Practice Guidance: The Recruitment and Selection of Staff in ‘Regulated Positions'

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INTRODUCTION^

1.The tragic murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham in 2002 highlighted clearly and painfully the areas for improvement needed in the safeguarding systems.  In response to this tragedy, the Government commissioned an inquiry chaired by Lord Michael Bichard to investigate and make recommendations.  The inquiry findings made a number of recommendations on improving the area of safer recruitment and selection. 

 

2.The importance of ensuring employers make safer employment decisions and that they safeguard the health and safety of children and vulnerable persons in our service community has been given paramount importance in Government legislation.

 

3.Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, Department for Education and Skills (DfES),outlines the responsibilities of Safeguarding Children Boards (SCBs) and states that one of the ‘core functions’ of SCBs is to ensure appropriate policies and procedures are in place with regard to the recruitment and supervision of people who work with children.

 

4.Safe recruitment is central to the safeguarding of children, and vulnerable persons in our Service community.  All organisations employing staff or volunteers to work with children or vulnerable persons have a duty to safeguard and promote their welfare by ensuring that they adopt safe recruitment and selection procedures which prevent unsuitable persons from gaining access to children and vulnerable persons.

 

5.This guidance document from the Headquarters British Forces Germany (HQ BFG) Safeguarding Board sets out the procedures relating to safer recruitment, appointment and employment of personnel working with children and vulnerable persons in the Service community or associated with that community. 

 

6.It is anticipated that there will be further Government guidance published on safer recruitment, at which point this document will be revised.

 

7.It is the responsibility of each unit, agency or organisation, including those within the voluntary and community sector operating in the BFG geographical area of responsibility (AOR), to consider how these principles can be embedded in and applied to their organisation.

 

8.Nothing can be more important than ensuring that children and vulnerable persons are properly safeguarded.

 

SCOPE^

9.This guidance applies to all adults who have contact with children and vulnerable persons through their work whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.  It applies to permanent, temporary and agency staff and to those recruited from overseas.  It also applies to staff who do not have direct responsibility for children and vulnerable persons, but who will have contact with children and vulnerable persons within the organisation and will be seen as safe and trustworthy and/or have access to confidential and sensitive information, eg administrative staff, receptionists, caretakers and maintenance workers.

 

10.This guidance embraces nationally recommended standards in recruitment and selection, including those recommendations arising from Bichard Inquiry (2004) and is consistent with the guidance issued by the DfES in June 2005, Safeguarding Children: Safer Recruitment and Selection in Education Settings.

 

POLICY STATEMENT^

11.Organisations and agencies must have a policy statement outlining their commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable persons.  It should convey that robust recruitment and selection procedures are in place to identify and deter people who might abuse children and vulnerable persons or are unsuitable for employment.  They are to minimise the possibility of children and vulnerable persons suffering harm from those in a position of trust.

 

12.Sample Statement:

‘This unit/agency/organisation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable persons.  It is also committed to engaging with children, vulnerable persons and staff in policy and practice development, and proactively encouraging feedback’.

 

13.It is recommended that such a statement be included in:

  1. Publicity material.
  2. Recruitment websites.
  3. Job advertisements.
  4. Application form.
  5. Candidate information packs.
  6. Person Specifications.
  7. Job Descriptions.
  8. Competency frameworks.
  9. Induction training.

CONTRACTORS^

14.Many organisations operating in the BFG geographical AOR providing services and access to children and vulnerable persons use contractors and agency staff.  Organisations should ensure that the terms of reference of any contract they let, that requires the contractor to employ staff to work with, or provide services for, children and or vulnerable persons for whom the establishment is responsible, also requires the contractor to adopt and implement the measures described in this document.  This should be confirmed in writing and include the name(s) of the contractor’s staff and verification that Suitability and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks have been obtained and are clear.  It is also important to monitor the contractor’s compliance.

 

VOLUNTEERS^

15.Voluntary agencies and employer organisations and agencies recruiting the services of volunteers who have regular contact with children, should adopt the following procedures:

  1. When actively seeking volunteers, and considering candidates for volunteer positions and about whom there is little or no recent knowledge, adopt the same recruitment measures as for paid staff.
  2. In education and Early Years settings when it is required to seek assistance from volunteers to take on a particular roll, eg a parent who is well known to the establishment, a streamlined procedure can be adopted – seek references, ensure there are no concerns in the Service community, hold an informal interview to gauge attitude and suitability for the post and undertake Suitability and DBS disclosure checks.
  3. For ‘one-off’ events, such as accompanying teachers and pupils on a day outing, helping at a youth football tournament, the above measures would be unnecessary, provided that the person is not unsupervised and left alone with children.
  4. When recruiting volunteers via another organisation, eg UK football clubs or St John Ambulance trainers, assurances must be obtained from that organisation that the person has been cleared through the DBS disclosure checking procedure or by contacting the Employment Disclosure Office for advice.  This should be confirmed in writing and include the name(s) of the staff being employed.

 

ELEMENTS OF SAFE PRACTICE FOR RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION^

16.It is important that any information provided to applicants (job adverts, job descriptions, person specifications, information about the role and/or organisation) is consistent about the priority to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons and their welfare.  See Appendix 1 - Sample Information Pack.

