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HR Policy
To Be Categorised
HR Team Leader/ Recruitment Officer
HR Policy Group
Director of Workforce, Employee Director
01 May 2017
01 January 0001
01 June 2018

General Note

NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy/procedure statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.

New policies/procedures will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies/procedures will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy/procedure is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy/procedure review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.


1.1 NHS Fife has a responsibility to ensure the safe and effective provision of healthcare services to the people of Fife and the neighbouring areas.

1.2 It is therefore crucial that we ensure that those working within their organisations:

  • Possess the essential knowledge, skills and other attributes required to undertake their roles;
  • Are legally permitted to undertake such roles; and
  • Are of sound character to undertake such roles.

1.3 In order to achieve this, it is essential to ensure that the necessary checks are undertaken to the required standard.

1.4 Failure to do so can result in the following:

  • Risks to organisational performance;
  • Risks to staff morale;
  • Increased costs;
  • Risks to the health, safety, and even the lives, of staff, patients or service users; and
  • Risks of prosecution.


2.1 This Policy applies in the case of all applicants for paid work within NHS Fife, as well as to those subsequently engaged in such work. It applies to those engaged directly in paid work (whether on a permanent, fixed-term, annualised hours or bank / as and when basis) by NHS Fife, as well as to those engaged indirectly in paid work via another originating organisation (i.e. those undertaking work on a secondment basis from other NHS Boards, on behalf of other external organisations, or via locum arrangements).

2.2 However, it additionally applies to applicants for and those subsequently engaged in other forms of unpaid placement within NHS Fife, such as volunteers, students on placement, individuals undertaking work experience and individuals with honorary contracts.

2.3 This Policy will not apply in relation to the checks required when adding General Medical Practitioners to an NHS Board’s Performer List (details of which are set out within the National Health Service (Primary Medical Services Performers Lists) (Scotland) Regulations 2004). However, it does apply in relation to circumstances in which Boards engage such individuals directly in paid work.

2.4 Recognising that NHS Fife may participate in the process of selecting individuals for entry onto foundation or speciality medical training programmes, this Policy does not cover the checks which are undertaken as part of that process (details of the checking requirements involved as part of this selection process are available from NHS National Education for Scotland). However, a subsequent allocation offer for a training programme is not an offer of employment, which can only be made by NHS Fife having separately satisfied itself that the individual concerned meets the requirements of employability, by undertaking the relevant checks as set out within these standards. Such checks must be undertaken in full – both upon commencement of the training programme and thereafter during the programme in circumstances involving a move to a new employing Board.

2.5 Appendix 10 sets out the broad applicability of each type of check which requires to be carried out before an individual commences employment or placement in relation to different roles. However, it must be recognised that the level and degree of pre and post placement checks will vary according to the nature of the specific role concerned, being proportionate to the level of risk or opportunity to cause harm or damage (including harm or damage to organisational reputation) which exists.


The responsibility for the application of the policy rests with Line Managers and HR staff within NHS Fife.


4.1 While specific pieces of legislation are referred to within the main body of this Policy, they are not an exhaustive list. If further information is needed in response to specific circumstances this should be sought from the HR Department. In addition, the following sources of further guidance on applicable legislation may be helpful:

Equality Act
Disclosure Scotland
Equality & Human Rights Commission
Health & Safety Executive
UK Border Agency


5.1 NHS Fife is responsible for ensuring that satisfactory recruitment and selection processes are followed and satisfactory checks are undertaken for those working within or on behalf of our organisation, irrespective of their employment status.

NHS Fife will ensure that:

  • Local policies, agreed in partnership, to support this Recruitment & Selection Policy will meet or exceed the minimum provisions contained within the Safer Pre and Post Employment Checks in NHS Scotland PIN Policy;
  • Responsibility for undertaking relevant checks, and for undertaking any resulting decision-making, are clearly assigned and communicated to those with such responsibilities, and that those with such responsibilities are appropriately trained in order to undertake their respective roles effectively;
  • Where such checks are necessarily and appropriately delegated to another organisation, relevant accountable officers are identified within NHS Fife who will be responsible for ensuring that an agreement is fully implemented in order that such checks are carried out to the satisfaction of this Recruitment Policy;
  • Mechanisms are in place to support implementation of local policies, including (but not limited to) ensuring timely and appropriate referral to other organisations and ongoing professional registration of staff; and
  • Local policies are subject to ongoing monitoring in order to assess whether they are being fairly and consistently applied, and that the stated principles and values are being met; and that they are subject to regular review, in partnership, to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.

Managers will ensure that:

  • Those applying for employment or other work placement, and those already so engaged within NHS Fife, are aware of their obligations under local policies;
  • They are aware of and fulfill their responsibilities under local policies in relation to undertaking relevant checks, resulting decisions and record keeping, including compliance with the stated principles and values; and
  • They seek further advice from HR and/or NHS Fife Staff Wellbeing & Safety, as appropriate, where concerns arise as a result of those checks.

While ultimate decision-making and accountability for the same, in relation to the outcome of relevant checks rests with management, it is recognised that HR functions within Boards may undertake some of the checks on behalf of managers.

HR will:

  • Undertake relevant checks on behalf of management, as set out within this Recruitment Policy and associated Policies;
  • In partnership, develop and deliver training to key stakeholders on their responsibilities under this Recruitment Policy; and
  • Provide advice to managers, where sought, to ensure compliance with this Recruitment and Selection Policy, current legislation and local/national policies.

Applicants for paid work or other forms of unpaid placement will:

  • Ensure that when requested they provide full, accurate and timeous information to NHS Fife, or other originating organisation to which responsibility for relevant checks has been delegated.

Those subsequently engaging in paid work or other forms of unpaid placement will ensure that:

  • They maintain professional registration where this is a requirement of the role;
  • They adhere to their individual duty of care and do not act in any way which might endanger themselves or those around them (this includes a duty to report any concerns that they may have been exposed to a serious communicable disease
  • They make NHS Fife (or other originating organisation) aware, following appointment, where they are charged with or convicted of a criminal offence; and
  • In the case of employees of NHS Fife, that they comply with local policy provisions and working time regulations with regard to the undertaking of secondary work activity, at all times ensuring that they fulfill their contractual obligations

Trade unions/professional organisations will:

  • Ensure that local policies are implemented which have been agreed in partnership and which meet or exceed the minimum provisions contained within the Recruitment and Selection PIN Policy;
  • Support their members, ensuring that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities under this Policy and other relevant policies; and
  • In partnership with the organisation, participate in ongoing monitoring and regular review of this Policy and associated local policies, to ensure that they are being fairly and consistently applied, that the stated principles and values are being met, and that such local policies remain fit for purpose.

