The transportation sector is incredibly broad, encompassing air freight, airlines, road, rail and marine businesses. As such, there is no single set of regulations regarding background screening that applies to every part of the sector. Instead, there are different pieces of guidance for many of the transportation sub-sectors that employers need to be aware of.  Of those sub-sectors, aviation is by far the most heavily regulated (see our aviation page for more details), with employers bound by the requirements of the Department for Transport (DfT), the Civil Aviation Authority and the EU Aviation Safety Agency. Details of the background screening standards they insist on are so closely protected that they cannot even be published, on grounds of national security. 

Elsewhere, drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are included in the list of professions eligible for an Enhanced criminal record
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. However, local licensing authorities are only recommended to apply the Enhanced check, rather than obliged to do so. Prompted by the spate of attacks perpetrated by black cab driver, John Worboys, a consultation was launched in February 2019, recommending that such checks now become compulsory.  Somewhat confusingly, not all bus or train drivers are eligible for an Enhanced check, although bus drivers are legally required to have one if their employer holds a school transportation contract. Despite transporting children all the time, train drivers are not treated in the same way.  Amidst the clamour for more compulsory criminal records checks in this sector, it’s worth remembering that DBS checks will only highlight criminal activity in this country. With a high proportion of overseas workers in the sector, separate criminal records checks for the other countries in which candidates have worked may soon become a consideration for employers and licensing authorities.

Clearly, checking that an individual has an appropriate license for the vehicle they are in charge of is also a fundamental part of background screening in this sector. The onus here is firmly on the employer to ensure that employees are suitably licensed and insured and not subject to any bans or restrictions. Failure to do this could see a negligent employer prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 should their driver be involved in an incident.

Given the nature of their work, some employers will want to run health checks as part of their background screening. This is permissible so long as those checks relate to a legal requirement (e.g. the eyesight of a commercial vehicle driver) or are needed to secure insurance cover for the employee.  Employers going down this route must ensure that such checks do not discriminate (e.g. by targeting certain demographics but not others) or discourage people from applying for a job. Employers can be prosecuted for discriminating against a candidate because of a health problem or disability that does not stop them from doing the job.

See our aviation Industry coverage for more details

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Our clients in this industry include

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