Employment References Policy Version v2 Committee Approved by Workforce Services Group Joint Consultative Committee Date Appro

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Employment References Policy Version v2 Committee Approved by Workforce Services Group Joint Consultative Committee Date Appro Powered By Docstoc
					      Employment References Policy

Version:                   v2

Committee Approved by:     Workforce Services Group, Joint Consultative

Date Approved:             9 June 2009

Author:                    Head of Workforce Services

Responsible Directorate:   Corporate Services

Date issued:               23 June 2011

Review date:               30 September 2011
                              Version Control Sheet

Document Title: Employment References Policy

Version:           v2

The table below logs the history of the steps in development of the document.
See example below

 Version    Date        Author          Status      Comment
 0.1        28/05/09    Janine          Draft       For comment
                        HR Advisor
 0.1        8 June      Janine          Draft       Joint Consultative Committee -
            2009        Heptinstall,                for approval - approved
                        HR Advisor
 0.1        9 June      Janine          Draft       Workforce Services Group for
            2009        Heptinstall,                approval
                        HR Advisor
 1          9 June      Janine          Final       Workforce Services Group -
            2009        Heptinstall,                approved
                        HR Advisor
 2          23 June                     Final       Joint Consultative Committee
            2011                                    meeting agreed to extend
                                                    review date to 30 September
                                                    2011 to accommodate
                                                    organisational change/cluster

Standards for Better Health Map

NHSLA Risk Management Standards Map

Performance Indicators

Section                                                  Page

1     Introduction                                        1

2     Aims and Objectives                                 1

3     Scope of the Policy                                 1

4     Accountability                                      1

5     Equality Impact Assessment                          1

6     Implementation and Dissemination                    1

7     Monitoring Compliance with and the Effectiveness    1
      of Procedural Documents

8     Reference                                           2

9     Associated Documentation                            2

10    Obtaining References                                2

11    Providing References                                2


Appendix 1   Equality Impact Assessment tool              5
1       Introduction

        As a large employer, NHS Wakefield District has a duty to provide work
        references for its former employees.

2       Aims and Objectives

        This policy aims to provide guidance to managers on providing employment
        references to third parties and to highlight the responsibilities, and legal
        liabilities, that may arise when providing references for existing or former
        employees. This guidance incorporates best practice, current legislative
        framework and case law.

3       Scope of the Policy

        This policy applies to all Staff employed by NHS Wakefield District.

4       Accountability

        The Director of Corporate Services is responsible for this policy.

        The Workforce Services Group is responsible for monitoring compliance
        with this policy.

        The Workforce Services Group is responsible for formal approval of this

5       Equality Impact Assessment

        NHS Wakefield District aims to design and implement services, policies
        and measures that meet the diverse needs of our service users,
        population and workforce, ensuring that none are placed at a
        disadvantage over others.

        NHS Wakefield District uses a single equality impact assessment for all of
        its policies and procedures. The Equality Impact Assessment for this
        policy is included at Appendix 1.

6       Implementation and Dissemination

        This policy will, following ratification by the Governance Committee, be
        disseminated to staff via the organisation’s intranet.

7       Monitoring Compliance with and the Effectiveness of Procedural


8       Reference

        Access to Medical Reports Act 1988
        Data Protection Act 1988
        Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (and any amendments)
        Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (and any amendments)
Employment References Policy             4
        Race Relations Act 1976 (and any amendments)
        Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (and any amendments)
        HSC 1998/212
        The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977
        The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

9       Associated Documentation

        Recuitment and Selection Policy.
        Ending Employment Policy.

10      Obtaining References

10.1    The purpose of requesting a reference is to obtain, in confidence, factual
        information about the past history of an applicant, as well as opinions
        regarding his or her character, quality of work, the amount of sickness
        absence and suitability for the new position.

10.2    All references requested by the PCT are taken in confidence and as such
        any request to see references in line with the Data Protection Act may be
        exempt from disclosure and managers should refer the individual back to
        their referees to make the request.

        For further details on obtaining references see the PCT’s Recruitment and
        Selection Policy.

11      Providing References

        There is no detailed legislation specifically designed to deal with
        references for all employees. However many other laws impact on the
        provision of references. An employer is not legally obliged to provide a
        reference for a former or existing employee. NHS Wakefield District will
        always provide a reference for former or existing employees.

11.1    Key legal considerations when providing a reference

11.1.1 Negligence

        A claim of negligence could arise where there has been a failure to
        exercise reasonable care in the preparation of a reference. For example if
        this results in loss of the reference.

11.1.2 Defamation

        If a reference contains false or unsubstantiated statements that damage
        the reputation of the individual a claim for damages may result.

11.1.3 Disclosure of Convictions

        Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 an applicant is not obliged
        to give information regarding any previous convictions that have become
        ‘spent’ (further information on whether convictions are ‘spent’ can be
        sought from the Workforce Services Department). It is an offence under

Employment References Policy             5
        this law for anyone to disclose information about spent convictions unless
        officially authorised.

11.1.4 Discrimination/Victimisation/Whistleblowing

        It is illegal to give a poor reference because of an employee’s (or former
        employee’s) race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability or age. It is
        also illegal to give a poor reference on the basis that somebody made a
        complaint of discrimination or made a protected disclosure
        (whistleblowing); these could allow the individual to bring a claim against
        their former/current employer.

