After a protracted series of interviews and aborted interviews, I was recently offered a three month contract in London with an organisation professing much in the way of becoming Agile. Despite some number of reservations, I had decided to give it a go. Imagine my reaction, then, when this email turned up…


[Preamble – redacted]

Here are the documents we need returned. The ID and Proof of Address must be verified by a professional (preferably your solicitor) who has known you for more than 2 years with their full name, occupation, dated and signed.

· Verified copy of ID (passport, photo driving licence etc) Please have the front cover, first page and photo page verified – each with a statement saying ‘Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’. If you choose the driving licence we need both the photo card and counterpart verified.

· Verified copy of Proof of Address – Issued within the last 3 months (1 of the following: Utility bill, bank statement or similar from home address) – Please state ‘Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’.

· Criminal Declaration Form (Signed)

· Confidentiality and conflict of interest form (Signed)

· Declaration of Interest Form (Signed)

· Basic Disclosure Scotland Check – – Please apply ASAP and let me know the reference number

· References- A full 3 years work references are required. If only one role has been worked over the 3 year period then a personal reference will be required also. If a limited company has worked many assignments then an accountant’s reference specifying that between two dates work was solidly carried out on various assignments would be acceptable but as that would only count as one reference, a personal reference would be required as well.

· Gaps in work- Any gaps of more than 28 days in the last 10 years need explaining by evidencing what happened during that time. A personal reference specifying the dates is required, if this is not possible then other evidence would be considered i.e. receipts etc.

· CV containing previous 10 years employment/education history with no gaps

· Tax Assurance Forms (Signed)

Ltd Company documents – if you don’t have them:
Certificate of Incorporation
VAT Registration Certificate
Professional Indemnity Insurance – Minimum of £1m
Public Liability Insurance – Minimum of £1m
Employers Liability Insurance – Minimum of £5m

Government guidelines on Certifying documents:

To certify documents, ask a professional person or someone well-respected in your community (‘of good standing’) like a:
· bank or building society official
· councillor
· dentist
· police officer
· solicitor
· teacher or lecturer
The person you ask shouldn’t be:

· related to you
· living at the same address
· in a relationship with you
Check with the organisation that needs the certified copy – they may have specific rules for who can certify a document.
How to certify a document
Take the photocopied document and the original and ask the person to certify the copy by:

· writing ‘Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’ on the document
· signing and dating it
· printing their name under the signature
· adding their occupation, address and telephone number
The person certifying the document may charge you a fee.

[Post-amble – redacted]


This was, of course, the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Needless to say, I have declined to be a party to this madness.

“If the company looks inept to you, you might assume everything else they do is inept.”

~ Daniel Kahneman

I have a forlorn hope that my “protest” might provide someone with some argument to oppose the policy.

Never mind. Onward and upward! 🙂

“There’s no shortage of talent – only a shortage of organisations that talent wants to work for.”

– Bob

Further Reading

No More Stupid Punts ~ FlowchainSensei

  1. I recently engaged in a 6 week (yes weeks) contract in London – the vetting process didn’t finally end until the day before the contract finished. Even more galling was that it was the same third party who vetted me for my previous contract, but it starts from scratch every time.

  2. fjfish said:

    🙂 It’s the “HR dept or Accounts had a problem *once* so put in a regulation to stop it happening again” syndrome, combined with “you should be grateful to work with us”. I did work somewhere we had to have police checks because we were dealing with money and it was part of the requirements for our certification, fair enough.

    Was this a bank, perchance? Might be totally out of their control, or they just over interpreted the regulations.

  3. I had a similar experience that I found completely intrusive and unnecessary. The contract was not with GCHQ but a financial services company that I had worked with for almost two years on a previous assignment and it was they who asked me back. The world has gone barking mad.

  4. Try being from UK, and going through process of getting contract work in US – then you will know meaning of pain 🙂 I gave up, because it simply wasn’t worth going through.

  5. Most of these anti-money-laundering and anti-fraud measures are knee-jerk reaction to events. And as usual, it doesn’t affect the very people these measures are supposed to root out, and regular folk just trying to work and eat.

  6. Disclosure Scotland – that can only be one government organisation I know and they sent me the same mail for a 6 week contract! I hear ya, ridiculous…..

  7. Emily said:

    Provide what is reasonable and understandable from emp. standpoint; provide reason for what you cannot/will not submit; but make ironclad argument for requisites that are utterly unnecessary and artificial, those which kill the deal and are self-harming (co.).

  8. Dean Miley said:

    You will find most will do something similar these days Bob. Very intrusive especially in banking. Unfortunately if you want to work, you have to play the game. Once you have done it, it’s easier for the next time as you will have most of the information to hand.

  9. yogacat13 said:

    I was once asked to undergo a full security clearance just so that I would be allowed to go to the restroom on my own on a client site I visited once every two weeks. The clearance would take six weeks to complete, and I was 8 weeks from the end of my contract.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: