Energy & Utilities

By far the most stringent regulations concerning background screening in this sector are reserved for operators in the nuclear industry. Overseen by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the civil nuclear industry is obliged to follow existing government guidelines, screening their employees in line with the Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) and National Security Vetting (NSV) guidelines.  Other energy industries are part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure. As such, most businesses within these industries also tend to adopt BPSS as a minimum standard for their background screening, with additional checks where necessary, depending on specific roles or levels of seniority.

In the water industry, best practice guidance goes further still and advocates the use of ongoing employee checks as well as BPSS as the minimum standard for pre-employment screening. As for energy supply businesses, a further factor behind their voluntary adoption of BPSS is that they have a number of Standard License Conditions they are expected to adhere to, as outlined by their national regulator, Ofgem. One of these requires that any of their employees who visits a customer’s premises (or home) should be a ‘fit and proper person’; a substantial undertaking, considering the large number of field workers they employ.

Failure to adhere to these regulations can come at a cost, as energy provider E discovered. It ended up paying over a quarter of a million pounds into Ofgem’s Voluntary Redress Fund in 2018 after some of its energy marketing agents were deemed to fall short of the fit and proper person test.  More stringent rules could yet be on the way. In early 2019, Ofgem indicated it wanted to toughen the licensing laws for new suppliers after a flurry of recent market entrants had quickly ceased trading. The new rules are likely to demand more financial resilience from suppliers but also higher standards of customer service; something which could have a knock-on effect in terms of background screening.

Employers in this sector are well advised to make their package of screening checks as comprehensive as possible. Energy supply businesses are dangerous places for unqualified or disreputable people to find employment. In addition to checks designed to provide reassurance over a candidate’s honesty and integrity, there are also a number of professional checks that should be undertaken, where appropriate for the role.  These include checks of the Energy and Utility Skills, Gas Safe and Street Works registers to ensure that candidate’s professional registrations are in order and a search of the Health and Safety Executive database for any relevant enforcement notices.

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 checksIdentity checks: To prevent employers falling victim to identity fraud, we can undertake electronic verification checks on ID 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.

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.

Energy and Utility Skills Register check: We'll check that a candidate is on the EUSR and will confirm any endorsements and enhanced reference information that also appears.

Gas Safe register check: We'll confirm whether a gas engineer appears on the Gas Safe Register and that they hold a current registration.

Health and Safety Executive database enforcement notice check: We'll check to see if a candidate appears on the HSE Public Register of Notice History, indicating that they have broken HSE laws.       

Street Works card check: We will check a candidate’s Street Works card by verifying that the name, date of birth and SWQR number are correct and confirming the card's expiry date.

Our clients in this industry include

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