Response to consultation on volunteer pre-employment checks

NHS Employers has responded to the consultation on proposed changes to pre-employment checks when appointing volunteers.

22 November 2023

NHS Employers has responded to a consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) seeking views on a proposal to remove the statutory requirement for a full employment history when appointing volunteers in health and care settings.

The key messages from NHS Employers consultation response include:

  • Consideration must be given as to how the removal of this requirement would align with the DHSC’s existing mandate outlining the six primary checks which all NHS organisations within England must undertake when appointing individuals into all forms of work in the NHS. 
  • Advocating for maintaining the robustness of pre-employment checks for all appointment in the NHS, whilst also ensuring they do not create barriers to working in the NHS. The six NHS Employment Check Standards assist employers to practically consider and implement the requirements to enable the protection of patients through safe and effective supply of staff. 
  • Obtaining a full employment history, as set out in the requirements of the employment history and reference checks standard enables employers to verify the information provided by an individual as part of their application. It provides a better picture about the individual’s previous employment, training and/or other activities undertaken out in the community, which can help confirm a recruitment decision. It is one part of the wider evidence gathered throughout the application, interview and employment check processes which should be used to make the appointment decision. 
  • Removing the statutory requirement for volunteers would create a two-tier pre-employment checking processes: a process for those recruited into volunteering roles and one for those recruited into paid roles. Organisations will need to ensure local policies and processes are updated to reflect the new requirements and may need to provide training for recruitment teams to support their understanding of the different requirements for volunteers. 

Further information on the consultation can be found on