Staff Wellbeing & Safety will:

  • Provide independent expert advice to inform the pre-placement health clearance decision-making process, advising on whether the roles for which individuals are being considered are suitable and safe for them to undertake, and on any reasonable adjustments which should be considered in order to enable them to undertake such roles (in order that the organisation can comply with its legal obligations in this regard). Their role is advisory in nature, with ultimate decision making responsibility for appointments resting with managers.


6.1 The following underlying principles and values are crucial to the fair, consistent and effective implementation of this Policy:

  • Individuals must not be engaged in paid work or other unpaid placement within NHS Fife until all necessary checks have been carried out to the satisfaction of the organisation;
  • The level and degree of checks carried out (both prior to and following placement) must be proportionate to the level of risk or opportunity to cause harm or damage (including harm or damage to organisational reputation) which exists in relation to the specific role to be undertaken;
  • Such checks must be carried out thoroughly and consistently, and in a timely manner;
  • While the outcome of such checks may mean that an individual absolutely cannot be engaged (or continue to be engaged) in paid work or other unpaid placement, engagement must not otherwise be unreasonably refused;
  • Any decisions as a result of such checks must be made objectively and without bias, and be based on the balance of risk, and the overriding need to ensure the safe and effective provision of healthcare services to the people of Fife; and
  • In all cases, the process of undertaking checks and any resulting decisions must comply with both current legislation and national policy.


7.1 Best Practice and Legislative Requirements

Wherever possible employees should be encouraged to provide written notice of their intention to resign from post whether they are moving internally to a different post, leaving NHS Fife for alternative opportunities or retiring. This resignation should provide contractual notice when identifying the final date of employment. In cases where an individual is retiring and plans to access pension contributions via the Scottish Public Pension Agency a minimum of 4 months notice is required to ensure the pension will be payable.

If there is concern that the resignation is an emotional response to a particular work place event or social situation then consideration should be given to a suitable cooling off period. This could be allowing the individual a few days to consider further.

Where the individual has decided to leave employment and has provided the appropriate notice period, an assessment should be made of the range of IT systems, privileges, equipment and identifications they posses. Arrangements should be made for these to be ceased / returned at the appropriate time.

Consideration should also be given to the contractual obligations post employment relating to confidentiality and where appropriate intellectual property.

7.2 Exit Interview

An attempt should be made to obtain feedback from all employees leaving the organisation. This can provide useful information to assist with the development of existing posts.

During the exit interview managers should discuss with the employee their reasons for leaving and invite suggestions as to how the post could be improved. By considering this information the post and/or the operation of the department may be enhanced.

An Exit Interview Questionnaire can be found(Appendix 2)

7.3 Payroll Notification

Managers should complete a Notification of Termination Form as timeously as possible taking into account payroll cut off dates and outstanding or overtaken annual leave.

If the employee is transferring to another department within NHS Fife a Notification of Change Form should be raised.

7.4 Previous NHS Fife Employees Returning to Employment

Pre-employment checks will not be required for previous NHS Fife employees returning to employment to the same role if they are returning within 2 months of terminating their employment or retiring.


8.1 Consideration of requirement to fill vacancy

When a vacancy arises due to a resignation from an existing post the opportunity should be taken to assess if the vacancy should be recruited to, reassess the duties of the post and decide if the same knowledge, skills, qualifications and abilities are required.

Before any arrangements to recruit are made it is essential to consider the funding stream for the vacancy. The process will differ depending upon this criteria as detailed on the recruitment authorisation flow chart.

New posts from a funding perspective relates to new monies that a department has secured to deliver a new or enhanced service. In such cases approval is required via the Executive Directors Group (EDG) or Senior Leadership Team (SLT) prior to the post being advertised.

New Posts from a job evaluation perspective relate to jobs which are not currently performed within your department or service. In such cases it will be required to establish the banding of the post. Reference should be made to the HR Policy document: “Evaluation of New Agenda for Change (AfC) Posts or Banding Review of Existing Post Subject to Significant Change”.

8.2 Defining the Requirements of the Post

In establishing the requirements of the post you will require a job description, person specification (Appendix 3) and KSF outlines. Reference should be made to the previous documentation, the exit interview feedback and current needs of the service in reviewing these documents to ensure they are fit for purpose.

8.3 Vacancy Authorisation

Managers are required to complete a Vacancy Management Form (VMF)(R1) (For all Acute Services Division and Corporate Directorate posts) (Appendix 4) or form R1a (for all Health and Social Care Partnership posts) (Appendix 5a) as soon as possible. The VMF must be submitted with the documentation as detailed within the Defining the Requirements of the post section.

The Vacancy Management Form must be authorised by the relevant authorised signatures. For replacement posts of skill mix within the same financial envelope the R1 or R1A Form should be completed. For new posts within the Health and Social Care Partnership the R1B (Appendix 5b)is also required.

8.4 Redeployment

Once approved, all posts require to be considered by the Redeployment Group to explore whether the post may be suitable alternative employment for individuals on the Redeployment Register, in accordance with the NHS Fife Redeployment Policy and Procedure.


9.1 Writing Advert

To ensure equality of opportunity all posts should be advertised unless there are valid reasons for not doing so such as redeployment or reorganisation.

The purpose of the advert (Appendix 7a and 7b) is to ensure that you are attracting as many suitable candidates as possible. A good advert will concisely describe the values of the service, the aims of the role(s) and the qualities of the successful applicant(s) to fulfil the role(s).

In addition to describing the values, aims and qualities the advert should also include information on the shift patterns and on call commitments. A contact name and telephone number should be provided for a person who is available for informal enquiries for the duration of the advert. The minimum advert duration will normally be two weeks unless otherwise agreed.

