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Who are you employing?

The expense of filling vacancies in your workforce, along with the increasingly significant consequences of a flawed recruitment decisions, means that accurate supporting information on prospective employees is more important than ever.

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The expense of filling vacancies in your workforce, along with the increasingly significant consequences of a flawed recruitment decisions, means that accurate supporting information on prospective employees is more important than ever. Are you aware that ... As of February 2008, you as an employer need to ensure that all your employees are eligible to work in the UK? 65% of applicants lie on their CV? Identity fraud is an increasingly common occurrence? Last year 172,511 people with criminal records applied to work with children or vulnerable adults? The outcome of employing the wrong person can be catastrophic for a business. For example, an employer who hires an illegal worker without carrying out all the necessary checks will be liable to a civil penalty (a requirement to pay money that can be imposed for an offence without the need for a court conviction) of up to £10,000 for each person who they illegally employ. Not only can this be very expensive for a company but could also lead to a custodial sentence. The UK Border Agency website makes interesting reading as it lists those employers against whom notices of liability have been issued and civil penalties imposed for the use of illegal migrant workers. They range from restaurants and supermarkets to hairdressers and garages, and in one case the amount of £85,000 is imposed against a company! It was recently reported that two companies in Leicestershire could face fines of up to £120,000 after illegal immigrants were caught working there. A spokesman for Sanjri Mouldings said, "Obviously I had no idea the three people were illegal workers and I did not expect the raid". Then there is the case of Baroness Scotland, which you may remember. It appears that while she had taken the correct steps to check her housekeeper's right to work, the legal chief had not kept a copy of the documents, as required by the law. But it's not only illegal workers who can cause problems for a company ... The Risk Advisory Group (TRAG) say that many of the CV discrepancies they uncover are simple errors of omission, but that around one in ten are more serious, such as failure to disclose criminal convictions, fraud against previous employers or even terrorist links. He warned employers to be alert to resume and CV lies and far be more rigorous in checking out new potential employees. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is also urging firms to make tighter checks before employing staff as often people involved in organised crime apply for jobs in the finance sector so that they can commit fraud. Fraudsters steal individuals' identities and use this to acquire money, goods and services. Therefore it is important to carry out thorough pre-employment checks as standard as part of your recruitment process. As a minimum you should: Check an applicant's right to work in the UK Verify their employment history Verify their academic qualifications Ensure they have fulfilled any necessary checks for jobs working with children and vulnerable adults (i.e. Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check) Carry out a driving licence check, if driving is required as part of the job. So, who can you turn to for help? Members of the Forum of Private Business can access our member helpline for expert HR and employment law advice, including how to carry out pre-employment checks. Plus, if you don't already, subscribe to our Practical Employer package. It includes access to the annually-updated Employment Guide, plus access to dozens of customisable templates and the support of our helpline. About the author This content was provided by our partners at Qdos Consulting Ltd.

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