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Colleague references policy

Last reviewed on 28 March 2019

Here at Co-op we know there might be times when you need to get a reference from us, like when you’re applying for a mortgage or for a job outside the Co-op. This policy gives some guidance about how we issue references.

Crucial bits

If you need a reference from the Co-op, you must get this from HR Services and not your line manager. The organisation asking for the reference needs to go to and complete the form.

So that we can identify you it’s important that the organisation quotes your six digit employee number and NI number when asking for the reference. HR Services will only issue a reference for a specific request – they don’t give general “to whom it may concern” references.

If the reference is to confirm your salary or other financial data e.g. to support a mortgage application, we must have proof that you’ve given your consent for us to provide this information. The organisation requesting the reference must send a copy of your written consent for us to release your information – failure to provide this will a cause a delay as we will need to contact you separately for consent.

HR Services won’t give out your personal details over the phone. If your manager is contacted by phone and asked to give a telephone reference for you, they’ll need to refer the caller to HR Services.

Things to think about

Contents of a reference

If the reference is to confirm your employment status and salary - for example if you’re applying for a mortgage or renting a property - the reference will confirm your wage or salary, how long you’ve been employed by the Co-op and your job title.

If the reference is for a prospective future employer, it will confirm your role, the place you work and the start and end dates of your employment.

Any references provided for Key Function Holders in Co-op Insurance will be more detailed than our usual references and will include any breaches of Conduct Rules, going back for a period of six years. For further information, contact the Co-op Insurance HR Risk and Governance Manager.

Personal references

At the Co-op, we only give factual references. We don’t give personal references because they can be based on personal judgement and so might not be completely accurate. We have a legal obligation to make sure that any reference we give is true, accurate and not misleading – so this is why we only provide factual information in references.

Your manager may give a general character reference if they want to, but this won’t be specifically about your work for the Co-op and won’t be on Co-op headed paper or be from a Co-op email.

Social media

Often people looking for new jobs use social media sites like LinkedIn and ask for “endorsements” or “recommendations” for their work on these sites.

If you ask your manager or colleagues for this kind of reference on social media, this policy will still apply. If a manager or colleague does write a recommendation for you on a site such as LinkedIn, this will be based on their own personal opinion and won’t be written on behalf of or representative of the views of the Co-op. There’s more information about sharing information via social networking sites within the Acceptable Use of Technology Policy available on the Intranet.

If you need further support

If you have questions about this, please speak to your manager. If managers need advice they can contact ER Services.