17.Within the advert and information given to the applicant, reference should be made to the need for the organisation/agency to obtain Suitability and DBS disclosure checks, including checks against statutory Lists held in the United Kingdom in accordance with Standing Orders for the British Forces in Germany (SOBF(G) 3352 (Regulations for Suitable Person checks for Personnel Working with Children and Vulnerable Persons).

 

18.This properly enables candidates to make informed decisions about whether or not they wish to apply.

 

19.Safer practice in recruitment means giving consideration to safeguarding arrangements at every step of the process.

 

PLANNING AND ADVERTISING^

20.It is important to be clear about the mix of qualities, qualifications and experience a successful candidate will need to demonstrate, and whether there are any particular matters that need to be stated in the advertisement for the post, in order to prevent unwanted applications.

 

21.Planning is vital to successful recruitment and it is important to organise the selection process to allow sufficient time between the short-listing and interview to enable references to be obtained before interview.

 

22.The recruitment process needs to be planned, including who will be involved, responsibilities and timescales.  Line managers should consult with either the Recruitment Officer at the Defence Business Services (DBS) for United Kingdom Based Civilians (UKBCs), Labour Support Unit (LSU) for Locally Employed Civilian (LEC) staff or HR Department for other agencies including voluntary agencies.

 

23.The advertisement is to include a statement about the employer’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable persons, and reference made to the need for the successful applicant to undertake a DBS disclosure check where appropriate.

 

24.It is good practice to create a checklist in relation to all recruitment to which this practice guidance applies.  See Appendix 2 – Checklist: Appointment of New Employees (paid and unpaid).

 

JOB DESCRIPTION^

25.Once a post becomes vacant or a new post is created, the job description and person specification need to be reviewed to ensure compliance with safe recruitment guidance.

 

26.This should clearly state:

  1. The main duties and responsibilities of the post.
  2. The post holder’s individual responsibility for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and/or vulnerable persons within the context of their role.
  3. The extent of contact/responsibility for children and/or vulnerable persons.

PERSON SPECIFICATION^

27.The Person Specification should include:

  1. The essential and desirable qualifications and experience.
  2. Other requirements needed to perform the role in relation to working with children and or vulnerable persons.
  3. The competencies and qualities that the successful candidate should be able to demonstrate.

INFORMATION PACK TO CANDIDATES^

28.All information given to interested applicants should highlight the importance of the rigorous selection process and the duty to safeguard children and vulnerable persons.

 

29.The pack should include:

  1. The application form and explanatory notes about completing the form.
  2. The job description and person specification.
  3. Relevant information about the organisation and the recruitment process.
  4. The organisation/agency’s Child Protection Policy Statement.
  5. A statement of the terms and conditions relating to the post.

APPLICATION FORM^

30.Ministry of Defence (MoD) organisations and agencies must use an application form to obtain a common set of core data from all applicants.  All other organisations are recommended to follow this guidance.  It is not good practice to accept a curriculum vitae (CV) drawn up by applicants in place of an application form because this will only contain the information the applicant wishes to present and may leave out relevant details.

 

31.It is important the application form is designed to enable the gathering of full information in relation to the applicant.  This information should then be used as part of the full vetting and verification process of the successful applicant.

 

32.The application form should refer to the organisation/agency’s commitment to safeguarding children and vulnerable persons.  It should contain:

  1. Identifying details of the applicant including current and former names, current address and National Insurance Number.
    NB: to comply with the Employment Equality (Age) Regulation (Oct 2006), the Date of Birth should not be included on the main application form.
  2. A statement of any academic and/or vocational qualifications the applicant has obtained, including awarding body and name of institution.
  3. A full history in chronological order since leaving secondary education, including periods of any post secondary education/training and part-time and voluntary work as well as full time employment, with start dates, explanations from periods not in employment or education/training and reasons for leaving employment.
  4. Details of referees.  One referee should be the applicant’s current or most recent employer/line manager, not a colleague.  Normally, two referees should be sufficient.
    1. Where an applicant is not currently working with children and/or vulnerable persons, but has done so in the past, it is important that a referee is also obtained from the employer by whom the person was most recently employed in work with children in addition to the current or most recent employer.
    2. Referees should not be accepted from relatives or friends.
  5. A statement of the personal qualities and experience that the applicant believes are relevant to his/her suitability for the post and how he/she meets the person specification.
  6. An explanation that the post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore that all convictions, cautions and bind-overs, including those regarded as ‘spent’ or ‘pending’ must be declared.  It should require a signed statement that the person is not on the Disclosure and Barring Service Barred Lists for being disqualified from work with children or vulnerable persons or subject to any sanctions imposed by a regulatory body, such as the General Teaching Council (GTC), and either has no convictions, cautions, bind-overs, or has attached details of their record in a sealed envelope marked ‘Confidential’.

