Pre-employment Assessments Across The UK
Pre-employment Medical Assessment
About 5 -10% of all new employees will have some medical condition so having a pre-employment medical assessment performed on prospective employees makes sense. It helps you identify health problems early, and protect those with conditions which may be affected at work such as epilepsy, diabetes, back and musculoskeletal problems, asthma etc.
You will also protect yourself as, under the disability discrimination provisions of the Equality Act (formerly DDA), it is required that employers are aware of an employee's disability and make reasonable adjustments to their working environment or other aspects of their job. Our pre-employment medical assessments are designed to give employers the information they need to ensure that prospective employees meet their full working potential.
We provide pre-employment medical assessments across the United Kingdom.
While we only offer health assessments at HealthScreen Uk, we would like to discuss pre-employment assessments as they are used in their modern context in industry. It is our experience that the needs of pre-employment checks have changed over the last decade. In the course of pre-employment checks a number of factors may, individually or in combination, raise concerns about the integrity or reliability of the applicant.
These factors include:
- involvement in illegal activities;
- unspent criminal convictions relevant to the role, particularly if not volunteered by the applicant and only revealed by other checks
- false or unsubstantiated claims on the CV or application form;
- unsubstantiated qualifications;
- unexplained gaps in employment history;
- adverse references;
- questionable documentation e.g. lack of supporting paperwork or concern that documents are not genuine;
- evasiveness or unwillingness to provide information on the part of the candidate.
Other stages of the recruitment process also give opportunities to screen candidates. Interviews, in particular, will help to form an opinion of their character. Credit reports can provide assurance that there are no significant credit or debt problems that could place the individual in a vulnerable position. Checks, tests and interviews help the employer to assess the integrity and reliability of the candidate.
What happens during a Pre-Employment Medical Assessment?
Pre-employment assessments can vary from the use of a self-completed questionnaire to a full clinical examination by a physician. Pre-employment examinations involve an assessment of:
- 1) The applicant
- 2) The job It requires
The collection of detailed information on the health status of the individual and the occupational history. It may also include clinical measurement tests to identify abnormalities, which would provide a baseline at pre-employment and assessment of an individual’s fitness for a particular role. Fitness is then assessed against the hazards and demands associated with the job and their likely effects on the individual’s health.
At a pre-employment health assessment, the primary responsibility of the occupational health practitioner is to the employer. The UK Court of Appeal has ruled that the practitioner owes no duty of care to the applicant.
Although this ruling clarifies the legal situation, ethically the practitioner has a professional duty to act with due care and competence in undertaking a pre-employment health assessment.
The Purpose of Pre-employment Assessments
The purpose of Pre-employment health assessments are undertaken for the following reasons:
- to establish the personal, physical and psychological capability of the prospective employee to undertake the work offered
- to ensure that the prospective employee, if engaged will not constitute a health hazard to others
- to identify health problems that will require on-going advice and/or management
- to undertake baseline health surveillance data
to establish the fitness of an existing employee prior to a transfer of post where specific fitness to work criteria is required
Pre-employment checks can be used to confirm an applicant's identity, nationality and immigration status, and to verify their declared skills and employment history.
Organisations should be aware of BS7858:2012, the new version of the British Standard for the screening of individuals employed in a security environment, which comes into effect on 1 May 2013. The current version, BS7858:2006+A2:2009, will be withdrawn on 30 April 2013.
The new standard includes a number of changes to the screening process, including:
- more robust procedures on confirming the individual's identity;
- minimum of five years' employment confirmation is required to meet full security screening;
- requirement for executives/directors to accept the risk on financial checks for County Court Judgements in excess of £10,000, and bankruptcies;
- more robust procedures where career and history records are incomplete;
- the screening period goes back to the age of 16 if this date is more recent than the start of the 5 year screening period (currently age 12).
Organisations can use the new Standard now, but must adopt it by May 1 2013 to remain compliant. If organisations employ the services of a commercial screening company, they should also confirm compliancy and procedures with the screening company.
For further details, visit the BSi website.
Criminal records checks
On 29 May 2013 the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) began removing certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates issued from this date. This also refers to cautions and reprimands. For details of the filtering rules, plus a list of offences that will never be filtered, please see the DBS website.
Employing migrant workers
Employers should be aware of the points-based system (PBS) controlled by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). The PBS replaced over eighty existing routes to work and study in the UK for those outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The system consists of five tiers with the number of points required dependent on the tiers applied under. Points are awarded on ability, experience, age and, when appropriate, the level of economic need within the sector the migrant will be working in. Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the PBS are operational, whilst Tier 3 is currently suspended. Detailed guidance can be found on the UKBA website
The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP – formerly called the Identity Card for Foreign Nationals) was introduced in November 2008. From 1 December 2012, all migrants from outside the EEA and Switzerland granted permission to stay in the UK for more than six months is must apply for a BRP. This is to comply with EU regulations. Further information can be found on the UKBA website.
July 2013 – A consultation period has been launched as part of government plans to make it more difficult for illegal migrants to live and work in the UK, and to take tougher action against employers who employ illegal migrants. Further details can be found on the UKBA website (link: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2013/july/20-civil-penalties).
On 1 July 2013 Croatia joined the EU, and the procedures for employing Croatian nationals changed:
- For Croatian nationals wishing to work in the UK under Tires 2 and 5 of the Points Based System and are not exempt from requiring permission to work in the UK, the UK employer must hold a sponsor licence. Before commencing employment in the UK, the employer should assign a certificate of sponsorship to the Croatian national. When the certificate of sponsorship has been assigned, the Croatian national should apply for a purple Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate – also referred to as an accession worker authorisation document. The purple certificate is valid for 12 months, when the employee becomes exempt from registration, and they are then entitled to hold a blue certificate. This allows unrestricted access to the UK labour market.
Full details, including exemption criteria, can be found on the UKBA website