Details of any selection test can also be included in the application pack. Recruiting Managers are responsible for providing the recruitment team with this information. It is also important when indicating interview dates that you carefully consider the recruitment timescales.

9.2 Advertising Publications

All vacancies are placed in NHS Fife’s weekly vacancy bulletin which is circulated through dispatches. Vacancies are placed on the SHOW website, Jobcentre Plus, NHS Fife Intranet and NHS Fife external website. These media are extremely cost effective methods of advertising.

It may be appropriate to advertise certain vacancies within an external publication. If you want to make such a request it must be made on the Vacancy Management Form with justification/reason for the additional expense incurred. This will be given due consideration. Costs will be met by the Directorate/Department concerned.

Where managers are processing authorisation to a vacancy they know will be hard to fill they can contact the Recruitment Team in advance to discuss an appropriate recruitment strategy. This will allow for exploration of different options prior to paperwork being completed and received by the Recruitment Team.

All vacancy advertising should be processed through the Recruitment Team who will process any external advertising through the contracted Advertising Agency. You will not be contacted directly by any approved advertising agencies and if this is the case you should not respond directly and liaise with HR.

9.3 Job Packs

As a minimum job packs will include the following:

  • The standard application form including the equal opportunities monitoring
  • Guidance notes
  • Statement of main terms and conditions
  • Job Description
  • Person Specification

If you feel you require additional literature within the job pack including promotional materials and specific arrangements for selection e.g. presentations/psychometric testing or assessment centres these should be discussed with the recruitment team.


10.1 Best practice and legislative requirements

Shortlisting is the process whereby you identify the applicants who should be called to interview. This assessment is carried out by using objective and legal criteria as outlined in your person specification. In the first instance this assessment should be made against the essential criteria detailed in the person specification sent to applicants as part of the job pack, moving onto the desirable criteria where this is necessary.

NHS Fife takes part in the Disability Confident scheme as part of our wider equality, diversity and human rights commitment. This means where an applicant believes they have a disability or long term health condition which falls within the Equality Act 2010, and indicates they wish to participate in the scheme, they are guaranteed an interview where they meet the essential criteria for a post. Before finalising the shortlisting you are required to ensure this has been fully considered.

Home Office Regulations on the employment of Non EU Nationals requires individual employers to demonstrate that positions cannot be filled by applicants from member EU States. In practice this means, applicants who are not automatically entitled to work in NHS Fife will be omitted from the initial shortlisting process. Where a manager has not been able to identify a suitable applicant consideration could be given to applicants from outwith the EU. Advice should be sought from the HR Department in these instances.

Shortlisting is required to be undertaken on the basis of fair and legal criteria, NHS Fife is required to demonstrate that recruitment and selection decisions are free from any bias or discrimination. This is related to the protected characteristics detailed within the Equality Act 2010 and other related legislation. For this reason, personal identifiable information and equal opportunity responses are withheld during the recruitment process.

10.2 Paperwork / Electronic Requirements

In evidencing fair and legal rational in shortlisting decisions you are required to complete the shortlisting form (Appendix 8a, 8b and 8c) included within your shortlisting pack.

The Recruitment Team will forward a shortlisting pack within 3 working days of closing date for clinical posts and 7 working days for non clinical posts.

It is your responsibility to return completed shortlisting and interview details as timeously as possible and within 5 working days for clinical roles and 10 working days for non-clinical roles.


11.1 Paperwork requirements

The Recruitment Team will issue invite to interview letters to candidates no later than 10 working days prior to the interview date. Included in the letters will be interview details, panel members and details of any presentation or assessment they will be required to undertake.

The Recruitment Team will send Interview Panel Packs to the Chair of the panel no later than 5 working days prior to interview date. The chair of the panel is responsible for distributing panel packs to other panel members.

11.2 Best practice and legislative requirements

The interview (Appendix 9a and 9b) should follow a structured and consistent format and care should be taken to avoid questions that may indicate an intention to discriminate, even if discrimination is not intended. All candidates should be assessed against the requirements of the person specification and the job description only. A competency based approach to interview and assessment takes into account a candidates experience, knowledge and skills which in turn can help predict how they will perform in the future.

Any other tools used as part of the process, such as selection tests or practical exercises, must have been previously validated to show that they predict performance. All methods of assessments must have the ability to be fairly and equally applied to all candidates. For further advice regarding acceptable and effective tests please contact the HR department. The selection process should be well documented with any selection decisions being supported by clear, non-discriminatory rationales.

The appointment of the interview panel is the responsibility of the recruiting manager and must be consistent throughout the process. The composition of an interview panel will be determined according to the nature of the post being filled, but will comprise of no less than two members of which one must be the immediate line manager. The panel should meet to agree the questions and structure of the interview in advance of the interview.

The most senior member of the panel will normally act as chair. This person must be trained in all the procedures relating to Recruitment. NHS Fife run Recruitment and Selection Training Courses and bookings can be made through the Training Department. It is good practice to undertake refresher training every 2 years.

Assessors will normally be used for relevant senior posts in accordance with national guidelines. The role of Assessor is to advise the Selection Panel on the technical/professional suitability of the candidate.

Each panel member should complete an Interview Selection Form (Appendix 9a) for each candidate. Individual ratings and reasons for decisions made should be recorded on this form and should be signed as a record of the interview. These forms will be returned to recruitment with all other documentation and will be kept on file in accordance with the Data Protection Act. They may form important evidence in defence of any subsequent allegation of discrimination.

In keeping with best practice reasonable costs of mileage or transport at public rate will be paid to candidates attending interview provided they do not unreasonably refuse an offer of employment. Expenses are only paid at point of entry into the UK. The decision to refuse payment is at the discretion of the recruiting manager in light of individual circumstances. Relocation expenses will be paid to the successful candidate in line with NHS Fife’s Relocation Expenses Policy where the recruiting manager has determined that this applies.

11.3 Verification of ID

It is vital that the identity of an individual is reliably verified before they are engaged in work. For this purpose the Chair of the interview panel is required to complete the Manager’s Declaration Forms– ID checklist which will be included in the panel pack. The chair must complete the Manager’s Declaration – ID Checks (Appendix 11a, 11b and 11c) to confirm that the evidence has been checked. The Chair of the interview panel must also sign and date each photocopied document to confirm they have seen the original. Without this the recruitment team are unable to progress appointment paperwork. The paperwork must be completed in full including the individual’s nationality, eligibility to work and record of passport, birth certificate, National Insurance Number and driving licence number where applicable.

