Home Office Announcement Shows Digital Is The Future of Onboarding

Updated: Jan 17

On December 27th , the Home Office released a paper confirming that digital document validation, originally brought in as a temporary measure as a result of the first lockdown, will be made available permanently from April 6th for all Right to Work and DBS checks.

What This Means

Having permanent digital pre-employment checks and validation technology will benefit both employer and employee in several ways:

  • Flexible Working

A major reason for the Home Office’s decision is their recognition of ‘…the benefits the adjusted checking process has brought and [being] mindful of the shift towards increased hybrid and remote working models.’ The pandemic-enforced shift to increased working from home is here to stay, with proximity to an office becoming increasingly irrelevant. Having remote onboarding and pre-employment processes further reduces the need for face-to-face contact. With this in mind, both employers and employees can look further afield for their next job or new recruit, safe in the knowledge that the hiring process will not require any travelling to verify documents.

  • Faster Hiring Processes

The benefits of this announcement are not limited to businesses that operate with these working models. Technology has made the pre-employment screening more efficient, reducing both the amount of work that is required and the average time it takes for a check to be completed, with over half of DBS checks being completed in five working days using technology.

At a time of staff shortages in many sectors, starting new hires as quickly as possible is of paramount importance. Technology has helped to reduce the gap between hiring an individual and getting them up and running in their new role. This can only be of benefit to both parties.

  • Safer Hiring Processes

The pandemic has seen a rise in cybercrime, with cases of ID fraud up 41% in 2020. It is therefore more important than ever to know exactly who you are hiring. Modern technology can detect discrepancies and irregularities in an application that the human eye may overlook.

Safety is also improved by the eventual move to an official digital ID for U.K. nationals that the government announced in 2020, and placed great emphasis on in the December 27th announcement. Having an official digital ID, and combining that with the onboarding and screening technologies that have proved themselves over the course of the pandemic, will lead to a more secure, efficient and trusted screening process than we have now.

Potential Issues

One issue that will have to be addressed by April 6th is the difference in the cost of using a digital system between U.K. and foreign nationals. Depending on the system that a candidate uses and what is being requested, a digital check for a U.K. national can cost up to £70 for an employer, while foreign nationals can have a check completed for free. As eminently resolvable as this is, it is important that any potential discrimination is ironed out early as digital checks start to become ever more commonplace.

It is also important to note that there are certain methods of document verification that will no longer be permitted from April 6th . Using video calling platforms such as Teams or Zoom to view and verify a document will no longer be a valid form of document verification. Businesses may have to adjust their document verification methods, and acquaint themselves with digital IDs and fully digital methods of verification before the new rules come into force.

In Summary

This announcement by the Home Office shows that the government has listened to the wants of businesses, who have largely praised digital checks and the technologies that facilitate them. It is also further proof that the nature of how we work is changing, with hybrid and remote working models becoming increasingly prevalent in the light of the pandemic.

This is a very exciting development, with continual advancements in technology meaning that the pre-employment process will become increasingly efficient, simple and safe as time progresses.





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Cover photo courtesy of vectorjuice