33.The Application Form should make clear to all prospective applicants that: 

  1. Where appropriate the successful applicant will be required to undertake Suitability checks to the appropriate level in accordance with SOBF(G) 3352.
  2. The prospective organisation/agency will seek references on short-listed applicants, and may approach previous employers for information to verify particular experience or qualifications before interview.
  3. If the applicant is currently working with children, either on a paid or voluntary basis, his/her previous employer will be asked about disciplinary offences relating to children, including any in which the penalty is ‘time-expired’ (for example, where a warning could no longer be taken into account in any new disciplinary hearing).
  4. The applicant should also be asked to declare whether they have been subject to any child protection investigations, including allegations relating to abuse, bullying, intimidation, professional malpractice or professional misconduct.  If they have, details must be provided.

34.It is good practice for a separate, confidential form to be used to gather information from applicants relating to any criminal history or child protection investigations, including allegations or any disciplinary investigations and actions.  See Appendix 3 – Sample Safeguarding Young People and Vulnerable Persons Information Request. 

 

35.Applicants can be assured that the ‘confidential envelope’ will only be opened if and when they are short-listed.  If the applicant is not short-listed the confidential form should be destroyed by secure means.

 

REFERENCES^

36.The purpose of seeking references is to obtain objective and factual information to support appointment decisions.  They should always be sought and obtained directly from the referee.  Open references and testimonials, ie ‘To whom it may concern’, together with references provided by the applicant, are unreliable as they may have been forged.  Also open references and testimonials may be the result of a ‘compromise agreement’ and are unlikely to include any adverse comments.  See Appendix 4 – Notes on Employment Disclosure References.

 

39.Key points in relation to references:

  1. One reference should be from the current or most recent employer/line manager or HR (not from a colleague within the organisation).
  2. A copy of the job description and person specification should be included with all requests.
  3. One of the references should be from employment, if applicable, involving direct or indirect access to children or vulnerable persons.  If this has not been provided but the applicant has previously worked in such employment then he/she should be informed that you intend to take up a reference from a named employer and confirm reason for leaving.
  4. Employment references must be on headed paper and signed by a senior manager.
  5. Referees should ideally have first-hand knowledge of a applicant’s work involving direct or in-direct, access to children or vulnerable persons.
  6. All requests for references should seek objective, verifiable information and not subjective opinion.  The use of reference proformas can help achieve that.  See Appendix 5 – Sample Standard Reference Request.
  7. The referee should be asked whether they are completely satisfied that the applicant is suitable to work with children or vulnerable persons and, if not, for specific details of the referee’s concerns and the reasons why the referee believes the person might be unsuitable.
  8. Should it be necessary, referees should be contacted by telephone to follow up information or clarify their validity.  Where necessary this should be done before the interview.
  9. All referees should be asked to comment on any disciplinary investigations or outcomes – including those that are pending – any allegations relating to abuse, bullying, intimidation, malpractice or professional misconduct, involving children or vulnerable persons.

38.Some companies will only provide you with the minimum of detail even when asked for more.  There is little you can do if this happens as there is no legal obligation to comply with any practice guidance.  This makes it all the more important that the other areas of your recruitment process are robust.

 

39.On receipt of references:

  1. They should be checked to ensure all questions have been answered satisfactorily.
  2. Any information about past disciplinary action or allegations should be considered in the circumstances of the individual case.  Cases in which an issue was satisfactorily resolved some time ago or an allegation determined to be unfounded or did not require formal disciplinary sanctions, and in which no further issues have been raised, are less likely to cause concern than more serious or recent concerns, or issues that were not resolved satisfactorily.  A history of repeated concerns or allegations over time should give cause for concern.
  3. References must be viewed and the information considered during both the sift and interview stages. The interview panel is to have access to all  relevant recruitment documentation at both stages.  

QUALIFICATIONS AND TRAINING^

40.All short-listed applicants should be required to bring with them to interview original qualifications or certificates relating with those specified in the application form, including, evidence of any professional registrations required for the post e.g. Social Work registration or Nursing and Midwifery Council registrations. During the interview these essential and desirable qualifications should be cross-referenced to the application form.  Copies should be taken and kept with the recruitment and selection information on each applicant.

 

41.It is very easy for an unscrupulous applicant to falsify qualifications.  When there is doubt as to their authenticity, further checks with the awarding bodies must be made.

 

INTERVIEWS^

42.The interview should assess the merits of each applicant against the job description and person specification and explore their suitability to work with children or vulnerable persons.

 

43.Interviews are an opportunity to:

  1. Question gaps in employment history and/or frequent changes in employment/education, including reasons for leaving.
  2. Explore gaps and strengths demonstrated in the application form and personal statement.
  3. Expand on the applicant’s understanding of the role and their duty of care to safeguard the welfare of children or vulnerable persons.

44.In addition to the applicant’s ability to perform the duties of the post, the interview should also explore issues relating to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and or vulnerable persons, including:

  1. Motivation to work with children and or vulnerable persons.
  2. Ability to form and maintain appropriate relationships and personal boundaries with children.
  3. Emotional resilience in working with challenging people and situations.
  4. Behaviour and attitudes in relation to authority and control.
  5. Values and ethics in relation to children, safeguarding, and child protection.

