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I have been looking for jobs for a while because I am struggling with aspects of my current one and have given up trying to resolve them with my line manager.

I have been informed that my current employer is unhappy with my level of achievement and is considering beginning competency processes. I think this starts with an informal meeting and only becomes formal at the three month stage.

Either way I am inclined to ask our HR department for a reference rather than my line manager. As I understand it this contains minimal information beyond employment dates etc.

If I am informally or formally within the competency process by the time I need a reference, will a UK HR department reference mention it?

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There isn't really a definitive answer to this question as the only real rules regarding references in the UK are that they must be true.

Essentially this will boil down to what the HR person wants to do - if they so choose they can mention the competency process or not. Typically though I wouldn't expect them to mention it, if nothing else because of the commonly believed myth that you aren't allowed to give bad references in the UK. If they were specifically asked about it they would have to answer truthfully but I'd suggest that's a pretty unlikely scenario.

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