Verification of identity checks are designed to:

  • Determine that the identity is genuine and relates to a real person; and
  • Establish that the individual owns and is rightfully using that identity.
  • Individuals will need to provide either of these two combinations:
  • Two forms of photographic personal identification and one document confirming their address; or
  • One form of photographic personal identification, a birth certificate and one document confirming their address.

If an individual seems genuinely unable to provide any acceptable photographic personal identification, then each of the following should be requested from different sources:

  • Two forms of non-photographic personal identification;
  • Two documents confirming their address; and
  • A passport-sized photograph of themselves*
  • All documents provided must be valid, current and original.

Where copies of originals are provided, these must be certified by a solicitor. Documents downloaded from the internet must not be accepted.

Where identity documents are provided in a foreign language, an independently verified translation must be obtained.

You are required to check the validity of the document(s) and be satisfied that the individual is the person named in the documents presented. A face-to-face meeting is therefore an essential part of the verification process in order to match the individual with their photographic ID.

Documents should not be checked in isolation, instead being cross-referenced with other information supplied, to check an individual’s:

  • Full name – forenames and last name;
  • Signature;
  • Date of birth; and
  • Full permanent address.

In order to prove the identity of the individual, photographs must be endorsed by someone who works in (or is retired from) a recognised profession or be a person of good standing in their community. They must have known the person concerned for at least two years and they must be in a position to be able to identify them.

11.4 Verification of Entitlement to Work in the UK

Satisfactory checks must be undertaken to verify an individual’s entitlement to work in the UK before they are engaged directly in paid work within NHS Fife.

Some people are automatically entitled to work in the UK. Others may have restrictions on how long they can stay, whether they can work or the type of work they can do. Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, all employers in the UK have a responsibility to prevent illegal migrant working (Appendix 12).

You cannot assume that someone is British because you think that they appear to be nor assume that someone from an ethnic minority is an immigrant and therefore you must carry out checks in all cases to avoid racial discrimination.

You are required to check the validity of the document(s) and be satisfied that the individual is the person named in the documents presented, that they have the necessary leave to enter (or remain) in the UK and that they are permitted to do (or continue to do) the work in question. You must make it clear to individuals that any relevant documents will be checked for authenticity.

Further guidance on how to prevent illegal working, including permissible documents you should contact the HR Department. When checking entitlement to work in the UK, you suspect that a false document, or a genuine document that does not belong to the holder, the matter should be reported to the Human Resources Department who will be able to advise further.

If a prospective worker is not a British Citizen, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national (settled workers), they will be subject to the points-based system in that they must pass a points assessment before they can get permission to enter or remain in the UK (although it should be noted that there are some restrictions upon individuals from countries which have recently joined the EEA). Under the points-based system, points are awarded to reflect the migrant’s ability, experience and age – and, when appropriate, the level of need in the migrant’s chosen industry. However, it should be noted that any individual who holds a current visa under the old immigration rules (e.g. a Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP) visa or work permit) will not have to change their status until they wish to extend their stay.

Migrants under Tier 2 of the points-based system (for skilled workers with a job offer) must be sponsored before they can apply to the UK Border Agency for permission to enter or remain in the UK. If NHS Fife wants to sponsor a migrant under Tier 2, they must apply to the UK Border Agency for a sponsor licence.

NHS Fife can only bring someone into the UK under Tier 2 if the job is on the shortage occupation list or if they pass a resident labour market test. If an occupation is on the shortage occupation list, it means there are not enough resident workers to fill the available jobs in that particular occupation. If a migrant comes to the UK under Tier 2 to do skilled work that is on the shortage occupation list, they will get all the points they need to apply (except the points for English language and maintenance).

Further information, including the current shortage occupation list, resident labour market test and Tier 2 Codes of Practice, can be obtained from the Human Resources Department.

11.5 Recruitment and Employment of Healthcare Professionals from Developing Countries

NHS Scotland has a code of practice in place for the recruitment and employment of healthcare professionals from developing countries (Appendix 13).

11.6 ID Paperwork Requirements

Copies of documents provided to satisfy checks on identity and on eligibility to work in the UK must be made in a format which cannot be subsequently altered, and signed and dated by the person taking the copy to show it has been certified. The copies of the documents should be kept securely for the duration of the individual’s employment and for a further two years after employment has ceased.

In the case of a passport or other travel document, the following parts must be photocopied or scanned:

  • The document’s front cover and any page containing the holder’s personal details;
  • Any page that provides details of nationality, their photograph, date of birth, signature, date of expiry or biometric details; and
  • Any page containing UK Government endorsements, noting the date of expiry and any relevant UK immigration endorsement which allows the prospective or current employee to do the type of work being offered.

Other documents should be copied in their entirety.

11.7 Qualifications

For all posts for which a specific qualification is a requirement, evidence of the necessary qualifications should be verified. Even if relevant statutory regulatory bodies check qualifications as part the registration process, we must still separately verify an individual’s qualifications.

Individuals may not always have the original documentation and you need to use appropriate discretion and take proportionate action. The level of checks carried out should be proportionate to the level of risk to the individual role and the priority given in the person specification to the qualification, or the opportunity to cause harm or damage, in that position.

You are required to check the validity of the document(s) and be satisfied that the prospective employee is the person named in the documents presented. You must make it clear to individuals that any relevant documents will be checked for authenticity.

Individuals who do not possess the required qualifications (provided the requirement for such qualifications can be objectively justified) must not be offered employment.

Individuals who are required to drive in order to carry out the normal duties of a post must hold a licence valid within the UK covering the appropriate classes of vehicle. Where the individual uses their own vehicle in the course of their employment, they must ensure that their insurance policy covers them for business use, and you must seek confirmation that this is the case.

11.8 Language Competence

Most roles within NHS Fife will involve a requirement for individuals to possess a certain level of verbal and/or written communication skills, and as such may require that they have a particular level of proficiency in the English language.

