Pre-employment checks


Once you have chosen who you want to employ, you may want to obtain references. References obtain information about an employee’s employment history, qualifications, experience and/or an assessment of their suitability for the role. Generally references would be from a current or former employer and when obtained should only ask for factual information about the candidate such as absence records, training undertaken and disciplinary records. A personal or character reference can also be asked for.

If you seek references, you need to ensure you obtain these as soon as possible, as if you are not happy with them you may wish to address this with your employee within any probationary (trial) period you included in the role. You can obtain references over the phone or via written request although if you obtain a telephone reference, it is recommended you obtain a written reference if possible too.

References are most frequently sought after an applicant has been sent an Initial Offer Letter, but can also be requested while interviews take place and prior to any offer being made. In any offer letter to a successful applicant, the employer should state this is a ‘provisional offer subject to satisfactory references and DBS Check being received by the organisation’. If an employee starts a job before the receipt of their references, the requirement to obtain satisfactory references may no longer be a condition of employment. The employee will then have the same rights in relation to wrongful dismissal (such as breach of contract), statutory dismissal procedures or any form of discrimination, as with any other employee.

DBS Checks (Formerly CRB)

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was created in 2002 to help employers make safer recruitment decisions when employing people to work with children or vulnerable adults. This is now known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Please view our factsheet ‘Guide to completing a DBS check’ for further information.

The right to work in the UK

The Asylum and Immigration Act (1996) makes it a criminal offence to employ a person without immigration authorisation to work in the UK. If an employer is found guilty of an offence under this Act, they can be fined for each offence. A photocopy of one of the following needs to be obtained before employment begins – Leeds CIL do this on employer’s behalf:

  • Passport showing British Citizenship
  • Passport or other travel document showing there is right of abode in the UK
  • A national passport or national identity card of a European Economic Area (EEA) Country or Switzerland;
  • A residence permit issued to a national from a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland;
  • A passport or other document issued by the Home Office with an endorsement stating right of residence in the UK as the family member of a national from a European Economic Area (EEA) county or Switzerland who is a resident in the UK;
  • A passport or other travel document endorsed to show that indefinite stay in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay;
  • A passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the employee can stay in the UK – and that this endorsement allows the holder to do the type of work you are offering if they do not have a work permit; or
  • An application registration card issued by the home office to an asylum seeker stating that they are permitted to take up employment.

You can find out more information, advice, or carry out a right to work in the UK check online at: Alternatively, you can call the Government helpline on 0300 123 4699.

If you require further information or would like this factsheet in an alternative format you can contact us by calling: 0113 2311125, by emailing: [email protected], or by writing to: Leeds Centre for Integrated Living, Cartelli House, 2 Arthur Street, Stanningley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 6JY.