The information provided below is intended as guidance for new managers, and a reminder for existing line managers on the procedures for new starters and leavers. Please contact your HR Advisor if you require any further or specific guidance.
When you recruit a new member of staff, you play a key role in their first impressions of the University as an employer. You can use the new starter checklist (.doc) to ensure they are equipped to perform as well as possible from day one, and that all requirements are covered. Further information can be found on the induction pages of the website.
The purpose of this document is to outline Bath Spa University's procedure for obtaining and providing employment references.
Obtaining Employment References
With a few exceptions (casual workers excluding nursery staff) any offer of employment made is subject to the receipt of satisfactory references.
All applicants are asked to provide details of two referees from the last five years, one of whom must be their present or most recent employer. Referees will be contacted once an offer of employment is made.
Where the successful applicant has not been employed previously they will be asked to provide two character references, one of whom will ideally be a professional who has known them for at least 5 years e.g. former teacher/lecturer, family doctor or solicitor etc.
Following Up Employment References
Human Resources are responsible for contacting referees and notifying the new member of staff/line manager if there are any problems following up individual references.
There may be the odd occasion where despite numerous attempts to obtain both, only one satisfactory reference has been received after six months. If this is the case the line manager may confirm the new starters in post provided that they are satisfied with their attendance and performance.
On receipt of one or more unsatisfactory reference(s), Human Resources will consult with the line manager. This may result in either the offer of employment being withdrawn or dismissal with notice, if the individual has commenced employment and is within their probationary period.
Providing Employment References
Any request for an employment reference should be forwarded to Human Resources to respond.
If you are asked to provide a character reference you are advised to adhere to the following guidelines in order to reduce the risk to yourself and the institution:
- Any employment details provided must be factual or capable of independent verification - e.g. length of employment, time-keeping, duties and responsibilities etc.
- References should be fair, accurate and must not give a misleading overall impression of the employee.
- Avoid subjective opinion about an individual's performance, conduct or suitability unless you can substantiate it with factual evidence.
- Take care to avoid misleading or unsubstantiated statements which could damage the reputation of a former employee as well as language or statements which could be discriminatory.
- Written references must include the disclaimer - "Although Bath Spa University is pleased to provide this reference, it does so in confidence and does not accept legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided."
Line managers are advised to contact the relevant HR Advisor for their school or department if they are in any doubt about the information they are providing.