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Guidance notes for job applications

These guidance notes will help you complete each section of the application form.

You must complete all mandatory fields of the form or you will not be able to submit your application.

Find out more about our recruitment process.

Personal details

Right to live and work in the UK

In accordance with the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 as amended by the Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) Order 2004. If you are asked to interview you will need to provide evidence (original documents only) that you are allowed to live and work in the UK.

If you are offered the post the evidence provided will need to be copied and recorded by us before you start. These will be original documents which will be copied and returned; the copy will be retained on your personal file.

For guidance, read the Right to work checks on GOV.UK.

Additional details

Cautions and Convictions and DBS Checks


If you have a criminal record, it will not necessarily bar you from working with us. It will depend on the nature of the position you are applying for and the circumstances and background of your offences.

Posts which do not require a DBS check

Convictions are regarded as spent and do not need to be disclosed on your application form when the rehabilitation periods have elapsed since the date of convictions.

Find more about rehabilitation periods on GOV.UK

Posts which require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

Some our roles need the person doing the role to have satisfactory DBS clearance.  If you are successful in applying for one of these roles you will be asked to undergo a DBS check. This will highlight both spent and unspent cautions, convictions and reprimands and so on.

Any offer of employment will remain provisional until satisfactory clearance has been received.

If you are applying for a post which involves contact with children or vulnerable adults, you must also declare on your application form whether you have been barred from working with children or from working with adults.

For these roles an additional check is undertaken to make sure that the you have not been barred from working with the client group for which they have applied to work. (these checks are made against the DBS Children's List and/or the DBS Adult's List).

Filtering Guidance

The amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (2013 and 2020) provides that when applying for certain jobs and activities, certain convictions and cautions are considered ‘protected’. This means that they do not need to be disclosed to employers, and if they are disclosed, employers cannot take them into account.

All guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found in the DBS filtering guidance

These questions may help you determine which spent convictions and cautions you do need to disclose if the role you apply for requires a DBS check.

  • Do you have any unspent conditional cautions or convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974? (Yes/No)?
  • Do you have any adult cautions (simple or conditional) or spent convictions that are not protected as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020? (Yes/No)?”

You can find the DBS Code of Practice on GOV.UK.

Current employment details

Give details of your current employment, including any volunteer or non-paid roles. 

If you are not currently employed, please provide details of your most recent employment/role. If you currently have more than one job, include them all.

Previous employment

Employment History

Detail your full employment history with the most recent first. It is important to list your employment history by month and year to show the full breadth of your experience.

You should include:

  • voluntary or unpaid work
  • work experience
  • government training schemes
  • casual or holiday work

We reserve the right to contact any previous employer.

Gaps in Employment

You must account for all your time since leaving full-time education.

Use this section to record any periods by month and year that are not covered in your employment dates. For example, where you were unemployed or taking a break for family reasons.

Education history and additional information

Provide details of your entire educational history.  This is needed to enable us to shortlist your application appropriately. It could help to explain a gap in your employment history.

Requests to work flexibly

The Council expects that a majority of its roles can be worked flexibly if the applicant requests it and subject to the needs of the service. Where this is not possible it will say in the job advertisement.

Guaranteed interview scheme

We have three Guaranteed Interview Scheme categories:

  • Disability Confident
  • Care Experienced Individuals
  • Armed Forces

Disability Confident

We have Disability Confident employer status.

If you have declared a disability on your application and the panel agree that your application meets the essential criteria you will be guaranteed an interview.

Disabled applicants can face extra challenges to gaining employment. We are committed to promoting our employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

We aim to make sure our recruitment process is flexible and supportive to individual needs. Ask our recruitment team if you need help in completing the application form.

Phone 01752 307793 or email

Definition of disability

Under the Equality Act 2010 you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

Find more information can be found on GOV.UK.

Care Experienced Individuals

The Council wishes to offer continued support to anyone who has at any time during their childhood (from birth to 18th birthday) been in the care of a local authority for any length of time. 

We will offer a guaranteed interview to care experienced individuals if:

  • they have previously been looked after by a local authority and
  • they meet the essential criteria for an advertised role.  

This applies to both apprenticeship and non-apprenticeship roles advertised by the Council.

Armed Forces

We are committed to supporting its armed forces community and has signed the Armed Forces Covenant. 