IDENTITY^

45.It is important to ensure that the person attending for interview is the actual applicant who has applied for the role and been short-listed.  All applicants should bring with them documentary evidence of their identity, either a current driving licence or passport including a photograph, or a full birth certificate, and a document such as a financial statement that shows the applicant’s current name and address, and where appropriate change of name documentation.  Some form of photographic ID must be seen.

 

INTERVIEW PANEL^

46.A panel must consist of at least two people, allowing one member to observe and assess the applicant and make notes, while the applicant is talking to the other.  One member of the panel must be trained in safer recruitment practice.

The members of the panel should:

  1. Have the necessary authority to make decisions about the appointment.
  2. Meet before the interview to agree their assessment criteria in accordance with the person specification and to prepare a list of questions they will ask all applicants relating to the requirement of the post.  In addition, review safeguarding references and self disclosure information that has been provided by applicants.
  3. Identify any issues they wish to explore with each applicant based on the information provided in their application form and in the references.
  4. Notes of the applicant’s interview answers must be collated by chair of the panel and must be stored by HR department.

DECISION MAKING^

48.It is crucial that the person responsible for the decision-making has access to all the papers and information relating to the successful applicant and is satisfied that the person is suitable to work directly or indirectly with children or vulnerable persons prior to any decision to appoint being made.

 

49.The person responsible for the appointment decision must be satisfied with:

  1. Verification of the person’s identity and qualifications and that they are consistent with those specified on the application form.
  2. Receipt of two satisfactory references to the employer from acceptable referees.
  3. Verification of professional status when required.
  4. The information relating to criminal offences, disciplinary investigations and action, and child protection/safeguarding allegations.
  5. The overall assessment of the applicant, including the assessment of personal suitability.  

50.When an applicant does not demonstrate personal suitability when tested against the defined competencies/selection criteria, they must not be appointed.

 

CONDITIONAL OFFER OF APPOINTMENT: PRE-APPOINTMENT CHECKS^

51.It is good practice for all references and checks to have been undertaken during the interview and selection process.

 

52.An offer of appointment to the successful applicant must be conditional upon:

  1. Receipt of at least two satisfactory written references to the employer, where possible confirmed by telephone.
  2. Verification of the applicant’s identity.
  3. A satisfactory completion of Suitability checks in accordance with SOBA (G) 3352, which includes a check the Disclosure and Barring Service Barred Lists, including a Reliability check for those applicants who have been resident overseas in the past five years.
  4. Evidence of permission to work for those who are not nationals of a European Economic Area country.
  5. Verification of applicant’s medical fitness to have regular and unsupervised access to children and or vulnerable adults.
  6. Verification of applicant’s qualifications.
  7. Verification of professional status/registration where required, ie General Social Care Council (GSCC) for social workers, General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) for teachers, Nursing and Midwifery Council(NMC) for nursing and midwifery.
  8. Verification of successful completion of statutory induction/probationary period where appropriate.

53.There is provision within the Suitability check process for an applicant in certain circumstances to be appointed pending completion of the mandatory Suitability and DBS checks.  It is therefore permitted for an applicant to be supervised whilst awaiting completion of DBS and Suitability Checks.  Further details are available in paragraph 24 of SOBF(G) 3352  and the Line Manager’s Certificate at Annex G of the document is for use by line managers when accepting the risk to employ an applicant whilst awaiting clearance to work with children and vulnerable persons. 

 

54.All checks should be:

  1. Confirmed in writing.
  2. Documented and retained on the personal file (subject to restrictions on the retention of information imposed by DBS regulations).

55.If any of the conditions detailed below apply, then the facts should be reported to the Service Police, Employment Disclosure Office and/or Disclosure and Barring Service.  Contact details are available for the Service Police and ISA from the SO2 Employment Disclosure, Bielefeld Military (81) x 2676:

  1. The applicant is found to be either on the DBS ‘Children’s’ or Adults’ Barred Lists or the HQ BFG ‘Debarment Register’ or the DBS or Reliability checks show that the applicant has been disqualified from working with children or Vulnerable Persons by a court.
  2. The applicant has provided false information in, or in support of, his/her application to work in a position with regular and or unsupervised access to children and vulnerable persons.
  3. There are serious concerns about an applicant’s suitability to work with children.

56.Anyone who is barred from working with children in a regulated position, as set out in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and or Section 36 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, is committing an offence if they apply for, offer to do, accept or do any work in any of the regulated positions set out in the Act.  It is also an offence for an employer knowingly to offer work in a regulated position, or to procure work in a regulated position for an individual who is disqualified from working with children, or fail to remove such an individual from such work.  The details are attached at Appendix 6 – People Barred from Working with Children and Vulnerable Persons.

 

EMPLOYMENT DISCLOSURE AND SUITABILITY CHECKS^

57.The disclosure requirements for MoD personnel, dependents/volunteers and members of Voluntary Organisations including those recruited in the BFG geographical AOR are contained in Annex D and Annex E of SOBF (G) 3352.

 

58.Advice and guidance on the British Forces Germany (BFG) Disclosure requirements should be sought from the SO2 Employment Disclosure, G1 Branch, HQ BFG.

