NHS Employment Check Standards

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10 / 4 / 2014 00:00 AM

The NHS Employment Check standards apply to all applications for NHS positions  and staff in ongoing NHS employment.

This includes permanent staff, staff on fixed-term contracts, volunteers, students, trainees, contractors, highly mobile staff, temporary workers (including locum doctors), those working on a trust bank, and other workers supplied by an agency.

Trusts using agency, contractor or other external bodies to provide services must ensure, through regular audit and monitoring, that their providers comply with these standards.

For advice specific to appointing agency staff, see our guide to understanding employment checks for agency staff.  For ease of reading, the standards have been produced in a suite of six documents which specifically focus on checking:

1. Identity

2. Right to work

3. Professional registration and qualifications

4. Employment history and reference

5. Criminal record and barring 

6. Work health assessments  


All NHS providers are required to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and, as part of this registration are required to comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010 and the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009. The CQC's Essential Standards of Quality and Safety outline 16 core standards which must be met, including having robust recruitment practices in place (Outcome 12 Requirements relating to workers, specifically refers). NHS providers should therefore provide evidence of compliance with the NHS Employment Check Standards as part of the CQC's annual regulatory framework.

The Employment Check Standards are also embedded in the Crown Commercial Service (formerly known as the Government Procurement Service) National Agency Framework Agreement and annual audit checks of agencies, to assure compliance with the standards is met in relation to contracted and sub-contracted staff. 

Failure to comply could potentially put the safety, and even the lives, of patients, staff and public at risk.

The standards are periodically reviewed to ensure that they remain completely up to date with legal requirements and are fit for purpose. Where employers choose to download hardcopies of the standards, it is essential that they regularly refer to this website to ensure that they are fully compliant with any updated requirements. 

Alerts to any changes to these standards will be published on our latest news page and in the NHS Workforce Bulletin

Frequently asked questions

We have produced supplementary guidelines on each of the standards in our Q&A document which can be found on our tools and resources page.

If you cannot find an answer to your query, please contact us by emailing employmentchecks@nhsemployers.org.

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