Charities and Not-For-Profit

The UK charity and not-for-profit sector employs nearly 3% of the UK workforce and contributes almost £12 billion to the UK economy. Ethics, trust and transparency are of paramount importance across the sector. Additionally, such organisations often work closely with vulnerable members of society, making it essential they are protected from people whose backgrounds may pose a threat. The reputational damage suffered by organisations that are seen to be failing on these points – because of employing unsuitable or inappropriate people - can be significant, as this almost inevitably leads to a loss of public confidence and reduced donations. Oxfam, Save the Children and Medecins Sans Frontieres are just some of the major names in this sector to have been hit by staff-related scandals in recent times. This prompted 22 leading UK charities to pledge an increased amount of resources to their safeguarding and background screening efforts, determined to prevent previous offenders from being re-employed in the sector.  

These recent scandals have led to a tightening of governance procedures in the boardroom as well as in the field. This prompted governance specialists ICSA to publish a guidance document on charity trustee eligibility, suggesting that all charities run checks with the Charity Commission, Companies House, the Individual Insolvency Register and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before appointing someone as a trustee. 

As they rightly pointed out,, Given the large number of beneficiaries who rely on these charities, it is essential that the right people are recruited to the Board, not just in terms of skills, attributes and competencies but also in terms of ensuring an individual meets the legal and constitutional eligibility criteria.

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: We can verify a candidate’s work history and references for the past three 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.
 
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.
 
International 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.


 

Clients in this industry include: