Nationally, there’s a growing trend of criminal offences where counterfeit documents are used to gain work within the care sector. Although the majority of agencies and agency workers are completely legitimate, this centres around rogue employment agencies and illegal agency workers who gain work in care homes.
In Nottinghamshire, we’ve investigated a number of cases of this nature recently which highlight the need to check documents more thoroughly.
These normally involve a false passport or a false leave to remain document, but could also be false references or qualifications.
Identifying counterfeit documents can be difficult, especially without the relevant training. However, sometimes a counterfeit document contains obvious signs. For example, a woman in her mid to late 50s submitted a counterfeit passport with a date of birth which stated she was in her late 20s but it was clear from her photo that she was not this age.
We also need to consider that people who use false identity documents may also be victims of modern slavery or human trafficking. Modern slavery victims are more likely to be employed by an agency rather than directly with an employer and everyone has a responsibility and a duty of care to look out for these types of offences and to report them to the relevant authorities.
Don’t assume that an agency will carry out the relevant checks for you. Care homes have a responsibility to conduct checks on their employees, even if they are employed via an agency. You need to be satisfied that those working for them are who they say they are, that they are legally employed and they have the relevant qualifications to be undertaking the role.
With a few simple changes to working practices you could make a huge difference and we encourage you to carry out the following checks:
- ask new agency workers to bring ID documents and qualifications on their first shift
- check the documentation that you are sent from the agency. This is normally a one page profile.
- check that the photograph is that of the person who has attended work
- look at the detail on the document and make sure it matches the photo i.e. date of birth
- Have an initial sit down with your agency worker, get to know them
- Talk about the salary they receive from the agency. This might be difficult, but could be a clear indicator if someone is being exploited
If you have any concerns about potential counterfeit documents or you’re worried that someone is a victim of modern slavery please report it to us on 101. In an emergency, always call 999.