 

DBS CHECKS^

59.All ‘Regulated Activity’ positions now require an enhanced level of DBS disclosure check to be obtained.

 

60.The Standard Disclosure was withdrawn on 12th October 2009.

 

61.The Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity contains details of both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, formal reprimands and final warnings held on the Police National Computer.  It also states if there is nothing held on record.  It may also reveal police intelligence, or ‘soft’ information that may suggest cause for caution. It should also reveal whether the applicant in on the DBS Barred Lists.

 

62.HQ BFG considers an Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity to be mandatory for all posts that may involve regular and unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable persons.

 

63.It is recommended that Enhanced DBS checks should be undertaken on staff and volunteers, unless there are specific reasons that this is not necessary for the specific post.

 

64.A record should be kept of the date the Suitability and DBS checks were obtained, by whom, level of disclosure and unique reference numbers.

 

65.Suitability and DBS checks should be:

  1. Treated as confidential.
  2. Reliability Check certificates should be retained for the duration of the person’s employment and then returned to the Employment Disclosure Office.

POSITIVE TRACES^

66.Employers may make a judgement about suitability for employment on completion of all necessary Suitability checks, including DBS disclosure checks.  Employers should take into account only those offences which maybe relevant to the post in question.  In deciding on relevance the following should be considered:

  1. What is the seriousness of the offence and its relevance to the safety of other employees, customers, clients or property?
  2. How long ago did the offence occur?
  3. Was the offence a one-off, or part of a history of offending?
  4. Is it a juvenile or adult caution/conviction?
  5. Is the behaviour that constituted the offence(s) a particular cause for concern (eg if it was a sexual offence, was it a teenager sleeping with his under-aged girlfriend or something more serious; if a drug offence, was it possession of a small amount of cannabis for own use or possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply?)
  6. Is the context behind that behaviour a cause for concern (eg was the conviction for violence a result of someone in great fear hitting an assailant or a premeditated violent assault)?
  7. Were there particular circumstances at the time that led to the offending (eg dysfunctional family, financial hardship) which have now changed?
  8. What evidence is there of change (eg job, family, mortgage)?
  9. i.What is the person’s attitude to the offence(s)?  Is it one of remorse?  Do they take responsibility for it, recognise the harm they caused?

67.If the answers to most of these questions are reassuring, then the presumption may be that the applicant is not a risk. If an employer determines that an applicant is unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable persons then the decision is to be notified to the SO2 Employment Disclosure.

 

68.It is not uncommon for applicants to become anxious about the Suitability and DBS disclosure check process.  All applicants should be provided with information about the process and assured that a criminal offence does not necessarily bar them from working with children and or vulnerable persons. However, they should be advised that if they are called for an interview the information relating to any criminal history will be discussed with them.

 

69.This does not apply when the offence is one that bans the person from working with children and vulnerable persons and also makes it an offence to apply for such employment.

 

HQ BFG DISCLOSURE REVIEW PANEL^

70.MoD sponsored organisations and agencies operating in the BFG geographical AOR (including NAAFI) who receive positive results from any check and are unable to reach a decision as to an individual’s suitability, are to refer such matters to the Disclosure Review Panel for decision.  The point of contact is the SO2 Employment Disclosure, G1 Branch, HQ BFG.

 

DEVELOPING A PROCESS FOR MANAGING DISCLOSURE INFORMATION^

71.BFG recruitment agencies and units, agencies and organisations which employ personnel in regulated positions are to appoint a Unit Disclosure Officer, of a rank not less than Staff Sergeant or equivalent.  They are responsible to the Commanding Officer/Head of Establishment/Chief Executive, for maintaining a register of all positions for which the person employed is required to hold a DBS clearance.  Advice can be sought from SO2 Employment Disclosure, HQ BFG.

 

72.It is also imperative that clear and consistent processes are established to ensure that:

  1. The person(s) accountable in the unit/agency/organisation for requesting Suitability and DBS checks and managing the process is identified.
  2. Monitoring takes place to ensure that relevant people have Suitability and DBS checks at the appropriate level.
  3. Appropriate and nominated staff are responsible for verifying documentation and decision-making in relation to information received.
  4. There is a process for assessing potential causes for concern and associated risks.
  5. Information is evaluated consistently and fairly.
  6. Secure systems are in place for ensuring only designated officers have the correct information about employees/potential employees.

CHECKS ON OVERSEAS APPLICANTS^

73.The same safe recruitment and Suitability checks should be made on overseas staff as for all other staff, including DBS checks unless it has been verified that the applicant has not previously lived and worked in the UK in the past five years.

 

74.The DBS is only able to access information which covers the period of time that the individual has been resident within the UK as part of its Disclosure service.  DBS is unable to access overseas criminal records or other relevant information.

 

75.Where an applicant has worked or been resident overseas, the organisation/agency should obtain a check of the applicant’s criminal record from the relevant authority in that country and seek additional information about an applicant’s conduct.  Not all countries provide the service and advice can be sought from the DBS, Overseas Information Service or by contacting the Employment Disclosure Office (Bielefeld Military 94881 2676).