That said, stipulation of a language requirement for a role may be indirectly discriminatory unless it is necessary for the satisfactory performance of that role. Where this is the case, such requirement should be detailed within the essential criteria of corresponding person specifications.

You must seek assurance that individuals meet such essential criteria, irrespective of their actual or perceived background.

Where an individual is registered with a statutory regulatory body and a Board assesses an individual as being unsuitable for a role (including UK nationals), due to poor communications skills (including, but not limited to, English language competence), consideration should be given to referring the matter back to the statutory regulatory body

Individuals who have trained and qualified outside the European Economic Area (EEA) must satisfy UK statutory regulatory bodies of their knowledge of English in order to become professionally registered.

However, EEA nationals (including Swiss nationals and individuals with an EC right) are exempt from any routine assessment of language competency before registration. While statutory regulatory bodies are not currently able to assess language competency of EEA nationals for the purposes of registration, European legislation also states that migrants should ‘have a knowledge of languages necessary for practising the profession in the host member state’ and therefore Boards are legally entitled to and indeed have a duty to assure themselves that any potential worker has the necessary communication skills required to safely and effectively undertake the relevant role.

There are a number of ways an applicant could meet and evidence an English language requirement:

  • They may be a national of a majority English speaking country or have worked in an organisation/institution where English was the primary language used for communication;
  • They may have pursued part of their education in the UK;
  • They may hold a degree or relevant educational qualification that was taught in English by a recognised institution abroad;
  • They may have lived in a multi-lingual household in which a relative or a carer used English as their primary form of communication; or
  • They may have or be required to pass an English language competency test.

A proportionate approach should be adopted depending on the extent of communication skills (including English language competence) required. Only where an individual is not otherwise able to demonstrate competence in English and where there exists a doubt about their ability to communicate clearly with patients or colleagues (for example where English is not their first language), should English language testing be considered. It should not be used systematically in the case of all EEA applicants.

It is recommended that where it is necessary to undertake a test of English language competence, such a test should be chosen from amongst those already used by statutory regulatory bodies in the case of non-EEA nationals, and as a minimum apply the same competence levels required in the case of each profession as appropriate.


12.1 NHS Fife will ensure that an unconditional offer of employment (or agreement to engage in the case of applicants for other forms of work) is not made until all relevant checks have been undertaken to the satisfaction of the organisation.

NHS Fife will ensure compliance with its responsibilities as set out within the Embracing Equality, Diversity and Human Rights PIN Policy, in relation to both the undertaking of relevant checks and the subsequent decision-making process.

The approach to be followed in terms of concerns arising as a result of specific checks is detailed within the relevant sections which follow. However, in general terms, while the outcome of such checks may mean that an individual absolutely cannot be engaged in employment or other work placement, they may equally give rise to issues where the Board must make a decision as to whether or not they may be engaged.

In such cases, employment (or engagement in other work placement) should not be unreasonably refused, but rather a decision must be made based on the balance of risk (in all such cases seeking HR advice before reaching such a decision).

Where it has been identified that an individual has intentionally failed to provide accurate and truthful information, or has withheld information that is relevant to their placement, NHS Fife will not progress such applications further.

Where such discovery is made following employment, this will be considered as a disciplinary matter and be managed in line with the Management of Employee Conduct Policy. In the case of individuals engaged in other work placements which do not entail employment with NHS Fife, consideration will be given to ending the placement as a result of such a discovery.

In exceptional circumstances, where checks reveal substantial misdirection, it may be appropriate for an authorised person to report concerns to other bodies (such as the Police, UK Border Agency, statutory regulatory bodies, Disclosure Scotland or NHS Fife Counter Fraud Services).

12.2 Notification of Interview Outcome

It is good practice to provide the opportunity for post-interview feedback for both successful and unsuccessful candidates. Feedback should be honest, constructive and positive and candidates should be thanked for the interest they have shown in NHS Fife. The discussion might include any of the following:

  • Completion of application
  • Response to questions
  • Presentation technique
  • Perceived preparation for interview
  • Questions asked by candidate
  • Advice on future applications

Feedback is a two-way process and it is important to ask the candidate’s views on the recruitment process and the interview. Information gathered should be fed back to the Recruitment Team and/or interviewers. The Preferred Candidates Information should be provided to the Recruitment Team (Appendix 14).


13.1 NHS Fife is responsible for ensuring that satisfactory pre placement checks (Appendix 1) are undertaken for those working within or on behalf of their organisations.

There may, however, be circumstances in which such checks are delegated to another organisation from which such individuals originate (e.g. a supplier of temporary agency staff or an educational establishment). However, in such cases, NHS Fife will satisfy ourselves that the appropriate checks, as outlined in this Policy, have been undertaken, by way of regular audit and monitoring processes.

In such cases an agreement should be in place between all parties which sets out:

  • Who will undertake the required checks;
  • That such checks must be undertaken satisfactorily in line with the provisions set out within this Policy;
  • The process to be followed where the party undertaking the checks is notified of a change in an individual’s circumstances;
  • Action which may be undertaken should there be a failure to undertake such checks satisfactorily; and
  • The right of NHS Fife to audit and monitor the other party in respect of delegated checks.

13.2 Where an existing employee is the preferred candidate for a post that is in the same job family and there are no changes to Disclosure Scotland and/or Occupational Health requirements all that is required is a reference from the current line manager. Where the post is from a different job family, guidance should be sought from the recruitment team.

13.2 Verification of ID and entitlement to work in the UK

Please see section 11.3 and 11.4

13.3 Criminal Convictions

Where it is identified that an individual has failed to disclose unspent (and where appropriate, spent) criminal convictions, they should not be offered employment.

In the case of regulated work, NHS Fife has the right to ask about vetting information. Therefore, where a Scheme Record Update reveals that vetting information exists and where the individual refuses, without good reason, to provide their copy of the last Scheme Record or consent for us to seek an upgrade to a new Scheme Record (where there has been a change to vetting information since the last Scheme Record), they should not be offered employment.

Where an individual is barred from undertaking regulated work, they must not be offered employment in regulated work of the type from which they are barred. If the Board is aware that an individual is seeking to do regulated work with them from which that individual is barred, the Board should contact the police.

With the exception of the above in relation to regulated work, and while some offences (e.g. those involving violence) might raise serious questions about a person’s suitability, criminal convictions (where declared as required) should not automatically prevent employment being offered. A risk assessment (Appendix 10) should be undertaken by Human Resources, considering the following:

  • The nature and number of offence(s);
  • How long ago the offence(s) was committed;
  • Whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since the offence(s) was committed;
  • The impact of the offence(s) on the post applied for; and
  • Any explanation offered by the individual with regard to the offence.

Where necessary the risk assessment is referred to a panel for a decision on whether to appoint the individual, in accordance with NHS Fife policy on the use of Disclosures, Rehabilitation of Offenders and protection from working with vulnerable groups. All contracts of employment for staff should include a requirement that they must disclose any criminal conviction or caution incurred since their appointment.

Disclosure Scotland cannot access criminal records held overseas (only having access to overseas conviction information if details have been sent to UK authorities and recorded on a UK criminal record system) and therefore a Disclosure Scotland or PVG check in such circumstances may not provide a complete picture of an individual’s criminal record. That said, where such a check is required for a post, it must still be undertaken, even if an applicant claims never to have lived in the UK before.

Therefore, in circumstances where a Disclosure Scotland or PVG check is required for a post, and where applicants are from overseas or have lived and worked outside the UK for more than 12 consecutive months in the preceding five years, criminal record checks should additionally be undertaken in line with the relevant country’s justice system.

In the event that the country of origin is unable to provide criminal record status then it is the responsibility of NHS Fife to carry out the necessary risk assessment on the available information provided to determine whether the prospective employee is employable. The risk assessment should be undertaken by a senior HR Manager and a Senior Manager from the recruiting department.

However, it should be recognised that, where meaningful background checks cannot be carried out and sufficient assurance cannot be gained by other means, it might not be possible to employ the individual. This may in no way reflect on their honesty and integrity, but simply reflect that the required background checks in the country(s) of residence prior to arriving in the UK were not possible.

For Further information please refer to NHS Fife’s Disclosure Policy or contact the HR Department

13.4 Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG)

Disclosure Scotland delivers Scottish Ministers’ functions under Part V of the Police Act 1997 and under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.

In addition to any necessary declaration on the application form, depending on the type of work, applicants may be required to provide evidence of Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (“PVG Scheme”) membership (under the 2007 Act) or be subject to a Disclosure Scotland check (under the 1997 Act) in order that NHS Fife can make safer recruitment decisions and, in the case of PVG, ensure that individuals can safely continue to undertake a particular type of regulated work.

Each role should be reviewed individually to identify which Act it falls under as per NHS Fife Disclosure Policy. Applicants for all applicable posts must be informed of any such requirement. It should also be noted that a requirement to undertake such checks is not limited to paid work, and will instead be dependent upon the nature of the proposed role.

For further information please contact the HR Department or refer to NHS Fife Disclosure policy.

13.5 References

Referencesserve two purposes:

  • They allow organisations to check the accuracy of an individual’s previous employment and training history; and
  • They provide assurance of an individual’s qualifications, integrity and track record.

Previous employment/training history must be checked and satisfactory references (Appendix 15) provided before an unconditional offer of employment is made. You should ensure that individuals are made aware of this requirement. Information obtained through references should not, for example, be used for the purposes of shortlisting, instead only being used to confirm a recruitment decision. Therefore references will only be sought after an individual has been advised that they are the preferred candidate for a particular role.

Where satisfactory references cannot be provided as required, or references are unsatisfactory, a risk assessment should be undertaken by the Recruitment Co-ordinator or a Senior HR Manager within the Human Resources Department, considering whether, based on the post in question, to offer employment.

Gaps in employment/training must be explained and verification sought. While in most cases there will be a simple explanation, it may equally be the case that the individual was out of the country, and potentially therefore requires an overseas criminal record check, or it may mask a period of imprisonment as a result of a criminal conviction.

References and application forms should be cross-checked as part of this process.

We should check at least three years of previous employment/training history. Any gaps will need to be carefully explored with the applicant. Ideally we should aim to check a period which covers two separate employers (where possible), one of which should be from the applicant’s current or most recent employer. Where an individual has been with one employer for three years or more, one reference may be sufficient.

References must always be obtained in writing, be signed and dated by the referee, and include the referee’s name, position, and company contact details, although it may be necessary to telephone referees to clarify information. Electronic references may be accepted providing the reference is from a bona fide company email address and contains an electronic signature.

You are required to check that referees are bona fide and references are genuine.

At the interview it is advised to check the period of time the referees have known the candidate and where possible obtain email addresses to contact referees. This will speed up the recruitment process.

Depending on the individual’s circumstances, and proportionate to the role concerned, other types of references may be required.

Where an individual has been overseas for a single spell of three months or more, or a cumulative total of six months or more, every effort should be made to obtain a relevant reference from overseas.

The following documentation can be requested as an assurance of time spent overseas:

  • Proof of residence for time spent abroad;
  • Overseas employer or academic references; or
  • References from UK departments and agencies based overseas (for example, the Foreign and CommonwealthOffice (FCO), missions, British Council, non-government departments and agencies).

Where employer references are not available, two personal references should be obtained from referees of some standing in the community who have known the individual for at least three years (for instance a doctor, lawyer or MP). Family members are not acceptable referees.

Where an individual has been in full-time education in the last three years, a reference should be obtained from the relevant academic institution.

Where an individual has served in the Armed Forces or Civil Service during the previous three years, employer’s references should be obtained from the relevant service or department.

Where an individual has been self-employed, evidence should be obtained (for example, from HM Revenue & Customs, bankers, accountants, solicitors, client references, etc.) to confirm that the individual’s business was properly conducted and that the applicant’s involvement in the business was terminated satisfactorily.

Where there is a gap in an individual’s employment/training history it will be necessary to obtain verification of whatever explanation is given.

13.6 Health Clearance

Health clearance refers to the process by which individuals commencing work/placement are cleared to meet the demands of the role in terms of functional fitness and protection of individuals and patients in relation to communicable diseases. Pre-placement health clearance enables NHS Fife to ensure that individuals are physically and psychologically capable of performing the tasks that will be required of them without risk to themselves or others.

