While the activities of the £55 billion telecoms sector are heavily regulated by Ofcom, there are no regulations directly relating to screening employees within the sector. Yet many of those employees will have access to valuable technology assets, intellectual property and sensitive data.  Ofcom does state that network and service providers must take appropriate measures to manage the risks which could compromise the security of telecommunications infrastructure. Although no explicit link is made to background screening, more providers are nevertheless screening employees, where appropriate, in line with BS7858 security screening; the British Standard for people working in a security related environment. 

For those telecommunications operators considered part of the critical national infrastructure, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) suggests something similar but goes further in providing guidance on a best practice approach to robust background screening.  Another motivation for robust screening relates to the effort the industry is making to combat the amount of fraud perpetrated globally across its networks. The current cost is estimated at $17bn per year, with the proceeds often thought to fund organised crime and terrorist networks. The strategic value to such groups of a well-placed, compromised employee is clear to see. A more routine concern stems from how some providers will handle large amounts of credit card transactions. This means that relevant employees should be screened in line with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) regulations (see our Retail page for more information), which are designed to improve the security of card payments, protect sensitive cardholder data and reduce card fraud.  

The industry also employs a significant number of field workers. These employees may spend a large amount of their time in customers’ houses, so employers should be seeking assurances that these people are exactly who (or what) they claim to be. In addition, the use of contractors is widespread across the industry, as employers look to plug the skills gaps within their existing workforces. All these factors – and the risks they expose employers to - point to the need for comprehensive background screening checks.

see our Retail Industry coverage for more information

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 checksTo 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 watchlistsWe’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 checksWe’ll check with Companies House to determine whether a candidate is (or ever was) the director or company secretary of a UK-registered company. We’ll also check with the register of disqualified directors to establish whether the individual has ever been struck off previously.

Social media checks: An increasingly popular – and relevant – check for employers keen to understand whether an individual’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 an individual’s employment 

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