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5.1 Safe Recruitment, Selection and Supervision of Staff

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

The checklist provided in the Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education published by the DfES is a useful tool to assist those responsible for the recruitment and selection of staff but should be used in conjunction with current the guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (as above). 

RELATED GUIDANCE

Keeping Children Safe in Education

AMENDMENT

In February 2015, a link to the Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education was added above in Related Guidance.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Wirral LSCB Recruitment and Selection Policy - Overview
  3. Wirral LSCB Expectations
  4. Recruitment and Selection Policy
  5. Advertisements
  6. Person Specification
  7. Job Descriptions
  8. Application Form
  9. Information Packs for Applicants
  10. Scrutinising and Short-listing
  11. References
  12. Invitation to Interview
  13. Interview Panels
  14. Scope of Interviews
  15. Conditional Offers of Appointment
  16. Post Appointment Induction
  17. Maintaining a Safer Culture
  18. Safer Disciplinary Decisions
  19. Safer Contracting

    Appendix 1: Person Specification

    Appendix 2: Job Description

    Appendix 3: Information Pack

    Appendix 4: Scrutinising and Short-listing

    Appendix 5: References

    Appendix 5A: Reference Request Template

    Appendix 6: Invitation to Interview - To Follow

    Appendix 7: Interview Panels - To Follow

    Appendix 7A: Interview Notes Template - To Follow


    Appendix 7B: Post Interview Notes Template - To Follow

    Appendix 8: Scope Interviews - To Follow

    Appendix 8A: Preparing Interview Questions - To Follow

    Appendix 9: 'Warner Interview’ Techniques

    Appendix 10: Post Appointment - To Follow


1. Introduction

Organisations who work with or on behalf of children and young people need to be vigilant in their recruitment, selection and retention of staff. Abusers will target these organisations and be extremely adept at presenting themselves as caring and trustworthy individuals. Some indicators of abusive behaviour can emerge through inappropriate attitudes or inconsistent reactions and a vigorous recruitment and selection process provides important opportunities to deter and prevent offenders from gaining access to children and young people through their work.

Establishing effective recruitment and selection procedures requires time, careful preparation and skill. This pack has been prepared by Wirral LSCB for use in any organisation which employs or contracts the services of paid workers or volunteers.

The material contained in this pack has regard to the guidance contained in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, in which it is stated that:

Organisations should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including: safe recruitment practices for individuals whom the organisation will permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a criminal record check’.

This pack is the result of collaborative efforts between Human Resources and Children’s Safeguarding advisers, and contains a policy statement which can be adapted and used by members of Wirral LSCB. It also contains templates, suggestions and related guidance on key aspects of the recruitment and selection process. It has been designed to complement and not replace each LSCB member’s recruitment and selection procedures. 

Safe environments do not happen by accident. They are purposefully built and carefully maintained.  Safe recruitment and selection processes are essential if organisations who work with or on behalf of children are to attract the best staff and deter or reject those who may pose a risk to children or who are unsuited to work with them.


2. Wirral LSCB Recruitment and Selection Policy - Overview

Wirral LSCB aims to ensure that all member agencies operate recruitment and human resources practices that take into account of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children  by:

  • Making clear the standards to which it expects all member agencies to work;
  • Providing means by which they and other organisations can produce or review a structured and systematic approach to recruitment and selection procedures;
  • Monitoring these arrangements and offering support and challenge to ensure organisations remain vigilant in their employment practices where these relate to safeguarding the welfare and interests of children and young people.


3. Wirral LSCB Expectations

Wirral LSCB expects that all organisations who work with or on behalf of children and young people in the Wirral area ensure that:

  • There is a management team trained in Children’s Safeguarding, who are vigilant in ensuring that all recruitment and selection systems, training, processes and procedures are examined from a child/staff safeguarding focus;
  • The organisation makes explicit its commitment to the provision and maintenance of a safe and supportive environment for children and young people, staff, volunteers and visitors;
  • All applicants, short-listed candidates, contractors and service providers are advised about and understand the necessity of robust recruitment and selection practices;
  • Adults are advised about personal and professional boundaries, are clear about what is proper and expected behaviour, and managers are vigilant in pursuing inappropriate, unprofessional or abusive behaviour;
  • Child protection strategies include disciplinary procedures which deal effectively with those adults who fail to comply with the organisation’s policies to safeguard children;
  • Managers and/or commissioners paying for, or using services, satisfy themselves that those services have in place appropriate and effective arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and young people;
  • There is an effective recruitment and selection policy in place within each agency, which is regularly reviewed and which is in line with the guidance contained in this document.


4. Recruitment and Selection Policy

All organisations should have a Recruitment and Selection policy. This should make explicit the commitment of the organisation to building and maintaining a safe environment which safeguards and promotes the welfare of children and young people. This commitment should be widely publicised and may be similar to the suggestion below.

“This organisation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.”

This statement should be included in:-

  • All publicity and information sites;
  • Advertisements;
  • Information pack for applicants;
  • Person specification;
  • Job description;
  • Letter of appointment;
  • Induction training;
  • Competency Frameworks.

