Safer Recruitment Policy
The Safer Recruitment policy aims to help to deter, reject, or identify people who might abuse children, or are otherwise unsuited to work with them. At every stage of the process, Oxford Education Services’ commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is highlighted. Oxford Education Services is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.
Safer Recruitment Policy as part of our Safeguarding Policy describes the procedure of recruitment including Advertisement, Application Form, Job Description, Person specification, Scrutinising and shortlisting, Reference, Interview invitation, Interview, DBS checks, Post appointment. This policy is supported by the Department for Education ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2020).
Safer Recruitment for Staff
On receipt of expressions of interest and accompanying CV’s, the Director and Safeguarding Lead will screen initial submissions, and the application form will be launched to applicants who have the potential to meet the requirements of the job specification and person specification.
The details of the applicant will be obtained including current and former names, date of birth, current address and National Insurance number;
a statement of any academic and/or vocational qualifications the applicant has obtained that are relevant to the position for which s/he is applying with details of the awarding body and date of award;
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 and end dates, explanations for periods not in employment, education or training and reasons for leaving employment; Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education
a declaration of any family or close relationship to existing employees or employers (including councillors and governors);
details of referees： One referee should be the applicant’s current or most recent employer and normally two referees should be sufficient. Where an applicant who is not currently working with children has done so in the past it is important that a reference is also obtained from the employer by whom the person was most recently employed in work with children. The form should make it clear that references will not be accepted from relatives or from people writing solely in the capacity of friends, and that references may be sought from previous employers on short listed candidates for information to verify particular experience or qualifications, before interview;
a statement of the personal qualities and experience that the applicant believes are relevant to his/her suitability for the post advertised and how s/he meets the person specification
Applicants will be asked to declare that they are not disqualified from working with children through the Independent Safeguarding Authority’s (ISA) Barring Lists, or subject to sanctions imposed by a regulatory or professional body, and has no convictions, cautions or bind overs. There will be a self- disclosure process introduced to ensure the applicant has an opportunity to raise all information in a confidential way. Any disclosures can be discussed with them prior to or at interview (pending receipt of the completed enhanced DBS check).
If the applicant is currently working with children, on either a paid or voluntary basis, his/her current employer with children will be asked about disciplinary offences relating to children, including any in which the penalty is time-expired (that is where a warning could no longer be taken into account in any new disciplinary hearing for example) and whether the applicant has been the subject of any child protection concerns and, if so, the outcome of any enquiry or disciplinary procedure. If the applicant is not currently working with children but has done so in the past, that previous employer will be asked about those issues.
Providing false information may be an offence and could result in the application being rejected or summary dismissal if the applicant has been selected and possible referral to the police.
Once a post becomes vacant or a new post is created, the Director or the Designated Safeguarding Leads will review the job description to ensure compliance with the Safer Recruitment guidance.
The job description should state the main duties and responsibilities of the post; and the individual’s responsibility for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children s/he is responsible for or comes into contact with. The extent of this responsibility will vary according to the nature of the post being advertised.
The Person Specification is supplementary information to the job description and lists essential and desirable criteria for the post, including experience, competencies and qualities that the successful candidate should be able to demonstrate. The Person Specification should explain how these requirements will be tested and assessed during the selection process. This document will be reviewed by the Director or the Designated Safeguarding Leads to ensure compliance with the Safer Recruitment guidance.
The Person Specification will explain that the interview will explore issues relating to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children including:
- motivation to work with children;
– ability to form and maintain appropriate relationships and personal boundaries with children;
– emotional resilience in working with challenging behaviours; and
– explain that if the applicant is short-listed any relevant issues arising from his/her references will be taken up at interview.
Scrutinizing and shortlisting application
Two members of staff are responsible for scrutinising applications and short listing candidates. The guidance recommends that at least one member of the panel is Safer Recruitment trained.
All applications are checked to ensure they are fully and properly completed, that the information is consistent, does not contain any discrepancies and to ensure that any gaps in employment are identified.
As per the Safer Recruitment guidance, incomplete application forms will not be accepted and will be returned to the applicant for completion.
Any gaps in employment will be noted and considered during the short listing process. In addition, reasons for any repeated changes of employment without a clear career or salary progression, or a mid-career move from a permanent post to supply teaching or temporary work will also be explored and verified.
All applicants will be assessed equally against the criteria contained in the person specification without exception or variation and without unlawful discrimination.
Oxford Education Services seeks references from each application to obtain objective and factual information to support appointment decisions. References will always be sought and obtained directly from the referee.
Referees are asked to comment on work, professional competence and personal qualities. The comments on the applicant’s suitability to work with children and concerns about the applicant with children or any disciplinary details will be asked as well.
‘To whom it may concern’ references are not accepted by Oxford Education Services to reduce the risk of making an appointment decision on a forged reference.
