Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

18th October 2017

What Should a Care Provider do if a Job Applicant is Unable to Provide a Reference?

What should a Care Provider do in terms of references if the applicant has not been working for the past 3 or more years? Is it all right to request more character references if the applicant cannot provide a current employer or employer reference?


Dear O,


Thank you for your question.


This is an issue that many providers face.


This is what I believe you should do.


I think you should apply for a reference from the last known employer, but of course, you have to accept that it is possible that the employer is no longer in business or there is no one at the business who remembers the person who is applying to you for the job. You should, however, keep a record of your attempts to obtain a reference from the last known employer in the person's file.


You are correct that you should apply for a second character reference as well.


It is important for the regulator to know that you have ascertained that the person that you hope to employ is known in the area where they live and that they are known to be of good character. There are many reasons why people don't work for a period of time:


  • Starting a family
  • Supporting a partner to set up a business
  • A period of ill health
  • Caring for a relative


These are just a few examples.


What you need to do is make sure that you have collected the relevant evidence to accompany the DBS disclosure.


I hope this is helpful.


Best wishes,





*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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