 

76.The Employment Disclosure Office will undertake checks for overseas applicants and British Nationals, including dependents who have had periods of residency outside of the UK in the past five years or more from countries where they have official liaison contacts.  Advice can be sought from the Employment Disclosure Office. In some cases, it will be necessary for individuals to obtain and supply police good conduct certificates from countries they have lived in.

 

77.In cases where a criminal record check is not possible, particular care should be taken with the other required suitability and pre-employment checks, especially those of identity and qualifications, and to obtain satisfactory references.

 

EMPLOYING AGENCY STAFF^

78.Where staffs are recruited through an agency, written confirmation should be obtained that the appropriate checks have been undertaken.  Similarly, safe recruitment practices need to be observed with seasonal staff.

 

DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE^

79.On 1st December 2012, the Government established a new centralised Disclosure and Barring Service from the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority.  The Disclosure and Barring Service has responsibility for managing both the criminal records and barring arrangements of the scheme.

 

80.The Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 sets out the foundation for this  scheme. The Disclosure and Barring Service has an Independent Barring Board (IBB) with responsibility for taking barring decisions on new referrals and the management of two barred lists which replaced List 99, PoCA and PoVA Lists.

 

81.The system aims to provide employers with a quicker and more effective vetting and barring service.  All disclosures for work with children and vulnerable persons are to be at an enhanced level for Regulated Activity. Individuals may decide to register with the DBS online update service at their own cost.

 

POST APPOINTMENT INDUCTION^

82.There should be an induction programme for all new staff and volunteers.  The purpose of the induction is:

  1. Provide training and information about the organisation/agency’s safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures.  This training should be at a level appropriate to the member of staff role and responsibilities with regards to children and vulnerable person.
  2. Support individuals in a way that is appropriate for the role that they have been employed to carry out.
  3. Confirm the conduct expected for all employees, both paid and unpaid.
  4. Provide opportunities for a new member of staff or volunteer to discuss any issues or concerns about their role and responsibilities.
  5. To enable the person’s line manager to recognise any concerns or issues about the person’s ability or suitability at the outset and address them immediately.
  6. Ensure that the person receives written statements of:
    1. Policies and procedures in relation to safeguarding.
    2. The identity and responsibilities of staff with designated safeguarding responsibilities.
    3. Safe practice and the standards of conduct and behaviour expected.
    4. Other relevant personnel procedures eg. whistle blowing or disciplinary procedures.

83.The programme should also include attendance at child protection training where appropriate and also appropriate to the person’s role.

 

84.The BFG SB will monitor the take up of training to ensure that all organisations have appropriately trained staff in their organisation/agency.

 

MONITORING AND AUDIT^

85.Monitoring of both the recruitment and induction arrangements will allow for future recruitment practices to be better informed, it should cover:

  1. Staff turnover and reasons for leaving.
  2. Exit interviews.
  3. Attendance of new staff at safeguarding training.

 

APPENDIX 1 to Annex I to SOBF(G) 3352^

 

SAMPLE INFORMATION PACK

Information sent to people requesting recruitment packs for practitioner and management roles affording both direct and indirect access to young people and vulnerable adults.  Indirect access is likely to include posts affording access to personal information about individual young people which may be through HR roles, IT and administrative roles in frontline projects.

 

Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Persons

Please read these notes carefully before completing your application form.

Approach to Recruitment

1.[Organisation’s name] is fully committed to the promotion of equalities throughout its operation and takes seriously its responsibilities to protect and safeguard children and vulnerable adults; we aim to provide all applicants for posts within the organisation with a robust, transparent, and fair recruitment and selection experience that genuinely reflects the requirements of the role.

 

2.The decision to shortlist you will be made from the information you give us in your application form.  We therefore ask you to take particular note of the information you provide to support your application from, ensuring you specifically address the areas we request through the person specification.

 

3.As part of our duty of care to safeguard and protect children and vulnerable persons, the recruitment and selection process followed is consistent with nationally recommended standards.  Short-listed candidates applying for designated posts will be required to demonstrate their personal suitability to contribute to and maintain safeguarding standards.  The competences designed to assess personal suitability are built into the person specification and will be tested through the Personal Interview (PI).

The Personal Interview

4.The Personal Interview focuses on your motivation, behaviour, integrity, ethics and temperament as they relate to unsupervised work with children & vulnerable persons rather that your technical abilities to do the job.

Rigorous Vetting and Validation

5.This organisation also applies a rigorous approach to vetting all short-listed candidates, checking information you provide on your application form together with references from previous employers.  You will also be required to provide proof of identity, including any change of name, together with original certificates evidencing relevant qualifications.  Please note that all evidence of identity and qualifications will need to be original documents.  We will also explore your employment history with you.

Information to Candidates on Completion of Application Form

6.At times you must make the information you provide as accurate as possible. If you are appointed and it is subsequently found that you have provided inaccurate and misleading information, depending upon the seriousness of this it may lead to your dismissal.