Where (due to operational need) a reference is secured over the telephone, the reference must be obtained in writing to provide a record of the information obtained from the referee.
Any offer of employment will always be conditional on the receipt of satisfactory references.
References should always be obtained in writing and telephone contact made to verify the reference where possible.
In addition to the arrangements for interviews – time and place, directions to the venue, membership of the interview panel – the invitation should remind candidates about how the interview will be conducted and the areas it will explore including suitability to work with children.
The invitation should also stress that the identity of the successful candidate will need to be checked thoroughly to ensure the person is who he or she claims to be, and that where an enhanced DBS Disclosure is appropriate the person will be required to complete an application for a DBS Disclosure straight away. Consequently, all candidates should be instructed to bring with them documentary evidence of their identity that will satisfy the requirements of an enhanced DBS.i.e. either a current driving licence or passport including a photograph, or a full birth certificate, plus a document such as a utility bill or financial statement that shows the candidate’s current name and address and where appropriate change of name documentation. In addition, where the candidate needs permission to work in the UK, they must present this documentation at the interview for checking and verification.
Candidates should also be asked to bring documents confirming any educational and professional qualifications that are necessary or relevant for the post, e.g. the original or a certified copy of a certificate, or diploma, or a letter of confirmation from the awarding body. If the successful candidate cannot produce original documents or certified copies, written confirmation of his or her relevant qualifications should be obtained from the awarding body.
A copy of the documents used to verify the successful candidate’s identity, right to work and required qualifications should be kept for the personnel file. Separate copies of documents are not required to be kept in order to meet the requirements of maintaining the single central record.
The interview will be conducted by at least 2 people who will have met before the interview to agree the required standard for the role, consider the issues to be explored with each candidate and how the interview will be conducted.
Two interviewers allow for one interviewer to observe and assess the candidate while the other interviewer makes notes using the pre-planned competency based question set. This reduces the possibility of any dispute about what was said or asked during the interview.
The panel will agree to the questions they will ask candidates during the interview, the issues that may have been identified in the application form and references that may need exploring. This should include:
the candidate’s attitude toward children;
his or her ability to support the authority or establishment’s agenda for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children;
gaps in the candidate’s employment history;
concerns or discrepancies arising from the information provided by the candidate and/or a reference;
the panel should also ask the candidate if they wish to declare anything in light of the requirement for an enhanced DBS check
The panel will record the interview on the Oxford Education Services Interview Form which is saved on the Staffing Organisation – Safer Recruitment – Staff records.
If, for whatever reason, references are not obtained before the interview, the candidate should also be asked at interview if there is anything s/he wishes to declare or discuss in light of the questions that have been (or will be) put to his/her referees. It is vital that the references are obtained and scrutinised before a person’s appointment is confirmed and before s/he starts work
The interview process will ask the candidate to present original documentation of any educational or professional qualifications that are necessary or relevant to the post. If the candidate is not able to present the certificates, written confirmation of his or her relevant qualifications must be obtained from the awarding body.
A copy of the documents used to verify the candidate’s identity, right to work in the U.K. and qualifications must be kept for the personnel file. These should be checked, signed and dated by the verifier. Confirmation that these documents have been inspected should be recorded in the Personnel section of the confidential Staff Records folder.
The successful candidate will be conditional upon the receipt of at least two satisfactory references, proof of identification, proof of right to work in the UK (if appropriate), an enhanced DBS check, verification of qualifications where they are a requirement of the post and the completion of any probationary period.
Oxford Education Services follow relevant DBS guidance if a check reveals information that a candidate has not disclosed in the course of the selection process. Enhanced DBS checks will always be followed up where the results are unsatisfactory or there are discrepancies in the information provided.
Where the candidate is found to be disqualified from working with children by a court; or an applicant has provided false information or in support of, his or her application; or there are serious concerns about an applicant’s suitability to work with children, the facts must be reported to the police and/or the Independent Safeguarding Authority by the Designated Safeguarding Leads.
Post Appointment : Induction
Newly appointed staff members will have an induction programme to complete regardless of previous experience. The induction programme includes policy and procedure training, details of the support available for individuals in their new role, confirmation of the Staff Code of Conduct, and provides opportunities for new staff members to discuss any issues or concerns through 1:1 meetings with their supervisor.
The content and nature of the induction will vary according to the role and previous experience of the new member of staff, however will always include the safeguarding policy, staff code of conduct, how to report concerns, whistle-blowing policy and with whom they should discuss any concerns about their role or responsibilities. The programme will contain Level 1 Child Protection Training.
The supervisor of the newly appointed staff member will report any concerns or issues about a person’s ability or suitability for the role at the outset, and address these immediately.
Oxford Education Services will provide safeguarding training for new staff members to maintain a safer culture in our workplace.
Safer Recruitment for Host Families
All our host families are recruited through the recommendation of our friends and previous host families. However, they will still need to go through application form, interview, followed by satisfaction of references and DBS checks.
