DDC Wrapped 2023 – Reflections and Future Predictions

December 21st, 2023 by Jonathan Bazely

It’s that time of year again for our DDC Wrapped 2023 news article. We’re kicking off 2024 by taking a look back in time to what happened in 2023, and what the future of pre-employment screening holds for 2024. In this article, DDC Director, Jonathan Bazely, summarises his highlights and offers up some thoughts on the industry changes into 2024.

2023 has been another year of change in the pre-employment screening industry where technology continued to drive improvements, challenge ways of working and keep everyone on their toes. The team at DDC have taken the opportunity to take stock and listen to our valuable clients. This was driven forward by our Quality Assurance Team consisting of team members at every level of the business. This team were challenged with building on our foundation of quality and security, and enhancing our offering in the marketplace. At a time when many organisations are cutting costs, and looking away from premium providers, we wanted to improve quality and increase the value we deliver to clients at the same time because no one wants to compromise on compliance.

Looking back at 2023

Right to Work changes

Throughout 2023 the drive towards digital hiring continued with much pace. We’ve received a record number of enquiries about moving to digital right to work checks processes or from clients wanting us to undertake more of the process for them. This may have been due to the increase in the fines for employers hiring illegal workers rising to £60,000 (per illegal worker). At a time when the job market seemed to fluctuate wildly, we found the time taken from enquiry through to business decision crept up. To counter this we offered many new clients no-obligation trials so they could see first-hand how we could save them time and money.

Find up to date right to work checking guidance and information here

DBS changes

The DBS announced in the later part of 2023 that they would be moving away from their current eBulk service and implementing a similar system with a different provider. This may have passed many of our clients by, as this is something that we take care of, however, it has meant quite a few technical changes to implement this. This is due to be completed in early 2024 as final specifications and system testing is completed. As a full outsourcing provider, DDC will make all the required updates and there will be no need to install anything new or update hardware.

An end to the free and fast-track Covid related checks

During 2022 the DBS announced a gradual end to the free of charge fast track checks for the health and care sector. This end date was then pushed back and implemented in May 2023. Following this change, several clients returned to a normal processing routine and cost.

Many of the industries that were originally eligible for the free and fast-tracked checks operated in the health and social care sectors where budgets were already being squeezed. DDC worked hard to ensure that all clients had plenty of notice about the changes. We also ran a series of evening and weekend sessions to issue extra follow-ups and ensure as many applications were submitted before this change.

Reference checking – you spoke we listened.

As our reference checking service grows from strength to strength, our Quality Assurance Team undertook a project to find out what our clients liked or what they wanted to change with this service.  Towards the end of 2023, we released numerous new options to allow clients to take greater control of their workflow with their reference checks. This improvement project is still ongoing and we will be releasing a third set of enhancements in 2024.

All of this is possible thanks to the applicants and clients who take the time to complete the feedback forms on the system.  These are reviewed quarterly to see how our improvements are received, and where we can focus our improvement strategies.

Take a look at our reference checking page for more information

Digital identity checks are finally here

We started our project to deliver digital identity checks to clients in late 2021 and took on the challenge of building a system and mobile application that exactly suited the needs of our clients. This included undertaking Digital Identity Certification Scheme (DICS) accreditation for all the systems, policies and processes working together to deliver this service. There are still not many Umbrella Bodies and pre-employment screening providers that took on the challenge of an end-to-end service.

As a result of this experience and position in the industry, DDC was invited to attend meetings in the Home Office, on the formation of the Office for Digital Identities and Attributes (OfDIA) and discuss how digital identity should be regulated. This allowed DDC to provide a specialist perspective on using digital identity for right-to-work and DBS applications. As part of this consultation, DDC highlighted the need to make digital identity accessible for all and for a drive to ensure that providers only undertake checks where it is possible to meet the level of assurance needed.

So, what’s happening in 2024?

DDC ID takes on a new role

Most clients should have seen some details released about digital identity and how it can be used in the right-to-work and DBS application processes. The app has had 2 major releases so far with more guidance and greater flexibility in the process being introduced. We are still heavily investing in continually improving the mobile application and making it easier for applicants to use, and clients to see what is happening.

Feedback so far has seen the success rate rise quite dramatically and we’re aiming at hitting much higher rates in the future. One of our biggest learning points so far is that ‘not all mobile devices are created equal’. This means some devices have modern, high-resolution cameras and operating systems which can pick up and identify where text or a face is being scanned, (e.g. autofocus on the text so it is legible) and some do not, and of course, individuals can, unfortunately, turn off these features if they so desire.

Digital Identity for Right to Work and DBS Checks – Find out more today!

The Care Sector leading the way

The business presented at the Care Show back in October and had the opportunity to speak with many of the home managers, owners and procurement leads about the challenges they face with the pre-employment screening. One of the overwhelming concerns was the speed of the results being issued and ensuring it was as easy as possible to manage. Compliance featured very highly on the concerns of those who had been through CQC inspections. With this in mind, we added to our available documentation on the system, and the reporting tools to allow a clear and obvious trail for our clients to demonstrate compliance to third parties. This was very well received by the clients we spoke to and went a long way to improving the value they receive from the services.  

The increasing demand for basic level checks

One of the trends we have spotted over the last few years, which we expect to continue into 2024, is the growth of basic-level checks. This check type is accessible to all recruiting organisations and is a great way to start the screening process. It forms the foundation for checking to the Baseline Personnel Security Standard which you can read more about here. Many clients now come to us for all or part of these checks that make up this standard.

What’s next for DDC?

As we look to the future and beyond, we want to wish all our clients, applicants and colleagues a prosperous 2024. Our main focus for the coming year will be improving our digital identity systems, releasing updates to the Client Area based on client feedback and providing more performance stats with each and every application. As always, we will assess feedback on system improvement to ensure clients are getting the maximum value from the services being procured.

Get in contact

You can expect to see the team at numerous trade shows, education events and industry conferences talking about our experiences and how we are meeting these new industry challenges. We will also be running webinars and education workshops over the coming months.

Keep an eye out for our newsletters if you want to know when these will be. If you have questions about the information above, please get in touch with one of the team via our ‘Contact Us’ page.

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