The level of health clearance undertaken will depend upon the nature of work/placement to be carried out. However, in all cases, pre-placement health clearance is required to have been satisfactorily completed in advance of an individual commencing paid work or other form of unpaid placement within NHS Fife, with the exception of individuals on work experience. Where it is proposed that an individual changes role within NHS Fife further health clearance is only required where the new role will involve a significant change of duties/work environment or there has been a significant change in the health status of the individual.

The pre-placement health clearance process (Appendix 16a) will comprise some of the following:

  • Confirmation of the individual’s fitness for the work/placement proposed; and
  • Confirmation of whether or not the individual has been cleared to the required level for the role to a standard that protects both the patient and individual in terms of communicable disease.

Individuals will be asked to complete a health questionnaire which will be used to inform the clearance process. They must not be asked to provide this information until after a conditional offer of work/placement has been made, in order to comply with the Equality Act 2010.

The recruiting manager will provide Occupational Health with details of the functional requirements of the proposed role (Appendix 16b), including psychological requirements. Occupational Health will then review the completed questionnaire. This will result in the person being declared fit to standard clearance level or advanced clearance level if the role involves Exposure Prone Procedures (EPPs). EPPs are those procedures where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in exposure of a patient’s open tissues to the blood of the worker. Occupational Health will advise on any support or adjustments that the individual would require in order to undertake the work/placement proposed.

13.7 Professional Registration

Professional registration is intended to protect the public, making sure that those who practice a health profession are doing so safely. For all posts for which registration with a specific statutory regulatory body (Appendix 17) is a requirement, evidence of professional registration must be verified prior to placement. In the case of medical staff, evidence must also be sought that individuals hold a licence to practice.

Evidence of registration must be obtained by directly contacting the statutory regulatory body to ensure ongoing registration. HR will do the initial check prior to appointment and the department undertakes regular checks thereafter. Boards must ask the relevant body to specify whether:

  • The individual is appropriately registered;
  • The registration covers the proposed role;
  • The registration is subject to any current restrictions; and
  • The individual is the subject of any fitness to practice investigations which the regulatory body has a duty to disclose.

Not every statutory regulatory body discloses fitness to practice proceedings openly or online. In addition, some statutory regulatory bodies do not make changes to the registrant’s details until proceedings are complete and a sanction or warning has been applied. It is therefore not sufficient simply to consult the statutory regulatory body’s website to confirm fitness to practice information.

Individuals who are not on the appropriate professional register, where this is a requirement for the post, must not be engaged in work.


NHS Fife will record the outcome of any pre and post placement checks in a secure and consistent way, either on paper or electronically, in order to provide an internal audit trail where necessary.

Such records will be held according to the Data Protection Act 1998, being treated confidentially and circulated only to those entitled to access, either as part of the pre and post placement check process or otherwise following the granting of permission from the individual to whom such records pertain.

Such records must also be held according to the Scottish Government Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland) Version 2.1 (January 2012). The Code sets out how long records obtained during the recruitment process can and should be retained, and in relation to both successful and unsuccessful applicants for work.

Copies of documents provided to satisfy checks on identity and on eligibility to work in the UK will be made in a format which cannot be subsequently altered, and signed and dated by the person taking the copy to show it has been certified. The copies of the documents should be kept securely for the duration of the individual’s employment and for a further two years after employment has ceased. In the case of a passport or other travel document, the following parts must be photocopied or scanned:

  • The document’s front cover and any page containing the holder’s personal details;
  • Any page that provides details of nationality, their photograph, date of birth, signature, date of expiry or biometric details; and
  • Any page containing UK Government endorsements, noting the date of expiry and any relevant UK immigration endorsement which allows the prospective or current employee to do the type of work being offered.

Other documents will be copied in their entirety.

Information obtained in relation to criminal record checks will be held according to the Code of Practice in connection with the use of disclosure information and with the functions of registered persons (Scottish Government) (2011 Edition).

Once a decision has been made as to whether or not to appoint, such information should be kept only for as long as it is required for the purpose for which it was obtained. For roles requiring a Disclosure Scotland check (under the 1997 Act), this will be 90 days after the date on which recruitment or other relevant decisions have been taken (allowing for the resolution of any disputes or complaints). For roles requiring ongoing evidence of PVG Scheme membership (under the 2007 Act), this will be the date an individual ceases to do regulated work for this organisation. During this period, such information should not be retained in an individual’s personnel file, instead being kept securely in lockable, non-portable storage containers with access strictly controlled and limited to persons who need to have access to this information in the course of their duties.

This information must only be used for the specific purpose for which it was requested and with the full consent of the individual concerned. Section 124 of the 1997 Act and Section 66 of the 2007 Act make it clear that it is a criminal offence to share a disclosure certificate or record, or the information on it, with any individual who is not entitled to receive it. However, if an individual freely gives their consent to the sharing of this information, then an offence has not been committed. Once the applicable retention period has elapsed, this information must be destroyed by secure means.

Similarly, information obtained as part of the pre placement health clearance process will not be retained in an individual’s personnel file, instead forming part of an individual’s Occupational Health record and being stored separately in a secure place within NHS Fife Staff Wellbeing and Safety.


15.1 Secondary Work Activity

It is recognised that individuals are legally entitled to engage in other work activities, whether paid or unpaid, secondary to their employment within NHS Fife.

However, NHS Fife must be satisfied that such secondary work activities do not:

  • Present an actual or potential conflict of interest;
  • Have health and safety implications for the employee, their colleagues or patients/service users;
  • Have an adverse impact on their ability to maintain a satisfactory level of attendance at work; or
  • Have an adverse impact on their ability to perform to the required standard of their role.

Employees have a personal responsibility to advise of any secondary work activity which they undertake (or intend to undertake) and any subsequent changes to the same. They must additionally ensure that they:

  • Make their line manager aware as soon as possible of any potential conflicts of interest;
  • Sign an opt out, where they intend that their total average weekly working hours across all work activity may exceed the limit set out within the Working TimeRegulations 1998, and local NHS Board policy allows;
  • Do not present a health and safety risk to themselves or others (particularly ensuring that they achieve the minimum daily and weekly rest periods, and statutory annual leave entitlement, as set out within the Working Time Regulations 1998); and
  • Do not allow any secondary work activity to otherwise impact on their ability to maintain a satisfactory level of attendance at work or to maintain required performance standards

15.2 Renewal of Registration

Suitability for employment and standards of practice for many groups of health care professionals are regulated by means of maintenance of professional registers. Individual members of each profession must satisfy specified requirements with regard to qualifications and experience in order to be admitted to the relevant register, and are liable to removal from the register for failing to maintain appropriate standards in the exercise of their professional duties.

