Safer recruitment

Last updated: 04 Sep 2018
About safer recruitment

Children in every setting must be kept safe from harm and their welfare promoted. If you employ staff or engage with volunteers who will come into contact with children or young people during the course of their work you need to ensure you have robust safer recruitment processes in place.

Whether you're a school, club, business or a parent employing people (recruiting paid or unpaid) to teach, or support or care for children, you need make sure the people you employ or engage with have the right attitude and behaviours to provide a safe and positive experience.

What is safer recruitment?

Safer recruitment is a set of safe practices to help you recruit staff and volunteers who are suitable to work with children and young people. It includes laws, rules and guidance.

Safer recruitment should be a continuing process of improvement. It’s a vital part of creating a safe culture in your organisation to keep children from harm and should follow the below steps.

  • Write a safer recruitment policy. This sets out your organisational approach to recruiting staff or volunteers to work with children and young people. This is a key first step towards ensuring you employ the right people, who will help keep children safe.
  • Follow safer recruitment procedures. Ensure safeguarding and child protection are at the heart of your recruitment process, from writing a person specification to making a job offer and inducting your new member of staff or volunteer.

Once these are in place, it is important to:

  • make sure all staff and volunteers understand and follow your policies and procedures
  • monitor and improve your processes. This could include evaluating the effectiveness of your child protection training, for example
  • ensure that concerns or complaints from children, staff and volunteers are taken seriously and procedures for managing allegations are always followed.
Writing a safer recruitment policy

Writing a safer recruitment policy

A safer recruitment policy is an important part of ensuring that only suitable people are permitted to work with children.

It sends a clear message to staff, volunteers and potential applicants that your organisation prioritises the safety of children.

This page sets out what you need to include in a safer recruitment policy and how this fits with your organisation's other policies.

What is a safer recruitment policy?

A safer recruitment policy is a statement about your organisation's commitment to ensuring the staff and volunteers you recruit are suitable to work with children.

It should include:

  • a statement setting out the organisation's commitment to protecting all children
  • what the organisation will do to keep children safe and respond to concerns
  • a list of the supporting procedures that accompany the policy.

Your safer recruitment policy should work alongside other policies within your organisation. It should sit under a wider safeguarding policy.

What to include in your policy

Aim to keep your policy under 2 sides of A4 paper or consider incorporating safer recruitment statements into existing policies on recruitment, selection, induction, equality and diversity.

Policies should include the information set out below.

Purpose and aim of the policy

Identify the organisation, its purpose and function. Write a statement about the organisation's commitment to ensure that only suitable candidates will be employed to work or volunteer with children.

Links to relevant guidance and policies

Briefly state the main law and guidance that supports the policy. Explain how this policy links to other relevant organisational policies and procedures such as a safeguarding or child protection policy, managing allegations policy and procedures, intimate needs procedures, equality policy.

Equality statement

Your organisation should make sure that all adults, children and young people have the same protection regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity. Your policy needs to state your commitment to anti-discriminatory practice.

Scope of the policy

Be clear about who the policy applies to. It should include all children under 18-years-old. Does it cover all staff and volunteers? Or just those who work directly with children? What about those who have occasional contact with children such as a caretaker? How are temporary, agency or supply staff checked?.

Dates

Include the date the policy comes into force and set dates when you will review it.

 

Safer recruitment procedures

Safer recruitment procedures

Putting a safer recruitment policy in place is a vital first step towards making sure everyone who works with children is suitable. But it's also important to establish clear procedures and make sure everyone who is involved with recruitment knows how to follow them.

These will ensure that staff and volunteers are recruited safely and fairly, and that children’s safety is being considered at every stage of the process.

Plan the recruitment process

Planning the whole of your recruitment process in advance helps make sure you have a consistent approach every time you recruit a new staff member or volunteer.

Write down the steps you need to take - this means you can refer back to the process whenever you need to, so you’re less likely to miss anything out.

Think about the resources that you'll need and how you are going to make them available.

This includes making sure enough people will be available to help conduct the interviews.

Define the role

For any role working with children and young people, both the job description and the person specification should highlight the importance of understanding safeguarding issues.

Job description and person specification

Highlight the importance of an understanding of safeguarding issues in the job description and person specification.

Advertising the job

The job advertisement is your first opportunity to send out a clear safeguarding message. It should include the right information to attract high quality candidates and deter unsuitable applicants such as those who may present a risk to children.

Applicant information pack

An application pack ensures that people interested in applying for a job have all the information they need about your organisation and the advertised role.

Self-disclosure form

  • A self-disclosure form gives candidates the opportunity to tell you confidentially about any unspent criminal convictions. If the role requires an enhanced criminal records check , you should also ask applicants to disclose any unprotected spent convictions and cautions.
  • In England, Scotland and Wales, you can only ask for information about cautions or convictions which are not designated as 'protected' under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
  • Applicants should complete self-disclosure forms before interview and bring them in a separate, sealed envelope marked 'Confidential'. You should only open the self-disclosure forms of candidates who have accepted a conditional offer, and review the information inside as part of your vetting checks.
  • You must securely dispose of all unopened self-disclosure forms.
  • The self-disclosure form does not replace the need for a DBS check. DBS checks should always be carried out as appropriate.

References

You should ask applicants to provide the details of referees and check references as part of your vetting, disclosure and barring checks.

Selecting applicants for interview

Shortlisting should be carried out by at least two people. They should each be clear about what their role involves, and should assess each application form according to how well it meets the criteria set out in the person specification.

Preparing for interview

Panel

At least 2 people should be on the interview panel and you should have a chair.

Children's participation

Involving children, young people and their families in recruitment can be a really useful way of finding the right people for the job.

Questions

Questions should relate to items in the person specification and should be designed to allow candidates to demonstrate the attitudes and values that people working with children and young people need to have. You should ask each candidate the same questions so that they are all treated equally.

Practical test

A question and answer format may not be the best way to test a particular requirement or competency. You may want to consider other methods.

Interview

Interviews to recruit people to work with children should always be conducted face to face.

Make sure you ask candidates in advance whether they have any access requirements for the interview, and provide what they need.

Make notes so that you can remember what each candidate said after the interview has finished.

Be wary of answers that indicate the candidate:

  • lacks understanding of children’s needs or perspectives
  • has unrealistic expectations of children
  • is prepared to use children to meet their own needs
  • uses inappropriate language when talking about children
  • is unclear about boundaries when working with children.

Checking identity

You need to check the canditate's identity and certificates at the time of interview.

Making an offer

When you contact the successful candidate, make sure they know that the offer is still subject to satisfactory completion of all the vetting processes you need to undertake.

Induction and training

A consistent induction process will make sure everyone in your organisation fully understands and knows how to follow your safeguarding policies and procedures.

You should also consider putting a mentoring and/or supervision process in place for new staff and/or having a probationary/trial period. This will allow concerns on either side to be raised and responded to appropriately.

Training

All organisations working with children must provide appropriate safeguarding training for staff and volunteers.

Training should be regular and ongoing to ensure all staff are kept up-to-date with changes in policies and procedures and to keep safeguarding at the front of their minds.

Find out more about our range of elearning and face-to-face training courses, as well as our child protection consultancy for anyone working or volunteering with children and young people.

Temporary or agency staff including school supply staff

It’s just as important to ensure you recruit temporary or agency staff who are suitable to work with children, as it is with permanent staff.

You should only use agencies that have robust safer recruitment policies and procedures.

Schools should obtain written proof that the relevant disclosure and barring checks have been made for each supply staff member. When supply staff arrive on site, you should check their ID.

> Find out more about our Safer recruitment in education training

Vetting, disclosure and barring checks

Vetting, disclosure and barring checks

Vetting is the process of making sure that candidates are suitable for a role.
There are a variety of recommended processes and checks to ensure you employ the right people to work or volunteer with children:

  • checking references
  • criminal records checks
  • overseas checks
  • checking professional status (including eligibility to teach)
  • checking identification and eligibility to work in the UK
  • checking qualifications.