Employment History

 

7.When completing your employment history, you should provide full information from when you finished school.  Employment relates to both paid and unpaid (volunteering) work.  You are required to provide the full name and address of employers, together with dates of employment (month and year are the minimum) and whether the employment was full-time, part-time or seasonal.  If you are undertaking two jobs simultaneously you should make this clear.  You are also requested to provide us with your reasons for leaving each job.

 

8.Any elements of the information you provide in your application form that are unclear will be explored by the interview panel.

 

9.If you currently work or have previously worked through an employment agency, you must provide names of clients with whom you worked on assignments and the relevant dates for each as well as the employing agency for each.

Employment Disclosure

10.If you are the preferred candidate, then we will take up checks through the Employment Disclosure Office, the Disclosure and Barring Service and other various agencies.  You are requested to complete the Suitability and DBS disclosure forms as part of your application.

 

11.Since this post is considered exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) (Exceptions Order 1980) you should note that no convictions are considered spent.  In completing your application form you should therefore tell us of any conviction, including formal warnings, you have received to-date.

 

12.Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, it is an offence for an individual who has been disqualified from working with children to knowingly apply for, offer to do, or accept any work in a ‘regulated activity position’.  This includes the role for which you are applying.

Safeguarding Form-Declaration of Specific Information

13.You are asked to complete the Safeguarding Form.  This requests a range of confidential information.  This form will only be opened if and when you are short-listed.  If you declare information you will be invited to a meeting with a senior manager, if appropriate.

 

14.These questions will also be explored with your references.

Qualifications

15.As already indicated, you are required to produces the original certificates in relation to your qualifications.

Person Specification - Selection Criteria

16.Please read the Job Description and Person Specification carefully.  The Person Specification clarifies the selection criteria against which you will be assessed during the selection assessment process and the selection method that will be used.  In the completion of your application form, we expect you to be able to demonstrate your understanding of the job and how you believe you meet the selection criteria, particularly addressing those criteria which will be used to short-list candidates.  These criteria are clearly indicated in the application pack.

 

17.The Person Specification contains specific criteria relating to your motivation, behaviour, attitudes, ethics, and temperament.  These will be assessed through the personal interview.

 

18.We will not use CV’s to shortlist candidates.  You must complete the application form in full.

References

19.References should be from your current and previous employers, and from a senior manager in the organisation who has personal experience of your work.  Personal references from friends and family are not acceptable.  You should make clear the relationship of the referee with yourself, eg immediate line manager.

 

20.In providing referees, you should think about the people who are most likely to be able to comment on your capacity in relation to the role for which you have applied.  We reserve the right to take up additional references to those you have provided, but we will seek your agreement before doing so.  We also reserve the right to phone your references and discuss your reference with them.

 

21.We will take up references, including current employer references, on all short-listed candidates prior to assessment/interview, unless you give us reasons why we should not do this.  We recognise that for some candidates you may prefer us not to go to current employer until you have been interviewed.  If this is the situation, then you must still provide us with references whom we can approach following short-listing.  However, we will not offer employment until we have a satisfactory reference from your current employer.

 

22.Referees who do not respond by the date requested will be contacted by phone so a contact number should be provided.

 

Candidates with disabilities

23.As part of our overall commitment to equalities and the employment of people with disabilities, you are invited to tell us if you have a disability, together with any adjustments that you require to facilitate your taking part in the selection assessment process.  We will thencontact you to clarify the arrangements.

 


 

APPENDIX 2 to Annex I to SOBF(G) 3352^

CHECKLIST: Appointment of New Employees (paid and unpaid)

pdfSafer Recruitment Guidance Checklist31.91 KB

docxSafer Recruitment Guidance Checklist29.06 KB

 


 

APPENDIX 3 to Annex I to SOBF(G) 3352^

SAMPLE Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Persons Information Request - Notes

1.This form should be completed and returned in a sealed envelope with your name, address and the post applied for on the front.  The envelope will not be opened unless you are short-listed.  If you are not short-listed the unopened envelope will be destroyed by secure means by the recruiting organisation.

 

2.Your application will not be considered unless you complete this form and return it with your application form.

 

3.If you are invited to attend for interview you will be asked to bring original documents that verify the information given on both this and your application form.

 

4.If we think that the information you provide on this form may be relevant to safeguarding children or vulnerable persons, or if our checks reveal child protection or adult protection related concerns, you will be invited to a face to face meeting with a senior manager to explain the circumstances.  If you choose not to attend this meeting, we will not proceed with your application.

 

5.If we decide not to proceed with your application on the basis of the meeting with you or information obtained through our checks, we will let you know.

 

6.In relation to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, we only consider relevant cautions or convictions.  We operate strict protocols to ensure that people who declare criminal convictions or cautions are treated fairly and their personal information is held securely.

 

7.If we discover information about a criminal or disciplinary offence that you have not previously disclosed, we will regard this as a fundamental breach of trust.  If we have offered you employment, the offer will be withdrawn immediately and without compensation.  If you are already in the new post this may result in your instant dismissal.

