Hertfordshire County Council Safe Staffing Policy - Appendix 4
Amended October 2009
Safeguarding and Foreign Nationals
Safeguarding and UK Citizens who have lived or worked overseas.
The following document highlights for appointing managers and head
teachers what the HCC and legislative requirements are when recruiting
either UK citizens who have lived overseas or are recruiting non UK citizens
into a post that requires an enhanced CRB disclosure.
The document explains the limitations of overseas checks and how one can
obtain certificates of good conduct/repute along with information regarding the
Asylum and Immigration Act. Reference is made to what guidance is
1. HCC’s policy with regards to safeguarding and foreign nationals and
safeguarding and UK citizens who have lived or worked overseas.
For foreign nationals or for UK citizens who have worked (including studying)
or lived overseas the following safeguards will apply
1. If the person has lived or worked (including studying) in a country for a
period of 6 months or more, a ‘Certificate of Good Repute/letter of
Good Conduct’ from the embassy of that country/countries should be
sought. This may not always be provided but managers and heads
must be able to demonstrate that an attempt was made to obtain one.
Focus particularly on the last 5 years
2. In addition, a CRB Disclosure must be sought with appointing officers
being aware that information will generally not show offences that the
individual committed whilst abroad.
3. Appointing Officers should use a risk assessment process, including
CRB checks, to sign off certificates of good conduct and any time gaps.
4. All other pre-recruitment checks must be sought taking extra care in
taking up references and carrying out other background checks.
Appointing officers should pay particular attention to the ‘Recruitment
and Selection Safeguarding checklist’ for non schools and for schools
the DCSF requirements in the Safeguarding Children and Safer
Recruitment in Education document and the NCSL safeguarding
training found at www.ncsl.org.uk
Appendix 4 1
2. The National position
The CRB cannot currently access overseas criminal records or other relevant
information as part of its Disclosure service. If HCC is recruiting people from
overseas and wish to check their overseas criminal record, a CRB Disclosure
may not provide a complete picture of their criminal record that may or may
The UK does receive some conviction details of crimes committed by UK
citizens whilst overseas but coverage is patchy. For foreign workers there
may be no alternative but to request a Certificate of Good Conduct/Good
Repute, or something similar from the country of origin in addition to requiring
a CRB Disclosure.
Work to date on information sharing
The CRB itself has made contact with each country within the EU at the end
of 2006 to try to begin negotiations for information sharing. Of those, only 8
replied and only one said yes. However, there is an EU Directive that
requires each member nation to establish an identified central office for
information sharing but work will be slow.
The Home office is hoping to sign a reciprocal agreement with Australia, New
Zealand and Canada very soon but is a long way off sharing data with other
Sometimes information can be entered onto the Police National Computer
from other sources such as Interpol or UKCA, this is especially so if the
applicant is a British National residing overseas countries. (October 2008)
Why is it so difficult and why should we be wary of information/lack of
information on a Certificate of Good Conduct/Good repute?
There are a multitude of issues such as data protection, political willingness
and different cultures e.g. the age of consent in a number of EU countries is
less than 16.
3. How to obtain a Certificate of good conduct/good repute
1. The applicant should request a ‘Certificate of Good Repute/Letter of Good
Conduct’ from the home embassy of that country. By obtaining this certificate
through the home embassy it provides the ability to authenticate the
document. It should also reduce the need and cost to undertake any potential
translation requirements. There is a charge which can vary according to the
country and the applicant should cover this charge.
2. Although the CRB provides an Overseas Information Service not all
countries provide this information. For some countries there is a faxback
service, which provides employers with details of criminal record information.
Appendix 4 2
The CRB is not involved in the processing of applications made by individuals
to overseas authorities and therefore will not be responsible for the contents
or the length of time taken for information to be returned.
Further information about the overseas information Service can be obtained
by telephoning the CRB enquiry line on 08700 00 450.
4. Employing migrant workers
It is a criminal offence under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act
1996 to employ someone subject to immigration control aged over 16 who
does not have leave to be in the UK or undertake the work in question.
A statutory defense from conviction under section 8 can be obtained by
seeing, copying and retaining the copy of certain specific documents at the
point of recruitment which demonstrate that the work is permitted and by
satisfying yourself that the documents relate to your potential employee
(check the photo, date of birth matches the person etc)
The defense is not available if the work is not permitted by the Home Office or
if you undertake the checks after employing an individual.
By itself, a CRB Disclosure will not provide a section 8 statutory defense and
you should accordingly undertake the document checks to acquire the section
8 statutory defense prior to the employment commencing as well as
undertaking the CRB check.
Guidance on documents can be got from the Home office online toolkit
UK Border Agency (Employers helpline 0300 123 4699 /Employers Checking
To ensure our clients are safeguarded and with recent changes to the Asylum
and Immigration Act in 2008 with tougher penalties having been introduced for
organisations that employ migrant workers illegally, HCC will ensure that
guidance is given to all appointing officers on identity verification.
5. What guidance is available?
The CRB and DCSF have issued new guidance for overseas applicants.
As from May 2006 a CRB Disclosure is required to be undertaken even if the
person has never resided in the UK. A ‘Certificate of Good Repute/Letter of
Good Conduct’ from the home embassy/home country is also required.
Additionally any overseas members of staff appointed between March 2002
and the end of April 2006 should undertake a retrospective CRB Disclosure
check and also provide a ‘Certificate of Good Repute/Letter of Good Conduct’
from the home embassy/home country.
HCC has communicated this out to schools in the schools bulletins and
produced reports for schools to show who has been checked and who
requires a check. Schools and LA’s were sent this guidance by way of a
Appendix 4 3
DCSF letter and all the guidance is in the Safeguarding Children and Safer
Recruitment in Education document.
The Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education document
makes it clear that information on a CRB Certificate is not sufficient. It also
outlines the varying reliability of Certificates of Good Repute/Good Conduct.
Where an applicant is from a country where criminal record checks cannot be
made for child protection purposes, or is a refugee with leave to remain in the
UK, and has no means of obtaining relevant information, it states that
employers must take extra care in taking up references and carrying out other
background checks. For example, additional references should be sought,
and references followed up by phone as well as letter. Following up
references with telephone calls is good practice for all recruits
The document also says that schools can still start an overseas worker with a
CRB pending (providing there is no evidence of ‘brown envelope’ information
for example from an agency, all other pre-recruitment checks are back
including a List 99 check and the person is appropriately supervised).
How far back should a Certificate of Good Conduct/Repute be sought?
The DCSF wrote to HCC and said
‘All employees who have lived overseas would be expected to be able to
produce some form of good conduct certificate regardless of how long ago
they lived abroad. This fits in with the idea that all gaps in employment or
academic history need to be accounted for’
HCC endorse this for all employees however whilst all certificates must be
requested the focus of activity should be on the last 5 years.
Where to get hold of the names of the contact details of those countries
who have a representative in the United Kingdom
Please go to the Foreign and Commonwealth website www.fco.gov.uk or
telephone 020 7008 1500
This information is correct as of October 2009.
The changes were approved by Safe Staffing Steering board - 20th April
Appendix 4 4