OK, so it's been nearly 10 years since I needed references for a job application, so maybe I'm out of date. I've had a p/t non-teaching job with my local council for the last 6 years, and I now want to apply for a volunteer role with a national organisation who want two referees nominated on the application form. The referees are supposed to comment on my character and my suitability for the new role. I've contacted my line manager at the council and have been told council policy states they can only provide a 'factual' reference, ie when I started and (one assumes) other statistical data if required. I have not been subject to any formal appraisal in this council job, for better or for worse. So that's it then - a reference that simply states that I started on date x, have turned up for work over the last 6 years when requested, and that's it? Nothing about my work ethic or any stuff I've done in the current workplace to help improve it? That's from a council I've served for 30 years solid in teaching and non-teaching posts. Makes me wonder why I bothered - my P45 can't come soon enough.