SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter outlines the process which should be undertaken when recruiting staff, in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in Derby and Derbyshire. It should be used in conjunction with your own agency's policy and procedures for Safer Recruitment.
Section 11, Use of Volunteers, and Section 12, Use of Agency Staff, were added in July 2017 and summarise the checks and induction processes which must be carried out in relation to volunteers and agency staff before they commence working with children and families. Guidance in relation to support and supervision of agency staff and volunteers is also provided.
- Advertisements and Information for Applicants
- Other Checks before Interview
- Selection of Candidates - Short Listing
- Interviewing Short-Listed Candidates
- Offer of Appointment to Successful Candidate
- Induction and Supervision of Newly Appointed Staff
- DBS Checks and Regulated Activity
- Use of Volunteers
- Use of Agency Staff
All organisations that employ adults or volunteers to work with children should adopt a consistent and thorough process of safe recruitment in order to ensure that those recruited are suitable and should include enhanced Disclosure and Barring (DBS) checks. For more information on DBS checks, please see Disclosure and Barring Service, GOV.UK.
These procedures comply with the safe recruitment recommendations of the Bichard inquiry published in 2004 (see The Bichard Inquiry Report), but they do not cover all issues relating to safe recruitment and employment issues. All DSCB member organisations should ensure that in order to implement safe recruitment and selection practices reference is made to relevant government guidance, examples of good practice guidance, and model policies and procedures.Safe recruitment practice should also extend to include those persons who may not have direct contact with children, but because of their presence, will still be seen as safe and trustworthy. The principles of safe recruitment should, therefore, be included in the terms of any contract drawn up between the organisation and contractors or agencies that provide services for, or adults to work with, children for whom the organisation is responsible. The organisation should monitor compliance with the contract which should also include a requirement that the provider will not sub-contract to any personnel who have not been part of a safe recruitment process.
All organisations involved in the selection of adults to work with children should ensure that the staff responsible for recruitment undertake safer recruitment training so that they have the skills to draw out child protection issues during an interview. The DSCB will monitor / audit the take up of such training to ensure that all organisations have appropriately trained staff involved in their recruitment processes.
3. Advertisements and Information for Applicants
Organisations should demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding and protecting children by ensuring that all recruitment advertising material contains a policy statement to this effect.
All information given to the interested applicant should highlight the importance placed by the organisation on rigorous selection processes.
The information should make clear that the identity of the candidate, if successful, will need to be checked thoroughly, and that where a Disclosure and Barring Service check is appropriate, the person will be required to complete an application for a Disclosure straight away.
The job description should clearly set out the extent of the relationship with, and the degree of responsibility for, children with whom the person will have contact.
The person specification should explain:
- The qualifications and experience needed for the role;
- The competences and qualities that the applicant should be able to demonstrate; and
- How these will be tested and assessed during the selection process.
The application form should ask the applicant to provide:
- Full personal information, including any former names by which the person has been known in the past;
- A full history of employment, both paid and voluntary, since leaving school, including any periods of further education or training;
- Details of any relevant academic and/or vocational qualifications; and
- A declaration whether the person has any convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings and details as relevant.
The references received should be scrutinised and followed up to ensure their validity.
The application form should request both professional and character references, one of which should be from the applicant's current or most recent employer. Additional references may be sought where appropriate. For example, where the applicant is not currently working with children, but has done so in the past, a reference from that employer should be sought in addition to that from the current or most recent employer if this is different.
References should contain objective verifiable information and in order to achieve this, a reference pro-forma with questions relating to the candidate's suitability for the role should be provided.
If a member of staff is asked to provide a reference on behalf of their organisation, they must be mindful of their responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children through the information they provide to a prospective employer. The reference should include:
- Honest, evidence based (verifiable) and accurate information;
- Information provided in a straightforward and unambiguous manner;
- Up to date information, including checks with personnel of employment history within the organisation;
- A simple factual response to any questions about disciplinary action;
- A clear statement as to the candidates' suitability to work with children;
- Information that a reasonable potential employer, for the particular job, would consider material to the decision of whether or not to employ a person, having regard to whether they would pose a risk to children.
The references received should be scrutinised and followed up to ensure their validity.
5. Other Checks before Interview
If the applicant claims to have specific qualifications or experience relevant to working with children which may not be verified by a reference, the facts should be verified by making contact with the relevant body or previous employer and any discrepancy explored during the interview.
6. Selection of Candidates - Short Listing
There are standard procedures for short listing to ensure that the best candidates are selected fairly. All applicants should be assessed equally against the criteria contained in the person specification without exception or variation.
Safe recruitment means that all applications should additionally be:
- Checked to ensure that they are fully and properly completed. Incomplete applications should not be accepted and should be returned to the candidate for completion;
- Scrutinised for any anomalies or discrepancies in the information provided;
- Considered with regard to any history of gaps, or repeated changes, in employment, or moves to supply work, without clear and verifiable reasons.
Successful candidates will be required to provide documentary evidence of their identity, either a full birth certificate, passport or photo card driving license and additionally a document such as a utility bill or bank statement that verifies the candidates' name and address. Where appropriate, change of name documentation must also be provided.Candidates should also be asked to bring original or certified copies of documents confirming any necessary or relevant educational and professional qualifications. If the successful candidate cannot produce original documents or certified copies written confirmation of his/her relevant qualifications must be obtained from the awarding body.
7. Interviewing Short-Listed Candidates
Questions should be set which test the candidate's specific skills and abilities to carry out the job for which they have applied (normally set against the criteria in the person specification).