Like other policies, it is recommended the application and effectiveness of the Recruitment and Selection Policy be reviewed at the very least, on an annual basis. There follows advice on the above subjects. It should be noted there are templates on these and other subjects listed in the Appendices at the end of this procedure.


5. Advertisements

The organisation should openly advertise, either internally or externally, every vacancy in order to comply with equal opportunity legislation. Employment offers should not be made to individuals unless this process has been followed, regardless of any commendations received or any personal knowledge held about the individual interested in the post. The advertisement should also be clear that Disclosure and Barring Service checks will be carried out.

When an organisation does not use HR providers, care should be taken to ensure that the following statement, or one similar, is included in the advert placed:

“This organisation’s recruitment and selection procedures reflect our commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. All staff and volunteers are expected to share this commitment.”


6. Person Specification

The Person Specification should include the qualifications and experience and any other requirements needed to do the job especially as it relates to children and young people. It should include the competencies and qualities that the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate and explain how these requirements will be tested and determined during the selection process.

The Person Specification should stipulate how the candidate’s suitability for the post will be assessed including their motivation for this type of work; their ability to make and sustain professional relationships within clear boundaries and their attitudes to authority, challenge and discipline. Person Specifications should always be reviewed and agreed for each vacancy. It should always include criteria relating to the requirement of the applicant in relation to safeguarding children and young people. See Appendix 1: Person Specification.


7. Job Descriptions

All positions, whether paid or voluntary, should have job/position descriptions. Well thought out and comprehensive job descriptions provide staff and volunteers with a clear list of responsibilities, identifying lines of accountability and providing security for applicants in knowing what is expected of them.

Careful consideration should be given to the nature of the post and the duties and responsibilities related to it. The Job description should clearly set out the extent and nature of the contact the candidate will have with children and young people. All adults working in the organisation, in either a paid or unpaid capacity have a responsibility for safeguarding children and young people, although the extent of that responsibility and the contact involved will vary according to the nature of the post, this must be included in the Job Description. Job Descriptions should therefore always be reviewed and agreed for each vacancy as the previous post holder leaves. See Appendix 2: Job Description.


8. Application Form

The organisation should use a standard, structured application form which is used to obtain a common set of core data from all applicants and which follow DfE guidelines. Curriculum Vitae drawn up by the applicants in place of an application form should not be accepted because these will only contain the information the applicant wishes to present and may omit relevant details or gaps.

Applicants should be asked to detail employment history, relevant experience and be expected to provide information about the month and year in which they were employed. They should also be required to discuss any gaps in their employment history. All application forms should include a declaration by the applicant that all information provided is true and correct. This may document whether an applicant has been truthful about their history and can highlight any issues that may arise in relation to deception and honesty. These issues may then be raised at a later stage in the process, possibly even at interview.

Explanatory notes and/or instructions for completing the form should be included in a candidate’s information pack. There are no examples of an application form in the appendix owing to the diversity and individual requirements of each organisation.


9. Information Packs for Applicants

An information pack should be sent to all prospective applicants. This should make references to the organisation’s safeguarding children and young people procedures and recruitment and selection policies. The pack should include relevant information about the organisation and its policies and a statement of the terms and conditions of the post. The contents of the pack will vary depending on the vacancy.

Information should be provided that advises whether the post is exempt under the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and that any offer of employment will be subject to satisfactory checks, including those supplied by the Disclosure and Barring Service. The check will include any cautions, reprimands, final warnings, relevant allegations as well as convictions. See Appendix 3: Information Pack.


10. Scrutinising and Short-listing

All application forms should be scrutinised to ensure that they are fully and properly completed, the information provided is consistent and does not contain any discrepancies, and any gaps in employment are identified. 

All candidates should be assessed equally by the members of the interview panel, against the criteria contained in the specification without exception or variation. See Appendix 4: Scrutinising and Short-listing.


11. References

The purpose of seeking references is to obtain objective and factual information to support appointment decisions. All references should be requested and received prior to interview. This is to identify any concerns or issues for which clarification can be sought during the interview. References should always be sought and obtained directly from the referee, one of which must be the current or most recent employer. References should always be addressed directly to the immediate line manager within the organisation or the senior HR representative, they should not be directed to an unspecified individual within the organisation.

Referees should be sent the job description and person specification and asked to comment upon the applicant’s weaknesses and strengths in relation to their suitability to work with children and young people. They should be asked about performance history and disciplinary offences including those which have expired where these relate directly to working with children.

The request for a reference should advise referees about their legal liability and that the reference should contain no material untruths or omissions. Referees should be advised that their reference may be discussed at interview. See Appendix 5: References.


12. Invitation to Interview

In addition to arrangements for interviews - time and place, directions, membership of panel etc, candidates should be advised about how the interview will be conducted and how the person’s suitability for this type of work will be explored. See Appendix 6: Invitation to Interview - To Follow.


13. Interview Panels

There should always be at least two people on the interview panel, one of whom should have undertaken Safer Recruitment training. Each member of the interview panel should have copies of the job description and person specification and broad agreement should be reached prior to the interview as to how answers from the candidate will be assessed. See Appendix 7: Interview Panels - To Follow.