Although practitioners have a personal responsibility to maintain their registration, the only sure method to verify registration of new, or existing, employees is to use the appropriate council’s confirmation service. Registration can usually be checked by telephone or via the internet.

NHS Fife must ensure mechanisms are in place to ensure that statutory regulatory bodies are promptly informed, as appropriate, where concerns arise which suggest that an individual’s fitness to practice may be impaired.

It should be a condition of employment contracts that healthcare professionals have the necessary registration throughout their employment in a post for which registration with a specific statutory regulatory body is a requirement. While the duty to maintain registration rests with the healthcare professional, NHS Fife must ensure that mechanisms are in place to check the ongoing registration of staff and thereby prevent the risk of staff whose registration has lapsed, been lost or suspended continuing to practise in a role which requires such professional registration.

Where an individual’s registration has lapsed or been lost, NHS Fife must not permit that individual to continue to operate in a role which requires such registration. However, in these instances non-registered work can be offered if available. NHS Fife is under no obligation to provide work or pay in circumstances where an individual is in breach of their contract of employment as a result of their non- registration. This is also the case in circumstances where an individual’s registration has been suspended by way of a sanction imposed by the relevant statutory regulatory body. In all such cases, Boards must ensure a consistent approach is adopted.

However, where registration is suspended by the relevant statutory regulatory body as a holding measure whilst an investigation is underway into an individual (but where the individual continues to be employed by the Board), suspension from work (where it is identified that this is required) should be on full pay as per Boards’ local policies developed in line with the Management of EmployeeConduct PIN Policy.

In circumstances where it is identified that an individual’s registration has lapsed, the matter may additionally require to be investigated under Boards’ policies developed in line with the Management of Employee Conduct PINPolicy, where concerns exist that the lapse is as a result of a deliberate failure of the individual to maintain their registration.

Where associated misconduct/capability issues relating to a subsequent loss or suspension (by way of sanction) of professional registration have not resulted in dismissal from an organisation, that subsequent loss/suspension may mean that an employee is unable to meet the terms of their contract. In such cases, the matter should be progressed in line with the NHS Fife Management of Employee Conduct Policy, again recognising that any hearing should consider whether, in such circumstances, there are any alternatives to dismissal, given that any resulting dismissal will still be subject to the test of reasonableness.

15.3 Payroll Documentation

Payroll documentation must be raised at the earliest opportunity to ensure employees are paid correctly and on time. Staff Engagement and Notification of change forms are held within Departments / Directorate Offices.

15.4 Start Dates

Start dates are confirmed upon completion of all required pre employment checks. Start dates are subject to notice periods and in some instances availability of Induction. Start dates must not be agreed until all required satisfactory pre-employment checks are in place.

Start dates must be confirmed with the Recruitment Team at the earliest opportunity.

15.5 Training Requirements

The induction of the employee into the organisation is essential as it marks the beginning of the formal relationship between the employer and employee.

A structured and positive induction programme will:

  • Help the employee settle into their new environment;
  • Help employees understand their responsibilities; and
  • Ensure that the organisation receives the benefit of a well trained and motivated employee as quickly as possible.

All new employees are required to attend a Corporate Induction Day which should be booked through the training department. Additional induction requirements are also in place for Nursing and Midwifery Staff and AHP’s.

Local induction of the new employee remains the responsibility of the line manager to ensure flexibility, ownership and focus on the specific needs of the individual. The induction should normally be work place based and take place in short, concentrated bouts of activity – say 2 hours at a time – interspersed with work activities.

This staggering of the induction process avoids the pitfalls of information overload and enables the new member of staff to learn and retain the necessary information.

The use of an induction checklist to ensure all essential topics are covered is strongly recommended, as is the setting of reviews to check that learning has taken place.

The Training Department are available to offer assistance as required.


The policy will be reviewed every three years to ensure compliance with relevant and appropriate employment legislation


HR5 NHS Fife Policy on the Use of Fixed Term Contracts
HR8 NHS Fife Equal Opportunities Policy
HR16 Redeployment, Policy and Procedure
HR28 NHS Fife Policy on the use of Disclosures, Rehabilitation of Offenders and
protection from working with vulnerable groups
HR37 NHS Fife Professional Registration Policy
HR41 NHS Fife Equality Diversity and Human Rights Policy
HR44 NHS Fife Working Time Regulations
NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook
Redeployment PIN Policy


Safer Pre and Post Employment Checks in NHS Scotland PIN Policy


Appendix 1 Pre Placement Checks
Appendix 2 Exit Interview Form
Appendix 3 AFC Guidance to prepare a Job Description
Appendix 4 Vacancy Management Form (R1a)
Appendix 5 Vacancy Management Form (R1b)
Appendix 6A Recruitment Authorisation Flowchart
Appendix 6B H&SC Recruitment Process
Appendix 6C Corporate New Post Process
Appendix 7A Advert Details Form
Appendix 7B How to Write a Successful Advert
Appendix 8A Shortlisting Form
Appendix 8B Interview Details Form
Appendix 8C Selecting Candidates for Interview
Appendix 9A Interview Selection Form
Appendix 9B Interview Guidance
Appendix 10 Risk Scoring Assessment for Disclosure Purposes
Appendix 11A Managers Declaration
Appendix 11B List of acceptable documentation for verification
Appendix 11C Guidance on checking identity
Appendix 12 Prevention of Illegal Working
Appendix 13 Briefing and guidance on international recruitment code of practice
Appendix 14 Preferred Candidates Information
Appendix 15 Reference Form
Appendix 16A Staff Wellbeing and Safety pre-employment screening process
Appendix 16B Staff Wellbeing & Safety Employment Information Form
Appendix 17 List of Regulatory Bodies

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