Providing employment references

What is an employment reference?

Employment references are a means of obtaining information from a third party, providing a factual check on a candidate’s employment history, qualifications, experience and/or an assessment of the candidate’s suitability for the post in question.

References may also be used to check factual evidence e.g. time-keeping, general performance and development.

It is the intention of the council to respond to all reference requests on current or former employees with a fair and reasonable reference which is accurate, objective and truthful.

The council recognises its duty of care towards the recipient of the reference e.g. a prospective employer and the candidate therefore the reference provided will give a fair representation of the person concerned.

In no circumstances will the council provide a favourable reference in order to dispose a poor performing or problematic employee. Similarly, the council will not provide a false or misleading reference in order to be malicious towards a candidate.

Manager responsibilities

Denbighshire County Council has a responsibility to respond appropriately to any employment reference requests. This includes:

  • Responding in a timely manner to any reference requests;
  • Taking care when compiling or obtaining the information on which the reference is based; and
  • Ensuring that any information given in a reference is accurate, factual reliable and not discriminatory in any way.

Failure to observe these duties could result in legal action against the referee by either the requester or the person on whom the reference is being given.

Providing employment references policy

Providing a reference

When writing references, referees have a duty to take reasonable care and provide information that is true, accurate, and fair and does not give a misleading impression.

Who should complete a reference?

References should be completed by the current or former line manager. Where this is not possible (e.g. the former line manager is no longer employed by the council) Human Resources will supply a factual reference.

The referee should complete the reference template provided by the organisation / person asking for the reference. Where the organisation asking for the reference has not provided a template to complete, the referee should complete the Corporate Reference Form.

Providing employment references policy and forms

Once the reference has been completed by the manager, they must send the reference to Human Resources in order to make the necessary checks before they send out. Human Resources will also place a copy on the personnel file.

Providing Employment References Policy (PDF, 1.84MB)