It is good practice to involve young people in the interviews for potential employees that may work with them. Young People should be trained and supported in this process and should have the opportunity to ask their own questions and contribute to the decision making process.


14. Scope of Interviews

The interview should assess the merits of each candidate against the job requirements, and explore their suitability to work with children and young people. The selection process for people who will work with children and young people should always include a face to face interview. See Appendix 8: Scope Interviews - To Follow.

During the interview, all applicants should be asked the same questions pertaining to the Job Description and Person Specification, then specific questions relating to the information they have supplied on their application form can be asked. Any gaps in employment history and reasons for leaving previous positions should always be clarified.


15. Conditional Offers of Appointment

An offer of appointment should be confirmed only when all references and checks have been received and are accepted and medical clearance has been obtained through the usual channels.

The appointment letter and statement of particulars should be sent to the successful candidate and require the return of a signed copy of the statement of particulars.

The organisation should provide guidance about expected codes of behaviour for all adults working in, and on behalf of the organisation. This should be sent with the letter of appointment and candidates advised they will be expected to work to this code and sign to indicate their agreement and commitment to it. See Appendix 9: 'Warner Interview’ Techniques.


16. Post Appointment Induction

All newly appointment staff or volunteers should receive induction into the organisation and advised about their job and related duties and responsibilities. The guidance about safe working practices sent to the successful candidate with their letter of appointment should be discussed on the first day and staff/volunteers asked to sign the document indicating their commitment to it. See Appendix 10: Post Appointment - To Follow.


17. Maintaining a Safer Culture

All staff should be are made aware of, and understand the need for, the organisation’s policies which relate to the well being and safety of children and young people and the workforce. This includes policies on Safeguarding Children and Young People, Safer Recruitment and Selection, Handling Allegations against Staff, Dignity at work, Physical Intervention, Safe Caring Practice and Whistle Blowing. These policies should be regularly reviewed.

Training should be offered on a regular basis in respect of the contents and implications of these policies. Staff should be expected to attend training events and should be made aware of the support structures available both within the organisation, and where appropriate within the local authority.

The organisation management team should ensure that all allegations against staff, referrals to the LSCB Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), disciplinary hearings and their respective outcomes are consistently monitored and recorded.

When any member of staff resigns from a post within the organisation, the management team should ensure that the reasons for leaving are fully explored and exit interviews undertaken. Where appropriate, job descriptions and person specifications should be reviewed at this stage.


18. Safer Disciplinary Decisions

The organisation should inform staff, on appointment, of policy and procedures on discipline and include a contractual condition that disciplinary considerations will be pursued even if the employee resigns. Staff should be informed that the outcome of a criminal prosecution does not necessarily determine disciplinary sanctions.

Any disciplinary appeal panel should include members who are aware of, and knowledgeable about, their responsibilities to safeguard and protect children and young people. It is essential that these individuals, as well as staff, understand the burden of proof, i.e. the difference between balance of probability and beyond reasonable doubt. Appeal panel members should also have been the subject of appropriate checks before taking up duties on behalf of the organisation.

Where a serious concern has been justified in relation to a member of staff, LSCB procedures for dealing with allegations should be followed and where necessary a referral made to the DfE Children’s Safeguarding Operation Unit and/or any relevant regulatory body.


19. Safer Contracting

In establishing any contracts outside the usual recruitment and selection process, the organisation should:

  • Check the current national qualification in the activity or service  the adult is contracted to deliver;
  • Check the current public liability insurance cover (if appropriate);
  • Undertake appropriate Right to Work and Disclosure and Barring Service checks;
  • Ensure the individuals have  appropriate experience of working with children and young people;
  • Obtain and confirm two relevant references.

Ensure that the all individuals  are aware of relevant policies and procedures:

  • Meet with the adult prior to the delivery of the service and confirm in writing the function, roles and responsibilities of the individual. This should include a discussion around  personal and professional boundaries;
  • Ensure that when agency staff are used for supply, the agency has followed DfE guidelines and has taken up all relevant checks on the adult concerned and copies of these are seen;
  • Ensure that where any form of contract is to be made, appropriate risk assessments are undertaken to inform the detail of that contract.


Appendix 1: Person Specification

Click here Appendix 1: Person Specification.


Appendix 2: Job Description

Click here Appendix 2: Job Description.


Appendix 3: Information Pack

Click here Appendix 3: Information Pack.


Appendix 4: Scrutinising and Short-listing

Click here Appendix 4: Scrutinising and Short-listing.


Appendix 5: References

Click here Appendix 5: References.


Appendix 5A: Reference Request Template

Click here Appendix 5A: Reference Request Template.


Appendix 6: Invitation to Interview

To Follow.


Appendix 7: Interview Panels

To Follow.


Appendix 7A: Interview Notes Template

To Follow.


Appendix 7B: Post Interview Notes Template

To Follow.


Appendix 8: Scope Interviews

To Follow.


Appendix 8A: Preparing Interview Questions

To Follow.


Appendix 9: 'Warner Interview’ Techniques

Click here to view Appendix 9: 'Warner Interview’ Techniques.


Appendix 10: Post Appointment

To Follow.

End