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CQC requirements regarding “references”

There is so much confusion about whether The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 requires care providers to obtain references for persons employed to provide a regulated activity. But, it is really simple – you don’t need to obtain any references at all!!!

How so?

If you read Regulation 19 and Schedule 3 you will see that you need to obtain satisfactory evidence of conduct in previous employment concerned with the provision of services relating to—

(a) health or social care, or

(b) children or vulnerable adults.

(This does not apply if a member of staff has not previously worked in health or social care)

The CQC guidance states “This information may be in the form of a Reference from a previous employer – but need not be. Written appraisal documentation may also be relied upon to demonstrate an employer’s

view of an individual’s conduct. Written evidence from other persons would also be acceptable if it provides information regarding an individual’s conduct.”

You also need to obtain  where a person has been previously employed in a position whose duties involved work with children or vulnerable adults, satisfactory verification, so far as reasonably practicable, of the reason why the person’s employment in that position ended. (This does not apply if member of staff has not previous worked with children or vulnerable adults)

The CQC guidance states “Information may be held electronically and must outline all relevant periods of employment or self-employment and the person’s reason for leaving that employment. If it has not been practicable to obtain such information, a provider should be able to demonstrate that every reasonable attempt has been made to assure itself about an individual.

Remember that a “Person employed” will include any member of staff who currently works in the service including agency, bank staff and volunteers (based on the broad meaning of “employment” set out in Regulation 2, which extends the scope to those engaged otherwise than under a contract).

Care providers should ensure that they fully understand the requirements of Reg 19 and Schedule 3 and seek to obtain this information from all persons employed  for the purposes of carrying on a regulated activity” (see Regulation 19(1).   This means asking for the above information and doing everything practicable to obtain it.

Care providers must also consider the implications of refusing to provide this information if requested to do so.

Staff members and ex-staff members can obtain a copy of their previous appraisal records by making a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 2018 (GDPR)


You can download a template letter to send to previous health and social care employers from this link


Letter to be sent to previous health and social care regarding verification of employment details

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