 

Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Persons Information Request - form

Declaration of Confidentiality Information

pdfSafer Recruitment Guidance Declaration21.42 KB

docxSafer Recruitment Guidance Declaration28.2 KB

 


APPENDIX 4 to Annex I to SOBF(G) 3352^

NOTES ON EMPLOYMENT DISCLOSURE REFERENCES:

1.Key Points to note in relation to references:

  1. Take references seriously and use them as an integral part of the suitability checking of candidates.
  2. Obtain two1 written references (where appropriate) from employment or education.  One must be from the current or last employer.  If this employment has only been for a short period of time you should seek a reference from the employer before that.
  3. One of the references should be from employment involving direct or indirect access to children, young people and or vulnerable persons.  If this has not been provided but the candidate has previously worked in such employment then she/he should be informed that you intend to take up a reference from a named employer.
  4. Employment references must be on headed paper and signed by a senior line manager.
  5. References should ideally have first hand knowledge of a candidate’s work involving direct, or indirect, access to children, young people and or vulnerable persons.
  6. All requests for references should seek objective, verifiable information and not subjective opinion.  The use of reference proformas can help achieve that.
  7. The referee should be asked whether they are completely satisfied that the candidate is suitable to work with children, young people and or vulnerable persons and, if not, for specific details of the referee’s concerns and the reasons why the referee believes the person might be unsuitable.
  8. Referees should be contacted by telephone to follow up information or clarify their validity.  Where possible this should be done before the interview.
  9. All referees should be asked to comment on any disciplinary investigations or outcomes – including those that are pending – and any allegations relating to abuse, bullying, intimidation, malpractice or professional misconduct, involving children, vulnerable persons, colleagues, or professional others.
  10. This should be cross-referenced with information provided by the applicant.

2.When the applicant has worked through an agency, references should be taken up with the last place of employment, not just the agency.

 

3.Do not accept referees who are personal friends or relations.Some companies will only provide you with the minimum of detail even when asked for more.  There is little you can do if this happens as there is no legal obligation to comply with any practice guidance.  This makes it all the more important that the other areas of your recruitment process are robust.

 

4.References should be taken up prior to interview.  The Interview Panel must view the safeguarding references during both the sift and interview process.  Candidates should be briefed about the process.  If they strongly object to their current employer being contacted as it may have adverse consequences for employment, then two references should be taken up from previous employment or education.  If a conditional offer of employment is to be made the current employer reference will then need to be taken up.

 

5.There should be a presumption conveyed to applicants that references will be taken up before the interview unless they give reasons why they do not want their current employer contacted.

 

6.If references can be considered prior to interview, it makes it easier to explore specific information during the interview. If references are not received prior to the interview taking place, then no employment decision should be taken. On receipt of references, any concerns raised should be discussed with the referee and the individual concerned prior to an employment offer being made.

 

7.Referees should be informed that references are seen as part of the organisation’s safer recruitment and selection practises designed to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable persons.  As such, the reference will be taken seriously and will contribute to the overall assessment of the candidate in relation to the role for which they have applied.  Referees should be given a date when the reference needs to be returned.  They should be informed that they might be contacted to verify the authenticity of the reference and to discuss its contents.

 

 


 

APPENDIX 5 to Annex I to SOBF(G) 3352^

Sample Standard Reference Request

pdfSafer Recruitment Guidance Sample Request17 KB

docxSafer Recruitment Guidance Sample Request26.84 KB

REFERENCE ENQUIRY PROFORMA

pdfSafer Recruitment Guidance Reference Enquiry Proforma29.3 KB

docxSafer Recruitment Guidance Reference Enquiry Proforma29.48 KB

 

 


 

APPENDIX 6 to Annex I to SOBF(G) 3352^

People barred from working with children and vulnerable persons

Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice Act 2000, a number of people are barred from working with children.

These are:

  1. People on the ISA Barred Lists.
  2. People previously on the DCSF List 99.
  3. People previously on the DoH (PoCA/PoVA) Lists.
  4. People previously on the National Assembly of Wales List.
  5. People aged 18 or over convicted of certain specified (Schedule four) offences against those aged 18 (or 16 in some circumstances) and given a hospital or guardianship order or custodial sentence of 12 months or more.

The Specified ‘Schedule Four’ offences are:

  1. Murder or Manslaughter.
  2. Rape or burglary with intent to commit rape.
  3. Grievous bodily harm.
  4. Cruelty to children.
  5. Kidnapping, false imprisonment and abduction.
  6. Indecent assault on a man or a woman.
  7. Sexual intercourse with a child under 13.
  8. Sexual intercourse with a girl aged between 13 and 16.
  9. Buggery with a child under 16.
  10. Indecency between men.
  11. Abuse of trust.
  12. Incest and related offences.
  13. Assault with intent to commit buggery.
  14. Indecency with children under the age of 14.
  15. Offences related to or encouraging child prostitution.
  16. Offences relating to child pornography.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 requires employers, education boards, health and social care bodies and professional regulators to refer the names of individuals considered unsuitable for work with children and or vulnerable persons to the Disclosure and Barring Service for inclusion on the Barred Lists.

 

It is an offence for a person barred from working with children and young people to apply for such work.  If this occurs the matter must be reported to the police and the Employment Disclosure Office.  It is also an offence for an employer to knowingly employ a barred person in a position within such capacity.