Understanding Deed Poll

Understanding Deed Poll

September 8, 2023

In today’s dynamic business environment, it’s not uncommon for employees to undergo personal changes, including altering their names via deed poll. In fact an employee can go by any name they like, and do not have to follow a legal process to start using a new name.

However an employee would need a ‘deed poll’ to apply for or to change official documents like a passport or driving licence.

It used to be something that only happened if someone wanted to be Elvis (Brew Dog did this) or if someone wanted to take a valued name such as the name their child had (a new book by Rory Cellan Jones of the BBC shows how his Mum did this for him).

These days we can see it for the most personal of reasons and it is for this reason that employeers need to handle this change sensitively.

Here’s a streamlined guide to effectively navigate an employee name change in a professional setting.

1. Legal Recognition

Upon receiving a deed poll, understand that the name change holds legal weight. This necessitates the immediate and thorough update of all official correspondences and documents to reflect the employee’s new identity.

  • This includes informing HMRC, and the need to apply for a new Enhanced DBS check as your new name will not automatically change.
  • Also in Scotland, the employee must inform Disclosure Scotland regarding the PVG scheme if they have joined it and they should update the SSSC.

2. Update Relevant Systems

Adjustments should be made promptly in all company systems, ranging from email accounts and office directories to payroll and HR databases such as Breathe HR.

3. Maintain Confidentiality

An employee’s decision to change their name is deeply personal. Maintain utmost discretion regarding the matter and limit discussions unless deemed necessary.

4. Team Communication

When appropriate, and with the employee’s consent, inform relevant departments or teams to ensure a smooth transition in daily communications and collaborations. But only go in to as much detail as the employee would like!

5. Policy Implementation

If your organisation doesn’t have a procedure in place for name changes, consider establishing a clear policy. It aids in providing a standardised approach and ensures all stakeholders are aligned.

So the most important thing to consider in this situation is to ensure that all of the legal correspondences and documents are updated appropriately. However, there are more personal issues that may arise regarding confidentiality and the potential for discrimination – which as an employer you must give ample consideration.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on 01527 909436.

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