not be visible to other parties and will not affect the candidate’s credit score. 

Social media checks: An increasingly popular – and relevant – check for employers keen to understand whether someone’s social media activity could damage their brand, reputation or client relationships. As well as highlighting illegal activity and undesirable characteristics, such checks can also play a part in authenticating a candidate’s employment history.

Driving licence checks: We’ll check that the candidate does indeed have a valid driving licence. We’ll also check for any endorsements or disqualifications currently on their licence.


Aviation News

  • Unlicensed pilot quits over forged docs scandal
    March 1 2019| Verifile
    Read more
  • Employers Prevail in FCRA Class Actions
    June 28 2018| Verifile
    Read more
  • Manchester airport candidate who lied on his CV has escaped a jail term
    August 23 2019| Verifile
    Read more