Pre-employment screening: Purpose, Scope and Further Advice


The purpose of pre-employment checks is to ensure that a new employee:

  • is who they say they are;
  • is legally entitled to work in the UK;
  • has the qualifications, skills and/or experience they have claimed to have and which are required for the role;
  • has nothing in their employment history that would make them unsuitable for the role. For example, previous gross misconduct, or an unspent criminal conviction (or barring decision) relevant to the post, which may make them unsuitable for the post;
  • does not have a medical or other condition which would make the role unsuitable for the individual. For example, some roles involve exposure to substances to which an individual may be allergic, or have specific physical requirements such as working at height, or climbing stairs which may be impossible for certain individuals.


The provisions outlined in this guidance apply to all employees of the University.

Right-to-work checks apply to all individuals who undertake work (paid or unpaid) for the University in the UK. In addition, the following points should be considered when engaging non-employees:

Temporary Agency workers

Where temporary workers are employed through an agency, the agency must confirm that their pre-employment screening covers the same checks as those used by the University. The University does not hold the legal responsibility for the verification of any pre-employment checks of agency workers, but should consider what level of assurance they are able to get from the agency that all the necessary checks take place.

NB The University's Temporary Staffing Service (TSS) carry out all the necessary checks.


Business, academic and ‘permitted paid engagement’ visitors must hold an appropriate visa that entitles them to undertake the required activities at the University. Other pre-employment checks do not normally apply to visitors, but departments should authenticate the identity and status of the individual as far as is practicable.


Volunteers are subject to immigration provisions, and their immigration status must permit them to volunteer. Criminal record (and barred lists) checks will apply where this is a role-related requirement. See also the policy on volunteering.

Casual workers

Casual workers will normally be subject to standard compulsory pre-employment checks. Role-related checks may also apply.

General considerations

All candidates should be treated equally, irrespective of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marital status or civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, or whether they are pregnant or on maternity leave (see Equality Act 2010). Any screening must be transparent, proportionate and carried out in compliance with the GDPR and related UK data protection legislation. When conducting pre-employment screening exercises, recruiting managers should also consider that any information recorded and gathered by the department about the individual may be disclosed to them under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further advice