11.1.5 Access to Medical Reports

        The Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 does not allow “medical
        practitioners” to provide “medical reports” without prior permission for an
        individual who they currently, or have previously been, clinically
        responsible for. In certain circumstances this could impact on the provision
        of references for employment purposes.

11.2    Guidelines for writing references

        If you receive a request to provide a reference then you should:

             Ensure that the reference is marked as confidential.

             Make clear your relationship to the person you are providing a
              reference for (e.g. line manager, clinical tutor, placement supervisor

             Ensure that the reference is true, accurate and complete.

             Ensure that any statements made can be backed-up with evidence.

             Avoid making disclosure about any criminal convictions.

             Do not mention ‘spent’ disciplinary sanctions (speak to HR for further
              advice if unsure).

             Do not mention ‘unproven’ disciplinary matters (i.e. where it was
              found there was no case to answer or current investigations). If you
              are unclear on this, please contact the Workforce Services

             Do not provide information about medical conditions but you may
              state number and length of absences (just not reasons for absence).

             If you are asked to provide a reference for a member of staff who
              has been dismissed, please ensure that you complete this in
              conjunction with the Workforce Services Department.

Employment References Policy              6
        You should only provide a reference for a person that you have had
        responsibility for (e.g. line management responsibility, clinical
        supervisory responsibility etc).

        If you need further advice or wish to discuss the content of a reference
        before releasing it then speak to the HR team.

Employment References Policy             7
                                                                        Appendix 1

Equality Impact Assessment

WDPCT has an Equality Impact Assessment Toolkit which should be used, with
the completed proforma enclosed when any procedural document is submitted to
the appropriate committee for consideration and approval.

An initial assessment using the proforma below should be undertaken.

If the initial assessment demonstrates an adverse impact on differing groups, a full
impact assessment must be undertaken using the toolkit.

For further assistance and guidance refer to the Equality Impact Assessment
Toolkit and/or contact the Equality and Diversity Manager.

Employment References Policy             8
Proforma for initial assessment/screening of functions, policies, and procedures

Directorate/service            Department                                       Person responsible for the assessment

Corporate Services             Workforce Services                               Mark White

Name of function/policy/       Date of assessment
procedure                                                                        New policy/function/procedure       x    (please tick)

Employment References          3rd June 2009                                    Existing policy/function/procedure
1 Who are the main             List:
  stakeholders intended        All staff
  to benefit from the
2 How will each stake          List for each stakeholder:
  holder benefit? (what
  are the aims?)               Ensures that the organisation provides a fair, balanced and correct reference for current and former

3 What forces/factors
  could contribute/            None
  detract from the

Employment References Policy                                     9
4 Are there concerns that      State   Is there any evidence for this?   Score likely risk
  the function/policy/         yes                                       of impact using
  procedure could have a       or no                                     grading table
  differential impact on -                                               (see pg 14)

Ethnic groups                  No                                        1

Faith group                    No                                        1

Disability                     No                                        1

a) physical (including

                               No                                        1
b) mental

                               No                                        1
c) learning disability

Employment References Policy                                  10
Sexual orientation             No         1

Age                             No        1

Gender (including marital      No         1

Socio-economic group            No        1
e.g. homeless

Human Rights                   No         1

Employment References Policy         11
                                       Risk Assessment Grading Tool

                                   GRADING TABLE
             Risk Assessment    Circle consequence,           SCORE
                             likelihood and total score
                                    e.g. 2 x 3 = 6
                                 LIKELIHOOD/PROBABILITY OF REPEAT
                INCIDENT       None/ Possibl Likely     Highly    Certain
             CONSEQUENCES Remote e 20%             60%   Likely
                                        chance chance    90%
                                 1         2        3               5
             1        Insignificant        1          2           3          4           5
             2        Minor                2          4           6          8          10
             3        Significant          3          6           9         12          15
             4        Serious              4          8          12         16          20
             5        Catastrophic         5          10         15         20          25

       Green         (score 5 or less)    Low risk         Low priority    Prioritise for action
       Amber         (score 6 to 15)      Medium           Medium          Prioritise for action
                                          risk             priority               medium priority
       Red       (score 16 to 25)         High risk        High priority          high priority
                                                                           Reported through the
       Or any incident recorded                                            risk register. 16+ score
       as Catastrophic                                                     senior management
       regardless of the                                                   consider informing the
       likelihood/probability of                                           board

Classifications of Impact

       Measures of impact

            Level        Descriptor       Example detail description
                 1       Insignificant    No perceived impact
                                          May have a minor impact on a few or all people
                 2          Minor
                                          from this diverse group
                                          Will have a significant impact on a few or all
                 3       Significant
                                          people from this diverse group
                                          Will have serious consequences on a few or all
                 4         Serious
                                          people from this diverse group
                                          Could cause death and/or result in major litigation
                 5      Catastrophic
                                          and/or create significant press interest

Employment References Policy                          12
       Measures of likelihood

            Level     Descriptor     Example detail description
                                     The impact may only happen in exceptional
              1      None/Remote
                     Possible 20%
              2                      The impact could occur at some time
                      Likely 60%
              3                      The impact may well occur at some time
                     Highly Likely
              4                      The impact will occur in most circumstances
                     90% chance
                                     The impact is expected to occur in most
              5     Almost Certain

Employment References Policy                   13

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