With supply chains coming under greater scrutiny, it’s vital to make sure your workforce is legitimate, compliant and qualified, explains CHAS MD, Ian McKinnon.

Dealing with multiple suppliers, contracts and approval processes can make supply-chain management one of the most complex business challenges.

As supply chains get stricter, stakeholders are looking for complete transparency. To help businesses meet their obligations, avoid prosecution and mitigate fines, workforce identification and credentials management is moving up the agenda – and addressing major global challenges, from modern slavery to COVID-19, in the process.

LEGITIMISE YOUR WORKFORCE Having instant access to staff credentials is useful

for numerous reasons, including helping to stamp out modern slavery – an issue which has come under increased scrutiny in recent months after a Coronavirus outbreak in a Leicester textile factory uncovered modern slavery.

In addition, a government crackdown on modern slavery and illegal working in recent years has brought raids on building sites across the UK, so it’s vital to be confident that those working on the premises are who they say they are and have the right to work.

The construction industry remains a primary target for immigration enforcement due to the high numbers of foreign workers. Firms that employ construction workers face tough penalties if they are found to be in breach of their immigration compliance duties.

Employers must confirm all employees are legally permitted to work in the UK by carrying out document checks. If the Home Office finds a business has failed to conduct these checks correctly, they can issue a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per each illegal worker, a possible criminal conviction and potential for imprisonment.

An independent verification system can provide immediate visibility of worker IDs and credentials to prove that all staff on site are legitimate.

KEEP ON TOP OF QUALIFICATIONS It’s also useful for those employing contractors to know

that relevant qualifications are up-to-date and that this information can be accessed in an instant. A system that also provides reminders when qualifications are due for renewal can help with compliance too.

Anyone engaging contractors has health and safety responsibilities, and ensuring workers have the right qualifications and competencies is part of achieving a consistent approach to risk management. A system that upholds standards throughout the supply chain can help prevent employers falling foul of their duty of care obligations under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.


Furthermore, under the sentencing guidelines that came into effect in 2016, health and safety offences are concerned with failures to manage risks and do not require proof of actual harm caused. Penalties have also got tougher, with longer prison sentences and larger fines associated with an organisation’s turnover.

ADAPT TO COVID-19 Organisations need proof their workforce is legitimate,

compliant and qualified but it’s useful to capture their health statistics too.

Although countries around the world are emerging from lockdown, COVID-19 remains as big a threat to life and the economy as ever. A test, track and trace system will be crucial to bringing it under control. Organisations can play their part and help get people back to work safely and promptly by recording and monitoring them for COVID-19 symptoms.

Another significant outcome of the pandemic is the acceleration of digital transformation across business operations.

Organisations that hadn’t already adopted digital technology are now realising its potential to enable remote working and manage operations more effectively without the need to go into the office to access files or liaise with colleagues.

Gaining insight and visibility into what’s happening in real time at every site on mobile devices can also help organisations manage the risks they face – which brings us back to the importance of knowing exactly who is working for you and their credentials.

FULLY INTEGRATED DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT To help businesses implement robust worker

identification and credential management, CHAS has introduced online document management system CHAS People, which can be accessed in an instant on any device with an internet connection.

The fully integrated digital platform verifies worker IDs, collects and stores qualifications, provides expiry date reminders and manages credentials.

The solution is designed to reduce risk, save time and money, and simplify the entire compliance process by securely storing all information in one place.

CHAS verifies the identity of each worker and their documents by running a 12-point biometric check confirmed by Government databases, and scans the documents to detect for tampering.

Health details can also be stored on CHAS People. The COVID-19 Health Wallet reminds employees to record any new symptoms on a weekly basis and will allow them to upload antigen or antibody test results.

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