Are handwritten signatures required on references? | QCS

Do we have to have handwritten signatures on references? Will an electronic signature suffice?


Sheila Scott
Answered by Sheila Scott


Dear Kristy,


Thank you for your question which I am sure many people will have had concerns about these days when so much of our correspondence is done by email.


We asked our employment law advisers Napthens for their advice and this is what they said:


“There is nothing in the law which states that a written reference must be accompanied by a handwritten signature. In fact references can be given verbally, although this is not advisable as there can be disputes about what exactly has been said. Some companies do have Reference Policies which can confirm who has authority to give a reference, the format that the reference can be given in and to a certain extent what can be included in a reference e.g. if it is to be purely factual. It would be worthwhile checking whether the company has such a policy and whether it confirms how references are to be signed but, in the absence of this, there are no legal requirements to sign references by hand.”


I hope this is helpful.


Best wishes.



About Sheila Scott

Sheila Scott OBE from 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. 3. Read more

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