The candidate's attitude toward children and young people in general should be tested along with evidence of their commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. At least one member of the interview panel should be trained in how best this can be done.Any gaps and changes in employment history should be fully explored during the interview, as should any discrepancies arising from information supplied by the candidate or by the referee.
8. Offer of Appointment to Successful Candidate
An offer of appointment should be conditional upon pre-employment checks being satisfactorily completed, including:
- A Disclosure and Barring Service check, appropriate to the role (including checks against the relevant Barred List);
- Verification of the candidate's medical fitness;
- Verification of any relevant professional status and whether any restrictions have been imposed by a regulatory body such as the National College for Teaching and Leadership or the Health and Care Professions Council.
All checks should be confirmed in writing and retained on the candidate's personnel file, together with photocopies of and documents used to verify his/her identity and qualifications. A record should be kept of:
- The date the disclosure was obtained and who by;
- The level of the disclosure and the unique reference number; and
- On what basis was any decision made in respect of information about offences and the risk to children.
A record should be kept of evidence to show that such checks have been carried out in respect of supply staff and volunteers whether recruited directly or through an agency.
Satisfactory references must be kept on the candidates personnel file or, in the case of supply staff or volunteers not recruited through an agency, on a central record within the organisation.Where information gained by the employer from either references or other checks calls into question the candidate's suitability to work with children, or where the candidate has provided false information in support of the application the facts must be reported to the Police and/or the DBS.
9. Induction and Supervision of Newly Appointed Staff
The induction of all newly appointed staff should include an introduction to the organisation's child protection policies and procedures. This should include being made aware of the identity and specific responsibilities of those staff with designated safeguarding responsibilities.
New staff members should be provided with information about safe practice and given a full explanation of their role and responsibilities and the standard of conduct and behaviour expected.
They should also be made aware of the organisation's personnel procedures relating to disciplinary issues and the relevant whistle blowing policy.
The programme of induction should also include attendance at child protection training at a level appropriate to the member of staff's work with children.
Senior managers should ensure that their staff are adequately and appropriately supervised and that they have ready access to advice, expertise and management support in all matters relating to safeguarding and child protection.
Any concerns that arise through this process of continuing supervision, which call into question the person's suitability to work with children, should be managed according to the procedures for the management of allegations against staff as outlined in Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers Procedure.
10. DBS Checks and Regulated Activity
An eligible organisation recruiting to a position (either paid or unpaid) that falls within the definition of Regulated Activity, may request an applicant to complete an enhanced DBS check with barred list check to help determine their suitability for the position they are applying for prior to engaging them.
Regulated Activity covers anyone working closely with children or vulnerable adults, paid or unpaid, not part of a family or personal arrangement, on a frequent or intensive basis. It can include, but is not limited to, any of the following:
- Teaching, training or instruction, care or supervision of children or provided wholly or mainly to vulnerable adults;
- Providing advice or guidance to children and young people;
- Any form of healthcare treatment or therapy provided to children and young people;
- Driving a vehicle that is being used for the specific purpose of conveying children or vulnerable adults;
- Working in a specified place (see below).
Regulated activity is considered frequent if it is carried out once a week or more and intensive if it occurs on four days or more in a single month.
Individual organisations may also request applicants (who do not meet the definition of regular or intensive activity) to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced check without Barring, where the applicant will nevertheless have contact with children as part of their role (e.g. where they are on a rota which provides regulated activity but the individual's rota schedule is less frequent than indicated above).
11. Use of Volunteers
Organisations may use volunteers to supplement the resources of paid employees. For smaller organisations volunteers can make the majority of the workforce.
Volunteers should be appointed following the same principles as paid staff whereby all the necessary identity and background checks are completed. It is important to support volunteers (once appointed) in the same way as paid employees, ensuring that they are clear about their role and the organisation's expectations.
Performance should be monitored and volunteers should be provided with the appropriate training. It is good practice for volunteers to have a contract outlining the role and they should be informed that they are covered by the Complaints, Capability and Disciplinary policies of the organisation.
Before a volunteer is taken on, references should be taken up and their suitability tested against set criteria outlined within their role/job description. Where applicable, Disclosure and Barring checks must be completed (see Section 10, DBS Checks and Regulated Activity and Disclosure and Barring Service – a Guide to Eligibility for DBS Checks).
A thorough induction should be completed with volunteers to ensure they are familiar with local arrangements re first aid procedures, fire regulations including drills, exits and assembly points, data protection, and specific policies and procedures relevant to the placement, etc.
12. Use of Agency Staff
Some vacancies need to be covered immediately and the use of Agency staff can be a useful option for organisations. Engaging agency staff, through ad hoc arrangements can be costly. Using a single 'neutral broker' can make a significant contribution to the efficient use of agency staff. In addition by using a single broker they become more familiar with the requirements of the posts which contribute to the provision of suitable experienced and qualified staff.
When appointing Agency staff, the requirement for completing the relevant checks for professional qualifications and registration membership resides with the Agency. It is essential that confirmation is obtained from the Agency in writing and that a record of these checks is maintained by the host. The Agency is responsible for completing the Disclosure and Barring Check but should share any relevant information with you so you can make the necessary risk assessments to determine whether you deem the worker suitable to carry out the duties of the post.
A thorough induction should be completed with the Agency worker to ensure they are familiar with local arrangements re first aid procedures, fire regulations including drills, exits and assembly points, data protection, and specific policies and procedures relevant to the placement, etc.
While there is an expectation that training is provided by the Agency, it is still important that agency staff are clear about their role within your organisation and this might require the provision of some training (see Section 9, Induction and Supervision of Newly Appointed Staff). Any concerns about the performance of an agency worker should be referred to the agency and where the concern brings into question their suitability to work with children, the matter referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer. Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers Procedure.