For Federal jobs, are references contacted before or after a tentative offer?

I applied for a Federal job in July 2020 and recently received a tentative offer. They haven't contacted my references yet (I listed on my job application) and never asked me for a list either. 

I'm new to the process and wondering what does the background check involve? Is this when they check references? One of the managers I have my application no longer works there and I am wondering if I should have a backup lined up. 

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