References

References are an opportunity to get third party information to help you make a safe and informed decision about an applicant’s suitability to work with children.
You should always ask referees about the candidate's:

  • suitability and ability to work with children and young people
  • knowledge and understanding of child protection and safeguarding.

Make sure information provided in the reference is consistent with what the applicant gave you and follow up any discrepancies with the applicant.

Criminal records checks

These are a vital part of the safer recruitment process for everyone working with children.

Each nation in the UK uses a different scheme, but they are all aligned and recognise each other’s decisions. A person who is barred from working with children in one nation will be barred across the UK.

  • England and Wales. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (Gov.UK, 2018) helps employers and voluntary organisations in England and Wales make safer recruitment decisions.
  • Northern Ireland. AccessNI (nidirect, 2018a) provides disclosure information and the DBS carries out barring procedures for Northern Ireland.
  • Scotland. Disclosure Scotland carries out criminal record checks and manages the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

Applying for a criminal records check

Organisations can apply directly or use an umbrella body.

Applying directly

To apply directly for criminal records checks, organisations must register with their national disclosure service.

  • England and Wales: organisations needing at least 100 checks a year can register directly with the DBS.
  • Northern Ireland: organisations must process a minimum of 20 checks every year to be able to register with AccessNI.
  • Scotland: there is no minimum number of checks needed to register with Disclosure Scotland.

More information is available on the website of each disclosure service.

  • Using an umbrella body. If an organisation is not registered to apply directly to the disclosure service for criminal records checks, they can use an umbrella body. Full lists of umbrella bodies are available on the website of each nation’s disclosure service.

Restrictions

  • Individuals can't ask for a criminal records check on themselves, unless they apply to Disclosure Scotland for a basic check (you don’t have to be Scottish to be able to do this).
  • You can’t request a criminal record check for individuals under 16-years-old.

A criminal records check is only valid on the date stated on the certificate but:

  • people joining the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme in Scotland will have their suitability to work with children checked regularly
  • in England and Wales, individuals who have a new DBS check can subscribe to the update service, which means they can keep their certificate up to date and take it with them to a new employer.

Different types of checks

Employers can ask for different types of criminal record check. The choice of check will depend on the nature of the work being carried out.

Standard/basic checks

These are the checks you would request for employment which does not involve working with children. They give details of police convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings.

Enhanced checks

An enhanced check gives the same police convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings as with a standard check but it also includes any additional relevant known information.

Enhanced with barred list check

This is needed for anyone working in "regulated activity".

What is "regulated activity"?

Regulated activity with children means carrying out any of the below activities frequently (more than 3 days in a 30 day period).

  • Unsupervised activities: teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children; providing advice/guidance on wellbeing, or driving a vehicle only for children.
  • Working for a limited range of "specified places" with the opportunity for contact with children and young people, for example schools, children’s homes, childcare premises.

These are also examples of regulated activity if unsupervised:

  • engaging in intimate or personal care of children.
  • health care (including by a registered health care professional).

Pre-employment checks for teachers

Before appointing teachers you must check:

  • the candidate’s qualifications and qualified teaching status
  • their eligibility to work as a teacher.

Teachers can be prohibited from teaching children and young people for various reasons, including unacceptable professional conduct or a conviction of a relevant criminal offence.

You can check teacher records through the following organisations:

  • England: National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) (TRA, 2018)
  • Northern Ireland: General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI) (GTCNI, 2018)
  • Scotland: General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) (GTCS, 2018)
  • Wales: Education Workforce Council in Wales (EWC) (EWC, 2018).

Supply teachers, student teachers and contractors in schools are all in regulated activity and so need an “enhanced with barred list” check.

If an individual has been working in regulated activity in a school or educational establishment less than three months before the new appointment, there is no need to apply for a new check.

Supervised volunteers, such as a parent helping regularly in school, are not eligible for an enhanced with barred list check as long as they are closely supervised.

If you’re allowing an individual to start work in regulated activity in a school before the DBS certificate is available, you should ensure that they are appropriately supervised and that all other checks are completed to ensure that they are not barred from working in a school.

