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Digital right to work in hiring: Webinar roundup

Digital right to work in hiring: Webinar roundup

With the government’s announcement that digital right to work checks are to be made a permanent option for employers, it’s now becoming apparent exactly what that means and what the next steps are for businesses. Our recent webinar, Digital right to work in hiring, was attended by over 400 organisations with speakers from the Home Office, DCMS, DBS, Parliamentarians and Reed Screening to discuss the implications, and in this blog post we’ll explain the key session insights.

The background on digital right to work

Talk of digitising the right to work checking process have been ongoing for some years, however the COVID-19 pandemic meant that steps needed to be brought in to allow employers to comply with social distancing and remote working rules.

Since then, throughout 2021, work by Reed Screening and the APPG on Digital Identity ensured extensions to the temporary measures, asked Parliamentary questions on digital right to work, organised roundtables and Parliamentary events and sent briefings to No. 10.

As a result of this, the temporary measures introduced in 2020 are being ended on April 6th, 2022, and employers will be able to use digital verification services permanently.

Digital right to work checks will replace the need for recruiters to handle physical identification documents. Instead, digital ID and right to work documents can be used, via custom built technology.  Though many businesses have already been using this technology to enhance the standard of their existing checks, in order to ensure levels of integrity and security so that it is fit for permanent use, Identification Verification Technology (IDVT) needs to be provided by certified service providers.

A certification scheme for IDVT Service Providers is being set up, which will identify bodies who can officially verify identification and right to work documents without the need for physical handling. A full list of certified providers will be available before the beginning of April 2022.

It’s important to note that digital verification is not mandatory, and businesses can continue to conduct their verification processes in person.

Insights from our webinar attendees

Our webinar was attended by over 400 organisations, and we took the opportunity to gather their insights into the changes.

  • 99% of organisations said they were definitely, or at least considering, the adoption of digital right to work checks as their main route from April 6th, with just 1% stating they were not.
  • 75% of the organisations present believed the use of technology is safer and more secure when hiring, as it is better able to recognise fake documents or people without a legitimate right to work status.
  • Over two thirds of the audience said there is not enough time to implement a digital solution (68%).

This clearly demonstrates that while employers see the benefits of digital right to work checks and are keen to adopt them into their hiring processes, they are likely to need support in doing so to stay compliant after the deadline passes.

What does this mean for employers?

Digital right to work checks will be transformational for businesses and how they conduct their screening processes. Organisations can expect a range of benefits from adopting digital right to work, including:

  • Improved Processes – Allowing candidates to prove their identity remotely via uploading images of their documents via IDVT is a quick, secure process which can take place remotely. This allows recruitment processes to align with the increase in remote and hybrid working models.
  • Improved security – The certification process allows private sector IDVT service providers to become independently certified by organisations selected by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS), and thereby ensures that the technology meets the Government Standards and the applicant’s data is protected.
  • Improved Candidate Experience – Being able to prove their identity and right to work remotely represents a much easier process for candidates, meaning important documents do not need to be posted or brought to the place of work. This provides a better overall onboarding experience.

What are the challenges for employers?

While over 99% of organisations we surveyed are at least considering the adoption of digital right to work checks as their main route from April 6th, there are a lot of things that employers will need to consider and ensure are in place to be sure that the system is working to the benefit of all involved.

Potential barriers organisations will have to navigate include:

  • Cost – it’s important to find the right suppliers and procurement processes for screening services to ensure that they work for the business.
  • Understanding – a new system and process will require training for staff. Digital right to work imposes the need to understand processes involving biometrics, digital identities, and knowing which documents can be used for verification.
  • Time – the deadline for the end of the temporary right to work checks is fast approaching, and the process of implementing the new system is likely to be time consuming. Over two thirds of our audience said that there is not enough time to implement a digital solution (68%).
  • Changeover - managing the changeover will be a challenge.
  • Audits – it’s important to be able to leave a paper trail when conducting right to work checks, and when this is a digital process, pinpointing how this will be recorded is essential.
  • Supplier selection – aside from cost, it’s important to select a supplier that can work effectively with your team and adapt to your business’s operations
  • Embedding – working out how to embed the process into your business effectively
  • Inclusion – not all candidates will be able or want to take part in digital identity verification. It’s the job of employers to ensure that a candidate’s participation, or not, in the system doesn’t affect them in a way that could lead to discrimination or exclusion.

What happens next?

Development of the digital right to work scheme is still taking place, and input from employers is vital in ensuring the system works for everyone. Reed Screening is hosting a number of events where you can have your say and feedback on areas that are working well, and others that need more development.

Below are a few of the upcoming events you can get involved with: 

10th February – Digital criminal record checks with speakers Mark Sugden – Head of Identity and Sarah Clifford - Associate Director, Partnership and Communications, from the DBS.  

22nd February - A Parliamentary APPG hosted by Lord Holmes on digital identity for right to work. For this session, we need you as employers to come along and say what’s good but also what you feel needs to be developed. You can register your interest by emailing secretariat@betterhiringinstitute.co.uk 

17th March – How UK government are transforming hiring through digital identity with DCMS as speakers. 

7th April – Digital right to work: The UK’s new regime – join us for an update session as the new regulations are put in place.