  • When a Service leaver applies for a job, they will be able to indicate on the application form their service leaver status.

We will offer a guaranteed interview to Service leavers if:

  • the Armed Forces were the Service leaver’s last long-term employer.
  • no more than 2 years has passed since the Service leaver left the Armed Forces.
  • the Service leaver meets the essential criteria for an advertised role.
  • When a spouse/partner of those currently serving in the Armed Forces applies for a job, they will be able to indicate this on the application form.

We will offer a guaranteed interview to a spouse/partner of a current member of the Armed Forces if:

  • they can confirm their status as a spouse/partner of a current member of the Armed Forces.
  • they meet the essential criteria for an advertised role.

Reasonable adjustments for interview

If you are invited for interview, let the recruiting manager know if you need any help or reasonable adjustments so you can attend. Where possible we will make the necessary arrangements and confirm them to you. 

Examples could include:

  • a car parking space for interview
  • the interview is held in an accessible room
  • you can be accompanied by a carer, assistant or other person

Before any interview we will let you know:

  • the location, date and time of the selection process
  • the way we will conduct the selection process. For example use of tests

This will give you a chance to contact us to discuss any adjustments or assistance required.


All roles

One of the references must be from your current or most recent employer.

You can give an alternative referee, for example a personal or educational reference if you are:

  • a school leaver
  • unemployed
  • returning to the workplace

Your referee must be able to comment on your skills and abilities for the post.

Referees must not be related to you.

Internal applicants

If you need another referee this could be

  • another manager
  • representative from an agency
  • colleague who has worked closely with you

If you are moving between posts within Plymouth City Council you only need to provide 1 written reference from your current department.

A reference cannot be:

  • provided by the candidate
  • an open reference, for example ‘to whom it may concern’

Roles that have contact with children or vulnerable adults.

If you are applying for a post which involves contact with children or vulnerable adults and are working, or have worked, in these areas, on a paid or voluntary basis, your current or past employer will be asked about:

  • disciplinary offences relating to children or vulnerable adults, including any for which the penalty is time expired (where a warning could no longer be taken into account in any new disciplinary hearing for example).
  • whether you have been the subject of any protection concerns, and if so, the outcome of any enquiry or disciplinary procedure

If references do not cover at least the last 5 years of employment, we may need more than 2 referees or educational/personal referees where applicants have not been in work. We may ask for more details during the interview process.

The purpose of references is to give the panel additional, unbiased information. 

Experience and Knowledge

You need to describe how you meet the requirements set out in the role profile. You can use examples from your:

  • past employment
  •  interests
  •  school or college life
  • voluntary work
  •  life experiences

It is a good idea to format your answer so your evidence corresponds to the relevant criteria on the Role Profile. You can use headings or bulleted lists.

Do not make general statements – you need to provide evidence.

The role profile contains a summary of the experience, knowledge and qualifications we would expect the ideal person for the job to have.

The essential criteria are absolutely crucial to the job. Desirable criteria are beneficial.

The panel will select candidates for interview by looking for evidence to show that candidates meet the criteria.

The role profile also provides a summary of the skills and technical competencies a successful candidate will need to demonstrate. You may be tested on these at the interview or another assessment.

If you are a person with a disability and can meet  certain criteria in the role profile you can use this section to explain how you could meet the requirements in an alternative way, or with reasonable adjustments.

Data Protection

The Council collects and processes personal data relating to applicants for the purpose of assessing suitability for employment, and authorising reference and security checks where necessary. 

Complaints procedure

Applicants have the right to complain if they feel they have been unfairly discriminated against, or have been dealt with in a way which is contrary to the Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedure.

In the first instance, we encourage you to raise any query or concern with the Recruitment team. Email

Find out about our recruitment and selection process.

If you are still unhappy or feel that we have done something wrong you can raise a complaint and we will investigate.

External candidates

Raise a complaint using our online complaint and feedback form.

You will receive a written replay and if something has gone wrong, we will say so and try to put it right.

Internal candidates

If you issue has not been solved informally, internal candidates should follow the Council’s grievance procedure. Your concerns will go to directed to the Service Director for HROD or a designated officer.

Internal applicants should follow the Council’s Grievance procedure if you feel you could not resolve the issue informally. Your concerns will go to the Service Director for Human Resources and Organisational Development (HROD) or a designated officer.