Overseas checks

If a candidate has been resident overseas for three months or more over the past five years, you should obtain a check of the candidate’s criminal record from the relevant authority in that country. The Home Office (2017) provides guidance on applying for criminal records checks for overseas applicants.

All documents not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

What to do if vetting checks raise concerns

What to do if vetting checks raise concerns

If references, vetting, disclosure and barring checks reveal concerns about a person’s history, your organisation needs to assess whether or not they are suitable to work with children and young people.

It’s important to have clear procedures in place for making these decisions.

References

A reference should provide you with all the information you’ve asked for and the responses should be clear and direct.

  • If a reference expresses concerns, is incomplete or worded in a vague way, telephone the referee directly to address these issues. Keep a written record of any telephone conversations. If you can’t reach them by phone, write to the referee.
  • If the issue is significant, ask the referee for more details in writing. This is important if you decide not to consider the candidate further or if you need to explore the issue with them.
  • It’s against the law to ask for information relating to unsubstantiated concerns about any candidate. If a referee raises unsubstantiated concerns in their reference, you can’t include this information in your decision about whether to interview or employ the candidate.

Self-disclosure form

If a candidate discloses a caution or conviction on their self-disclosure form, you need to carry out a risk assessment to decide if this is relevant to the post. Consider whether you need to get any more information about the offence, for example by contacting a previous employer or the relevant police force.

Criminal records and barring checks

If the checks show that an applicant has been barred from working or volunteering with children or young people in regulated activity:

  • people on the barred list must not be given a role that requires them to work or volunteer with children or young people in regulated activity
  • it is illegal for an employer to knowingly employ somebody to carry out regulated activity whilst they are on the barred list
  • if you find that someone who has applied to work with children is barred, you should notify the police.

If an applicant has a criminal record but the offence is 'protected' or 'spent':

  • you cannot use spent or protected convictions as a reason not to employ somebody (unless the conviction makes them unsuitable to work with children).

If the applicant has not been barred from working with children but the checks have raised concerns (for example if they have a criminal record):

  • you need to carry out a risk assessment to ascertain whether the applicant is suitable to work with children and young people
  • you may need to put any formal offer of an appointment on hold to make sure you’ve got time to consider everything thoroughly.

Carrying out the risk assessment

Decisions about whether or not to employ someone whose vetting checks raised concerns should be made on a case-by-case basis. A risk assessment will help you work out whether they are suitable to work with children and young people.

Within your organisation, you should only share information about an applicant’s criminal record with those who need to know. The applicant should be told who in the organisation knows about his/her record.

If necessary, you must pass on information to the relevant authorities, such as the criminal records agency, professional bodies or police.

The applicant will usually know about any information revealed during the course of a vetting or barring check. You should discuss any concerns with them as part of the risk assessment process.

  • Past convictions might be a great source of anxiety and embarrassment for the person concerned, so you need to act with sensitivity and empathy.
  • Take all reasonable steps to gather as much relevant information as possible.
  • Make sure a third party is present during the discussions. Ask a colleague who was involved in the recruitment process to support you and take notes.
  • Carefully plan the questions you need to ask in advance, and keep the discussion focused on the individual, their feelings and attitudes.
  • It is not your responsibility to decide whether a legal decision was right or fair – you need to decide whether the applicant is suitable to work or volunteer with children and young people.

Making the decision

Follow your organisation’s procedures to make sure all recruitment decisions are consistent. Keep detailed notes on the process. These must be able to stand up to scrutiny in case of any complaint or employment tribunal.

The reasons for your decision should be objective, rational and easy to understand. Write these down and keep them in a securely lockable cabinet, along with the notes you made during your investigations.

Things to consider include:

  • the nature of the offence and its seriousness
  • the relevance of the offence to other staff, volunteers, children and their families
  • the length of time since the offence took place
  • the length of the sentence
  • whether the offence was an isolated incident or part of a pattern or history of offending
  • the circumstances which led to the offence being committed
  • whether these circumstances have changed (if so, do these changes increase or reduce the likelihood of similar offences happening in future?)
  • whether the individual has changed since the offence (if so, what has led to the change and does this reduce or increase the likelihood of them committing further offences?)
  • the level of remorse expressed by the applicant and/or any efforts to change
  • whether the new role provides opportunities to re-offend
  • any legal constraints relevant to the role, for example if the person has lost their driving licence and the role requires driving.

