Guidance notes for applicants

Recruitment and selection guidance notes and information for all applicants

Before completing each section of the job application form please ensure you read the guidance notes relating to that section. Please complete all sections of the application form. The notes below provide guidance on particular sections:

Present employment details

Give details of your present or most recent employment or your current role - please be clear. If you have more than one job please include them.

Previous employment

Please detail your full employment history with the most recent first. Please ensure this history is listed by month and year. This will show us the full breadth of your experience. You should include any voluntary work or work in some other type of role.

It is necessary to account for all your time since leaving full-time education. Please use the last section to account for any gaps in your employment history - again by month and year for example if you were unemployed or taking a break for family reasons, please give dates and details here.

Please give details of any other employment you have had such as work experience, government training schemes, casual or holiday work.

If you have previously worked for Plymouth City Council, please include the department.

We reserve the right to contact any previous employer.


References will be sought for all shortlisted candidates Where possible this will take place  before interview, if applicants have indicated that immediate reference can be made to referees.

One of the references must be from your current or most recent employer. If you are a school leaver, unemployed or a returner to the workplace, then this may not always be possible. In these circumstances you may give an alternative referee for example personal or education. However, these referees must be able to comment on your skills and abilities in relation to the post. If necessary, you may be asked to provide more suitable referees.

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:

1. 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).

2. 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 five years of employment, it may be necessary to seek more than two referees or educational/personal referees where applicants have not been in work. Further details may be required from you during the interview process.

The purpose of references is to give the panel additional, unbiased information. Where you have given a referee who is a relative, an alternative referee will be sought.

For internal applicants, an additional referee could be another manager, representative from an agency, or colleague who has worked closely with you.

Internal candidates moving between posts within Plymouth City Council need provide only one written reference from their employing department.

References or testimonials provided directly by the candidate are not accepted nor are open references for example 'to whom it may concern'.

Additional information

Guaranteed interview scheme

If you are a disabled person or a Plymouth City Council employee eligible for redeployment and can fulfil the essential criteria identified on the Person Specification, you will be guaranteed an interview

Job share - Job sharing is where two people share the duties and responsibilities of one full-time job.

The job can be divided in a number of ways to suit the circumstances of the employee and the employer

The information provided about the role will state whether the post is suitable for job share. If the post is suitable please indicate on your application form if you wish to job share.

Experience and knowledge

Please give examples from your past employment, interests, school or college life, voluntary work or life experiences which demonstrate how you meet the requirements listed on the person specification.

The role profile contains a list of standards we would expect the ideal person for the job to meet. The essential criteria are considered absolutely crucial to the job and desirable criteria are considered beneficial. The panel will select candidates for interview by considering each application and looking for evidence to show that candidates meet the criteria.

For some jobs there may be a number of criteria and for others there may be just one or two - it doesn't matter how many there are. What is important to us is that you demonstrate how you fulfil each of the criteria.

If you are a disabled person and because of your impairment cannot fulfil certain items on the person specification, you can use this section to provide details of how you can meet the requirements in an alternative or adjusted way.

It is quite acceptable to use headings or bulleted lists so that your evidence corresponds to the relevant item on the person specification. It is important that you do not just make statements - you need to provide evidence.

Personal details

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 be required 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 prior to commencement. These will be original documents which will be copied and returned; the copy will be retained on your personal file.

For guidance, please read the preventing illegal working document below:

 Preventing illegal working guide [PDF, 162KB]


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

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

A number of our roles require the person undertaking the role to have satisfactory DBS clearance - and if you are successful in applying for one of these roles you will be asked to undergo a DBS check which 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 ensure that the individual has 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).

The DBS Code of Practice is available on request.

Posts which do not require a DBS check

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

Rehabilitation period

¹For a sentence² of imprisonment between six months and two and a half years: 10 years

¹For a sentence² of imprisonment of six months or less: seven years

For a sentence of Borstal training: seven years

¹For a fine or other sentence (for example a community service order) for which no other rehabilitation period is prescribed: five years

For an absolute discharge: six months

For a probation order, conditional discharge or bind over, and for fit persons order, supervision orders or care orders under the Children and Young Persons Acts: one year or until the order expires (whichever is longer)

For detention by direction of the Home Secretary:

From six months to two and a half years: five years

For six months or less: three years

For a detention centre order: three years

For a remand home order, an approved school order or an attendance centre order: the period of the order and a further year after the order expires

For a hospital order under the Mental Health Acts: the period of the order and a further two years after the order expires

¹These rehabilitation periods are halved for persons who were under 17 years of age when they were convicted.

²It is immaterial for the purpose of calculating a rehabilitation period whether a sentence is suspended or not.

Further information about the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) can be found on the Justice website.

Complaints procedure

If you feel that you have not been treated properly or fairly, you can write to the Service Director for HR & OD, Ballard House, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ. Your complaint will be investigated in accordance with the complaints procedure. You will get a written reply, and if something has gone wrong we will say so and try to put it right.