Checks when recruiting an interim worker

There are a number of checks when recruiting an interim worker:

1. The agency must ensure that both the client and the work seeker are aware of any legal or professional requirements before the work seeker can take up the position.
2. The agency must take all such steps which are reasonably practicable to ensure that the client and the work-seeker (and the person who would be supplied to do the work if the work-seeker is a limited company) are aware of any requirements imposed by law or a professional body for them to take up that position.
3. The agency must take steps to ensure that neither the work seeker nor the client will suffer a detriment
4. The agency must make all such enquiries as are reasonably practicable to ensure that it would not be detrimental to either the interests of the work-seeker or the client for that work seeker to work in that position e.g. health and safety or the personal security of the work-seeker etc.
5. The agency must obtain information about the work-seeker. (Conduct Regulation 19 requires the agency to obtain certain information about a work-seeker before introducing or supplying them to a client which includes:

(a) The identity of the work seeker: the agency must confirm the identity of the work-seeker, whether this is an individual or a limited company which will supply the individual.

MIDAS follow the REC legal guide on checking the identity of limited companies which is:

I. We can check an individual’s identity by viewing a passport, driving licence or long form birth certificate, a utility bill or other form of identification. However the expectation increasingly is that we will have seen some form of photographic ID. Generally speaking the best document for this will be a passport since this is also the first port of call when verifying whether an individual has right to work in the UK.
II. Where a work-seeker does not have a passport or photographic driving licence we can check some other form of ID documentation such as a long form birth certificate (not the short form). Importantly, a national insurance number or card is not by itself confirmation of identity or the right to work.

III. It is the agency obligation to confirm identity and we cannot absolve ourselves of this requirement by asking the client to obtain the identity check. (This applies to all agencies and employment businesses operating within the UK, irrespective of where the work-seeker is based).

IV. The Conduct Regulations does not require an employment business to meet any work-seeker face to face and so in theory, documents relating to a work-seeker’s identity can be faxed or emailed by the work-seeker to the employment business. However, from a practical perspective it is recommended that the agency always checks ID face to face (the Home Office also recommend this – alternative arrangements are in place because of COVID).

(b) Experience, training, qualifications and authorisation: The Conduct Regulations require that the work seeker (and the person who would be supplied to do the work if the work-seeker is a limited company) has the experience, training, qualifications and any authorisation considered necessary or required by law or a professional body to work in that position. Therefore the agency will ask to see relevant certificates and check up to date registration with relevant bodies such as the Law Society, General Medical Council, etc. depending on the work sector.

I. Right to work in the UK: This comes under “authorisations”. The agency must check that a work-seeker has the right to work in the UK before they supply him or her to the client. It would be a breach of immigration legislation to supply a work-seeker who does not have the right to work in the UK. The penalty for engaging an illegal worker is a fine of up to £20,000 or if the matter is dealt with at Crown Court an unlimited fine plus up to 2 years’ imprisonment.

II. The agency will take copies of the documentation they check and store them securely according to data protection.

(c) Willing to work in the position: The agency must confirm that the work seeker is willing to work in the position, which the client seeks to fill therefore, the agency will discuss the position with the work-seeker before putting his/ her details forward.

(d) Working with vulnerable persons: If the agency is introducing or supplying a work-seeker into a role in which they will care for or attend a vulnerable person, Conduct Regulation 22 requires checks in addition to (a) to (c) above, the agency must also:

I. obtain copies of any relevant qualifications or authorisation as may be required and offer to provide these to the client or take all reasonable steps to obtain such copies and notify the client that none are available;
II. obtain two references or take steps to obtain such references from persons not related to the work seeker (this need not be a current or former employer but could for example, be a bank manager or teacher/tutor) with consent to pass these on to the client or take all reasonable steps to obtain such references and inform the client that you were unable to obtain these references;
III. take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that the work-seeker is not unsuitable for the position.
IV. if the agency is not able to obtain the information set out at (a) to (c) above, they must notify the client.

(e) When are the checks carried out? It is advisable to obtain the above information and confirmations at the earliest possible stage in the recruitment process but where an agency is introducing candidates to the client for direct employment by them it may not be appropriate to carry out detailed checks until a suitable candidate has been identified – the agency will agree with the client what checks will be carried out when.