Confidential information

If the vetting and barring check includes additional information that is marked "in confidence", you should not discuss it with the applicant. This could compromise a criminal investigation or the safety of another person, and may in itself constitute a criminal offence under the Police Act 1997.

If you decide not to appoint someone on the basis of confidential information, you need to be careful when you inform them that the appointment is withdrawn. It is sufficient to tell the applicant that, on the basis of checks and references that have been made, you have had to withdraw the provisional job offer.

Storing disclosure and barring checks

You should not store copies of disclosure and barring check certificates unless there is a dispute about the results of the check. Instead, you should keep a confidential record of:

  • the date the check was completed
  • the level and type of check
  • the reference number of the certificate
  • the decision made about whether the person was employed (with reasons).

If there is a dispute about the results of a check, you may keep a copy of the certificate for no longer than six months. 

Managing allegations of abuse

Managing allegations of abuse

Creating a safer culture

The commitment to safeguarding children should be an ongoing process and have a high profile in your organisation. All staff and volunteers should feel responsible for helping to make a safer culture and empowered to speak out if they have concerns.

To help develop a safe environment for speaking out, you can:

  • have clear, easily available procedures for people to follow if they want to report a concern and make sure all staff understand them.
  • guarantee confidentiality.
  • commit to taking action about concerns that are raised.
  • model acceptable standards of behaviour.

Any allegation that an employee or volunteer has behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child must be taken seriously and dealt with sensitively and promptly.

The child’s views, needs and wishes must be considered carefully and they should be given appropriate support.

If you think a child is in immediate danger
Don't delay – call the police on 999,
or call us on 0808 800 5000, straight away.

Roles and responsibilities

Every organisation should appoint at least one person who is responsible for dealing with allegations or suspicions of abuse. Your organisation should make sure that all staff and volunteers know who this person is and how to contact them.

Staff and volunteers should also know who to contact if they feel unable to report an incident within their organisation. They can report an incident to the police or local social services.

Procedures for managing allegations

All organisations that provide services for or work with children should have clear procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse, complaints or concerns about a member of staff or volunteer. These should comply with national guidance.

Responding to an allegation of abuse

Depending on the situation, managing an allegation of abuse may involve:

  • a police investigation of a possible criminal offence
  • enquiries and assessment by children's social care about whether a child is in need of protection or in need of services
  • consideration by the employer of disciplinary action against the individual.

If someone resigns from their post or refuses to cooperate with the investigation process, this must not prevent an allegation being followed up.

“Compromise agreements” (where a person agrees to resign and the employer agrees not to pursue disciplinary action) must not be used in cases of alleged abuse.

Reporting an allegation of abuse

If an allegation is made that a staff member or volunteer has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they are unsuitable to work with children.

You must report this immediately to the relevant agencies (for example the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, your local children's social care services or the police).

If your organisation removes a member of staff or volunteer from working with children because they pose a risk of harm (or if you would have but the person has resigned or left), you have a legal duty to inform the relevant disclosure and barring agency. Failure to do this is a criminal offence.

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland refer to the DBS.
  • In Scotland refer to Disclosure Scotland.  

Confidentiality and support

You should make every effort to maintain the confidentiality of all parties while an allegation is being investigated.

Consider how best to support the children involved, their parents or carers, and individuals who have had an allegation made against them. This includes:

  • telling parents or carers and the employee or volunteer concerned about the allegation as soon as possible
  • telling them how you are going to manage the allegation
  • keeping everyone informed about the progress and outcomes of the case.

Record keeping

It’s important to keep a clear and comprehensive summary of:

  • all allegations that have been made
  • details of how allegations have been followed up and investigated
  • decisions made about the allegation and actions taken.

Learning lessons

If an allegation is substantiated it is vital to think about lessons that can be learnt. This should include:

  • considering whether there are factors that may have contributed to or failed to prevent abuse occurring
  • a review of recruitment policies
  • a review of the measures in place to ensure ongoing vigilance,
    making changes to organisational policies and procedures as necessary.

