Local Authorities

Unlike many of their counterparts in central government, employees working for local authorities are not subject to any mandatory Pre-employment screening. Local authorities are not formally required to adhere to the Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS), no equivalent sector-wide standard exists for them and the localised screening policy that are in place can vary significantly from one authority to the next.  

Although not compelled to, best practice suggests that local authorities align themselves to BPSS anyway. With public finances currently under such stress and scrutiny, local authorities are more aware than ever of the danger (and potential financial cost) of dishonest, rogue employees within their workforce. A framework such as BPSS not only provides excellent practical guidance on Pre-employment screening, it also helps reassure local authority employers as to their employees’ trustworthiness, integrity and reliability. 

Current checks across the sector may do little more than verify an individual’s right to work in the UK. Although important, this fails to expose candidates who may have lied about their qualifications, work experience, driving license status (important for those in charge of a local authority vehicle) or even their lack of a criminal record, for example. For every local authority that does screen with these factors in mind, there will likely be several others that do not. It is these authorities whose vacancies will be targeted by dishonest candidates.

For those local authorities who do put together more comprehensive screening packages, risk assessments should be conducted to set the screening requirements for different roles. Gauging this on seniority alone may not be sufficient. Thinking about this from a fraud perspective for example, a senior finance employee may actually have less scope for wrong-doing than a care worker with access to someone’s benefit book. Background screening should therefore always be tailored, if possible, to the job, not the grade.

Further information is covered on our Public Sector Page.

 


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.
 
Cifas internal fraud database search: We’ll check to see whether a candidate appears on the Cifas database of employees known to have committed fraud in the workplace.

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. 
 
Directorship checks: We'll check to establish whether a candidate holds any company directorships and whether or not they are disqualified from being a director.

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.