Candidate Support for those Joining the Covid-19 Vaccination Team with NHS Professionals

Thank you for your interest in supporting NHS Professionals with the Covid-19 National Vaccination Programme. This team of vaccinators is being established to administer vaccinations across England at a critical time. As such, it is crucial that all those who wish to perform these roles have the appropriate background and eligibility checks to assess their suitability. These important safeguards help to ensure the delivery of a high-quality and safe service, both for staff and the public.
Sterling has been selected by NHS Professionals to perform these background checks for this cohort of candidates. While you will have received communication directly from NHS Professionals and their partners regarding the screening process, we understand you may have additional questions. Below, you’ll find answers to typical questions candidates going through screening may have, along with a video to help guide you through the process. If you’re still unable to find the information you require, please submit your enquiry via the form below and one of our team members will respond as soon as possible.
Please note: This is an unprecedented, major national initiative and we are anticipating a large volume of applications. The below FAQs detail why a background check is necessary and how long it's likely to take. Please note, candidates will be contacted directly if there are any problems or if additional information is required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sterling is responsible for performing background checks on candidates that have already been selected by NHS Professionals. If you have not yet applied to join the Vaccine Team, then you can express your interest in doing so via the NHS Professionals website.

Sterling has been appointed by NHS Professionals to support with background screening only, and is unable to help with enquiries regarding training. Any questions concerning the training for the Covid-19 Vaccination Team program, must be directed to NHS Professionals.

Once all your information is received by Sterling, your background check is expected to take between 10 to 15 days, although it may be far less in some instances. NHS Professionals will be in contact with you directly to discuss the outcome of your checks.

You will be informed directly by NHS Professionals (not Sterling) when your background check has been completed.

Our forms will guide you through the process in more detail, but you will be asked to provide one employment reference (or education reference, if you have no previous employer) and one character reference from someone who has known you for at least three years.

If we need additional information from you, you’ll hear from a member of the Sterling team directly.

Try to provide as much accurate information as possible. We will compare the information you provide with the information the past employer or academic institution provides.

Employers have a duty of care to check the backgrounds of prospective employees for the sake of their business, staff, clients, and in some cases like this, the public at large. For the employer, such checks provide the information necessary to make well-informed hiring decisions. For the candidate, it provides a straightforward opportunity to give background information to a prospective employer and potentially fast-track the application process.

A single reference is acceptable, but NHS Professionals are asking candidates to provide two references with the aim of getting a faster response from a referee and completing your checks sooner. While it is recommended that two references are provided where possible, if you are only able to provide one, please provide the same reference in each section of the form.

No. Sterling is never responsible for making a hiring decision. We simply provide the information we find to our clients for them to determine eligibility for employment.

If you need to change the information on your background check or provide any additional information, please send the information via email to:

All personal information is stored securely by Sterling. Once your details are received and a background check has commenced, access to information is restricted to end-users in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Information is stored in line with ISO27001 protocols and maintained for a period of time as required for privacy legislation, audit purposes, and client requirements.

* We only keep your data for as long as we need it
* If you are a candidate and services were requested by NHS Professionals Ltd, we keep your personal information until NHS Professionals Ltd asks us to delete it, but usually no more than seven years
* Sometimes, the law or a source requires us to keep information for a minimum amount of time
* If you are a candidate and we receive a UK criminal disclosure certificate about you, we keep it for no more than six months
* For more information about retention of personal information, keep reading here

Upon request, an individual will be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall be given access to that information, except where it is not permitted by law. Should Sterling receive a request relating to a background check conducted on behalf of a client, Sterling, as a data processor, will notify the client (the data controller) and seek direction on how to handle the request. For full details regarding access to personal information, please see our privacy statement. To contact us with questions relating to your personal data, please email

If you are not happy with how we have collected, used, disclosed, or otherwise handled your personal information, or if you tried to make a choice or exercise rights about your personal information and you are not happy with the outcome, you can email us at We commit to investigating and resolving all complaints we receive about privacy and data protection. If you are still not satisfied, in some locations you may be able to complain to a regulatory or supervisory authority, details of which can be made available to you.

If you can’t find the answer to your question above, you can reach the Sterling team via the contact form on this page, by emailing us at or by calling on +44 (0)1792 478744

Candidate Guidance video

For most people, having your background checked by a potential employer doesn’t happen often and so it may feel a little unfamiliar. Our short video explains why you are being asked for a background check and what is involved.
View accessible version

Have more questions about your background check?

If you can’t find the answer to your question above, you can reach the Sterling team via the contact form below:
You may prefer to email us at or by calling on +44 (0)1792 478744.