In some cases a case review may be appropriate. This means an independent reviewer will speak to all the agencies involved and consider the case. They will consider whether there are lessons that should be shared more widely to improve safeguarding practice.

Legislation and guidance

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have specific legislation and guidance relating to safer recruitment.

Safer recruitment procedures

Across the UK, statutory guidance highlights the responsibility of those in the education, community and care sectors to have policies and procedures in place that ensure they only employ suitable people to work or volunteer with children.

In England, the statutory guidance is Working together to safeguard children (Department for Education, 2018c). This highlights the responsibility of all organisations working with children to have safe recruitment practices in place.

English schools and colleges must follow Keeping children safe in education:
Statutory guidance for schools and colleges (Department for Education, 2018b).

  • This gives school governing bodies the responsibility to ensure safer recruitment practices are put into place.
  • Part 3 gives guidance on safer recruitment.
  • Part 4 covers managing allegations against teachers and other staff.

The Department for Education (DfE) has provided draft statutory guidance about disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 for local authorities, maintained schools, academies and free schools (DfE, 2018a).

In Northern Ireland, the key guidance is Co-operating to safeguard children and young people in Northern Ireland (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2017). This states that:

  • organisations providing services specifically to children and young people must have robust recruitment, selection and training procedures for staff and volunteers
  • this includes making sure staff and volunteers have an early induction in safeguarding training before they have contact with children.

Schools in Northern Ireland must follow Safeguarding and child protection in schools: a guide for schools (Department for Education, 2017). This states that the designated governor for child protection is responsible for the recruitment, selection, vetting and induction of staff. It gives guidance on recruiting and vetting staff and volunteers, as well as dealing with allegations of abuse made against a member of staff.

In Scotland the Care Inspectorate has published guidance on safer recruitment to help employers meet safer recruitment requirements (Care Inspectorate, 2016). The guidance is aimed at those in:

  • social care
  • early education and childcare
  • social work.

The principles will be helpful to any employer who needs to make sure they are recruiting the right people to work with children.

In Wales, the All Wales child protection procedures highlights the responsibility of all agencies working with children to have robust recruitment and selection procedures that create a high threshold of entry to deter abusers from seeking employment or voluntary work with children and families (All Wales Child Protection Procedures Review Group, 2008).

Welsh schools must follow Keeping learners safe:
the role of local authorities, governing bodies and proprietors of independent schools under the Education Act 2002 (Welsh Government, 2015). It states that is the role of school governing bodies to ensure safer recruitment practices are put into place.

Regulated activity

In England and Wales, Section 5 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 sets out what is “regulated activity”.

In addition, Section 64 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 restricts the scope of certain activities, so that activities which are supervised by another person who has undergone all the relevant disclosure and barring checks do not count as “regulated”.

In Northern Ireland, “regulated activity” is defined in Article 9 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (NI) Order 2007.

The Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI) published a circular in 2012 which states that volunteers working in schools are not working in “regulated activity” as long as a school can ensure they are being reasonably supervised on a regular basis (DENI, 2012).

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Department for Education has provided statutory guidance for schools, childcare establishments, colleges, youth groups, sports clubs and other organisations working with children and young people about how to supervise activities which would be classed as ‘regulated activity’ if they were unsupervised (Department for Education, 2013).

In Scotland “regulated activity” is defined in Schedule 2 of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.

Vetting and barring checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service provides detailed guidance for employers in England and Wales on the process of applying for DBS checks.

nidirect (2018b) provides guidance, forms and templates for AccessNI employers carrying out checks in Northern Ireland .

Guidance on using the Protecting vulnerable groups (PVG) scheme in Scotland is available from Disclosure Scotland (2010).

Information about how to apply to foreign countries for criminal records checks is available from the Home Office (2017).

Disqualification

Across the UK, it is an offence for an individual who has been barred to apply for a regulated position. It is also an offence for an employer to knowingly employ someone in a regulated position if they are barred from doing so. Employers must refer any information about employees or volunteers who (may) have harmed children while working for them to the relevant barring service for their nation.

