Can HR ensure I have the right paperwork in place?

They should be able to do so, but it depends on several factors:

  • what you ask them for
  • whether you accept their recommendations
  • how much they really understand your business
  • how often the law and best practice changes
  • how they keep themselves up to date with changes

Then, like with many things, it may not be about having the right paperwork, but the systems and processes around that paperwork.

There is no point if having a great reference checking form and never sending it out to a new employee’s referees.

There is no point having a change of personal details form and never making it available to your staff to fill in their new address.

There is no point in having an organisational chart if it isn’t kept up to date with starters, leavers and promotions.

So, while the question, ‘can HR ensure I have the right paperwork in place?’ can be answered with a simple yes, you need to figure out the following:

  • Who is responsible for updating it?
    • It could be HR if you have an internal team
    • It could be your external retained HR support
    • It could be an appointed internal resource such as a PA
    • It could be that someone internally needs to ask an external resource such as an HR practitioner or a solicitor to check and update all documentation on an annual or biannual basis.
  • Who is responsible for issuing or using the paperwork?
  • Is there an HR system where the ‘paperwork’ is eliminated and pre-determined workflows are used with employee self-service and line manager access to ensure that systems and processes are followed?
  • Who owns the process?
  • Who is training others to use the systems and processes correctly?
  • What are the consequences of not having a proper system in place?
  • What is the penalty for not following the system or processes?


If you have an internal HR resource or use a retained support service, then the answers to some of these questions may be easier to answer than others.

While HR can help you to ensure that you have the right paperwork in place, they also need to help you ensure that you have the right policies, procedures, systems and processes in place to support the needs of your business.