Question about BPSS screening

(13 Posts)
BPSSquestion Wed 21-Aug-19 13:03:53

A special hello from a namechanger who would love to hear from anyone with the relevant expertise in HR.

I am trying to advise somebody who has recently accepted a job at one of the big four accountants. The job offer was signed some months back and did not apparently mention any conditions that my friend did not satisfy.

She is currently undergoing BPSS screening as part of the admin prior to beginning her work. It seems now that she fails to satisfy one BPSS requirement, namely she has had a gap in her full-time employment of six months. This was never hidden from the company at any point during the hiring process I must add.

How likely is it that this 6-month gap might cause her offer to be rescinded? She has spent the six months doing constructive self-improvement courses so has not been twiddling her thumbs.

Many thanks if you can give any advice

OP’s posts: |
Hoppinggreen Wed 21-Aug-19 13:06:42

I don’t know about theBPSS but when I had to be screened for working in Financial services and I had a 2 month gap I provided a personal reference from a professional person who knew me and my family well

BPSSquestion Wed 21-Aug-19 13:13:17

Thanks Hopping!

What did the reference say to persuade them to waive the no-gaps requirement? Did it just "vouch for your character" type of thing???

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Wed 21-Aug-19 13:33:14

OP the key aspect for BPSS is transparency and integrity. You've stated that at no stage in the recruitment process your colleague concealed the fact they had a 6 month gap in their employment. Therefore they have been honest in their disclosure. It isn't a misdemeanour to not work for 6 months, it would have been a negative had they been untruthful about it.

Citation here (I've italicised) from Cabinet Office guidance on BPSS Verification of Employment History (para 27):

To ensure that prospective employees are not concealing associations or gaps, employing departments and agencies should, as a minimum, verify recent (past 3 years) employment or academic history.

Disclosure of the academic institution and course details undertaken in the 6 months should be given to explain that duration of time out of the workplace.

Being blunt about it, and just as an example - the expectation is that if the 6 months was spent serving a sentence or community service then it would be important to own up to that (not saying that was the case, but that's the stuff they're looking for).

In reality, if the 6 months' training was over 3 years ago, it's a lot less important than if it was within the past 3 years.

BPSSquestion Wed 21-Aug-19 13:50:11

Thank you SO much daisychain! That is very reassuring. Yes, my friend has been very transparent. I can easily understand that for one of the big 4 this is of prime importance...

I am happy to be able to go back to her and tell her she has nothing to fear as long as she remains totally honest.

A lot of stress has been lifted for her, thanks again!

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Wed 21-Aug-19 13:56:33

Glad to have helped you and your friend!

mynameiscalypso Wed 21-Aug-19 14:09:43

I work for one of the big 4 and also used to coordinate our BPSS screening - it's really not a big deal at all. It's a very basic standard check mainly just to ensure your friend is who they say they are, that they don't have any convictions they haven't disclosed etc. A gap in work history is no big deal at all. I have a gap of a year in mine where I bummed around doing nothing much and I have previously been through more stringent screening with no issue.


BPSSquestion Wed 21-Aug-19 14:32:15

All very heartening, calypso.

Another major thanks,

OP’s posts: |
Basketofkittens Wed 21-Aug-19 16:26:02

I always think it’s strange that they wonder if gaps are due to prison time - when they do a DBS check at the same time that would show it.

Hoppinggreen Wed 21-Aug-19 17:01:18

He just said that he had known me for x years and during the period in question I was doing Y and that he believed me to be of good character and could see no reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to work as a Z
(He was an accountant friend of my Mums)

daisychain01 Wed 21-Aug-19 21:22:11

I always think it’s strange that they wonder if gaps are due to prison time - when they do a DBS check at the same time that would show it.

The security process undergone by UK Security Vetting involves full honest disclosure being provided by the prospective employee, with the information validated against numerous databases. If the person is inaccurate or does not disclose things willingly about their life, it is taken seriously.

It isn't simply about a process of checking facts, it's about how honest the person is, and therefore whether they are suitable for jobs that often require a high degree of trustworthiness.

Basketofkittens Thu 22-Aug-19 16:41:07

I’ve had DV and SC before.

The last time I had SC they checked 3 years of employment with HRMC and didn’t mention my gaps.

It seems like some employers can’t accept that people have time out of work. I’ve had a few months out of the workplace here and there where I didn’t do much.

daisychain01 Fri 23-Aug-19 07:31:47

It seems like some employers can’t accept that people have time out of work

That's not strictly true.

What employers increasingly prioritise is people's integrity and trustworthiness about reasons for gaps. If a candidate has a reasonably stable employment record with relevant experience and qualifications there is no reason for an employer to reject them unless there are unexplained or unjustified gaps, for example poor rationale as to why they left a job in April 2017 and no explanation of a gap for the next 12 months.

Stopping work to study, have a baby, care for a relative are all valid reasons to an employer, especially if paired with a volunteering activity etc.

They don't like "I just hung around at home doing nothing" if the next candidate said "I completed my dissertation and did 2 days a week for Cancer Research charity shop"

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