In England and Wales, the legislation for this is the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

The Department for Education (DfE) has provided statutory guidance about disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 for schools and local authorities(Department for Education, 2018a).

In Northern Ireland, the legislation for this is the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (NI) Order 2007.
In Scotland, the legislation for this is the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.

Disqualification by association

In England, Regulation 9 of the Childcare (Disqualification) and Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 states that if somebody lives in the same household as another person who has been disqualified from working with children, they can be disqualified from working with children in domestic premises. The Department for Education’s statutory guidance for schools and local authorities on disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 covers disqualification by association (Department for Education, 2018a).

In Wales, if somebody lives in the same household as another person who has been disqualified from working with children, they can be disqualified from working with children regardless of the setting under Regulation 8 of The Child Minding and Day Care (Disqualification) (Wales) Regulations 2010.

Managing allegations

There are some differences in the way allegations should be handled in each nation of the UK.

In England, the national guidance is Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. (Department for Education, 2018c).

Local safeguarding partners will also have child protection procedures.

There is separate statutory guidance for schools in England: Keeping children safe in education: statutory guidance for schools and colleges (Department for Education, 2018b)

In Northern Ireland, the national guidance is Co-operating to safeguard children and young people in Northern Ireland (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2017). Section 7.2.10 covers allegations of abuse by a person in a position of trust.

DENI has also published a circular advising school principals and governors on how to manage an allegation of abuse against members of staff (DENI, 2015)

In Scotland, Safer recruitment through better recruitment (Care Inspectorate, 2016) includes guidance on dealing with concerns or allegations about a worker’s fitness to practise or harm to a user of a service.

In Wales, volume 5 of Working together to safeguard people deals with handling individual cases to protect children at risk, including managing allegations of abuse.


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References and resources

References and resources for safer recruitment

Care Inspectorate (2016) Safer recruitment through better recruitment (PDF). [Dundee]: Care Inspectorate. 

Children in Wales (2008) All Wales child protection procedures [Accessed 25/05/2017].

Department for Education (DfE) (2012) Regulated activity in relation to children: scope. Factual note by HM Government (PDF). [London]: Department for Education (DfE).

Department for Education (DfE) (2013) Statutory guidance: regulated activity (children) - supervision of activity with children which is regulated activity when unsupervised (PDF). [London]: Department for Education (DfE).

Department for Education (DfE) (2018a) Statutory guidance: Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006. [London]: Department for Education (DfE).

Department for Education (DfE) (2018b) Keeping children safe in education: statutory guidance for schools and colleges. London: Department for Education (DfE).

Department for Education (DfE) (2018c) Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (PDF). [London]: Department for Education (DfE).

Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI) (2012) Disclosure and barring arrangements: changes to pre-employment vetting checks for volunteers working in schools from 10 September 2012 (PDF). [Bangor]: DENI

Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI) (2015), Dealing with allegations of abuse against a member of staff (PDF). [Bangor]: DENI

Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI) (2017), Safeguarding and child protection – a guide for schools (PDF). [Bangor]: DENI

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) (2017) Co-operating to safeguard children and young people in Northern Ireland. Belfast: DHSSPS

Disclosure Scotland (2010) Protecting vulnerable groups scheme: guidance for individuals, organisations and personal employers (PDF). [Edinburgh] Scottish Government.

Home Office (2017) Criminal records checks for overseas applicants [Accessed 24/09/18].

Welsh Government (2015) Keeping learners safe: the role of local authorities, governing bodies and proprietors of independent schools under the Education Act 2002. [Cardiff]: Welsh Government.

Legislation

Regulation 9. The Childcare (Disqualification) and Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

Section 64. Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

Regulation 8. The Child Minding and Day Care (Disqualification) (Wales) Regulations 2010

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007

Article 9. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 

Schedule 2. Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007

Childcare Act 2006

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Section 5. Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

Police Act 1997

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Further reading

For further reading about safer recruitment, search the NSPCC Library catalogue using the keyword "recruitment".

If you need more specific information, please contact our Information Service