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Last updated: 17.07.17

What is Safer Recruitment?

Education providers, social work teams and any other employers that hire people to work with children and young people need to have an understanding of the Safer Recruitment policy.

What is Safer Recruitment?

Safer Recruitment is designed to protect children's welfare at every point where they come into contact with professionals in a safeguarding role. The overall purpose of Safer Recruitment is to help identify and deter or reject individuals who are deemed to be at risk of abusing children.

This recruitment legislation enforces pre-employment checks for all prospective staff to seek out anyone who may not be suitable to work with children and vulnerable young people.

Every employer should already have a recruitment policy in place to ensure job applicants are considered equally and fairly, and are not discriminated against based on their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, disability or age. Safer Recruitment takes this further.

Safer Recruitment pre-employment checks make sure that applicants' references have been cross-checked and that they have proof of identity. It also ensures that criminal convictions have been declared and that candidates have an up-to-date DBS certificate that they can provide evidence of at the interview stage.

Do I need a Safer Recruitment policy?

Safer Recruitment policies help to ensure that only suitable applicants are permitted to work with children and young people.

This message will tell staff, applicants and the public that your organisation is very invested in the safety and protection of children.

Any organisation that works with children and young people in any capacity should have a well-defined Safer Recruitment policy. This policy should be tailored to your organisation and should have input from all areas of the organisation.

Safer recruitment

Safer Recruitment policy template.

In this section we will look at what should be included in your Safer Recruitment policy. You should do this by looking at your other corporate policies and statements, including current recruitment policies and fair practices to ensure that any new policy will work alongside and are aligned with any existing policies.

1. Purpose of Policy

Highlight the companies functions, purpose and how this relates to their commitment to ensure only suitable applicants are hired to work with children and young people.

2. Compliance with legislation

Highlight the relevant legislation and regulations which impact your organisation. Underline your commitment to comply with these regulations and any actions which you take. You can also link to other statements and policies which your organisation holds.

3. Scope of Policy

Your policy should be clear about who this policy applies to, who monitors these procedures and the date this policy came into force. The policy should also explain how staff will be checked to ensure they are complying with the safer recruitment regulations.

How should Safer Recruitment be implemented?

Anyone who is involved in recruiting for roles involving working with children needs training on how to implement Safer Recruitment, and that's what our Safer Recruitment e-learning course is designed to do.

Hirers have a responsibility to measure each candidate's experience and merit against the job description and person specification, but also to collate and analyse information from and about them, such as their DBS certificate.

Safeguarding during recruitment is key to protecting the welfare of vulnerable individuals further down the line. Education providers are responsible for considering children's welfare at every stage of the staff or volunteer selection process, and for making sure their current staff are following the Safer Recruitment guidelines.

Safer Recruitment in Education

All employers and employees working in an education setting with children and young people have a responsibility to help keep these vulnerable groups of people safe. Normal recruitment processes are designed to test a candidate's ability to perform a job, which includes their previous experience, their skills, and their ability to fit within the team. For many job openings, this is entirely sufficient, but when it comes to working with vulnerable people, of which children and young people are one of the designated groups, these processes don’t do enough to ensure that the candidate is suitable.

What is the Process?

In contrast with a typical hiring process, safer recruiting requires a variety of additional steps, and amendments to usual practices. These will be detailed fully during any safer recruitment training that you attend, but the primary steps in the process that you should be aware of include the following:

  • The job description created when the position is opened must always make specific reference to the fact that it involves working with children in young people in an educational setting, and the responsibilities to safeguarding that this involves.
  • When writing the person specification, you must include the fact that there must be a suitability to work with children and young people as part of it.
  • Comprehensive information about the candidate’s identity and general details must be sought throughout the process.
  • References sought from previous employers, or character references, must include specific questions about the candidate’s suitability to work with children and young people.
  • The interview should similarly contain specific questions about the candidate’s suitability to work with children and young people.
  • You must ensure that the candidate goes through the relevant DBS check, and potentially further checks if, for example, they are a foreign national.

What is a DBS Application?

A DBS application is designed to check a candidate’s criminal record. It can be used for a variety of purposes, but is generally used when checking a candidate’s suitability to work with children. It used to be known as a CRB check or CRB application, until the Disclosure and Barring Service was established. An an employer, you can request an application, have the candidate complete it, and then the DBS will return their certificate to the candidate. You must request to see the DBS certificate.

If you want more information on Safer Recruitment in Education read our education article here

Complying with Safer Recruitment legislation

The Safer Recruitment legislation states that the recruitment and selection of staff should be conducted in a professional, timely and responsive manner, and in compliance with current employment legislation, as well as relevant safeguarding legislation and statutory guidance (including KCSIE 2016 and Prevent Duty Guidance).

Education providers must also ensure compliance with all relevant legislation, recommendations and guidance including the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE), Keeping Children Safe in Education - May 2016 (KCSIE), the Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales 2016 (the Prevent Duty Guidance), and any guidance or code of practice published by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

They are also legally required to meet their commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks.

The Virtual College Safer Recruitment training course provides more information about this important piece of legislation. Find out more about the course here.

Top Safer Recruitment FAQs

What are the key Safer recruitment principles?

The main principles of safer recruitment are to take all steps necessary to prevent people who might harm children or vulnerable adults from taking up positions where they could do so and to follow all of the latest guidelines and best practices to keep the recruitment process safe, fair and consistent.

What are the staff ratios in a nursery?

Nursery ratios for two-year-olds are six children per adult and four children per adult for ones-and-under.

What does Safer recruitment mean?

Safer recruitment means ensuring that the staff and volunteers who are hired to work with children, young people and vulnerable adults have been suitably checked to prevent any harm being done to the people in their care.

What is safer recruitment training?

Keeping Children Safe in Education are the latest statutory guidelines for schools and colleges that offer advice for managing safeguarding.

Check out our full range of FAQs. Click Here to view.

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