Upon receiving an interest from a potential host family,we will send out the application form with Host Family Guideline which outlines the responsibility and the requirements as a host family.
The Application Form outlines the requirement for the applicants (including members of the host family aged 16 and over and other temporary resident) to complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check. The applicant will be required to provide evidence (i.e. original documents) of their identification during the initial inspection for verification.
Enhanced DBS checks are required for all members of the host family aged 16 and over and other temporary residents. Enhanced DBS checks are not required for students being hosted by the family i.e. under 18 and at a boarding school or language school. Enhanced DBS checks will be required for a student who is over 18 and staying with the host family or other lodgers.
Scrutinising and short listing
When the application form is submitted, the Manager and Host Family Recruitment Assistant scrutinise the form to ensure they are fully and properly completed, are in the right host family area for the students and are suitable for the initial inspection and interview stage.
For the host and hostess in the host family references are requested (prior to interview). This is to obtain objective and factual information to support appointment decisions. As a minimum, one personal and one professional reference must be obtained for each host and hostess, or one professional reference for each host and hostess with one joint personal reference. The host family must provide written permission to confirm these references can be sought.
When the application form is submitted the applicant must nominate referees who they have known in a professional and personal capacity, with the personal referee having known the applicant for a minimum of two years.
Referees are asked to comment on work, professional competence and personal qualities. Referees are asked to comment on the applicant’s suitability to work with children, to outline any concerns about the applicant with children or any disciplinary details.
Any offer of employment will always be conditional on the receipt of satisfactory references.
References should always be obtained in writing and telephone contact made to verify the reference where possible.
Interviews and initial visits
For applicants who are shortlisted, the Manager or Local Coordinator will arrange the initial visit. The invitation for the initial visit and interview should stress that the successful candidate will need to be checked thoroughly in terms of identification and the completion of an enhanced DBS check. This will require the candidate to provide the documentary evidence of their identity (for example current driving licence, passport, full birth certificate, plus documents for example utility bill or financial statement that shows the candidate’s full name and address). Where a candidate has changed their name, full documentation must be provided detailing the previous name and current name.
The host family applicant is advised and given instructions on how to prepare for the identification and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check during the visit.
During the initial visit, the Local Coordinator interviews the applicants face to face to confirm suitability for the role and suitability to work with children.
The Local Coordinator inspects the house, garden and car which will be used to transport students and secures photographs of the property (including individual rooms).
The Local Coordinator is encouraged to discuss his/her previous employment history and experience,and to note any indications that the host or hostess may not have the health and/or physical capacity for the role, together with the applicant’s right to work in the UK where appropriate. The LC must check and verify the documents used to verify an applicant’s identity, right to work in the U.K. and/or qualifications (where appropriate).
The Local Coordinator should assess and evaluate the applicant’s suitability for being a Oxford Education host family, their motivation for working with children and young people, and their ability to support the company agenda for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. There is scope on the visit form to record this detail which should be submitted to Head Office for assessment.
The Local Coordinator is encouraged to ask the applicants aged 16 or over in the host family if they wish to declare anything in light of the requirement for an Enhanced DBS disclosure.
Where references have not been returned to Head Office before an interview, the prospective host family can be asked at interview if there is anything they wish to declare or discuss in light of the questions that have been or will be put to his or her referees.
Conditional Offer of Appointment and DBS Checks
The successful applicants will be conditionally accepted pending references, proof of identification,proof of right to work in the UK (if appropriate), an enhanced DBS check, verification of qualifications where they are a requirement of the post and the completion of any probationary period.
Post Appointment: Induction
Newly appointed host family are provided with a Host Family Guideline which contains guidance and advice for the role of host family. The Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is also made available to the host family including Level 1 Child Protection Training.
The host family Initial Visits, Revisits and Spot Check process provides Oxford Education Services with the infrastructure to continually monitor the quality of host family for our students to ensure the highest standards are afforded to our students.
A regular safeguarding feedback should be sought from students in relation to the host family. DSL is responsible for leading the resolution of safeguarding concerns and incidents in accordance with the Safeguarding Policy and Procedure.
Post Appointment DBS checks
Where there is a permanent resident in the house who is over 16, we need to complete an enhanced DBS check. We are legally unable to carry out a DBS check for temporary residents, so in these instances, we inform our students’ parents in advance that there is a temporary resident for whom we have been unable to carry out a DBS check. Host families are informed that temporary residents must never be left alone with our students.
Where there is an overseas student staying with a UK host family via a private arrangement or through another Guardianship Organisation, an enhanced DBS check will not be required. Head Office will assess whether or not there is an opportunity to complete the DBS screening check for 16-17 year olds depending on the availability of the parents to complete the process. For other overseas students staying in the house short term, it is not feasible for us to DBS check them.
These cases should be decided on a case by case basis by the Managing Directors.
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
This policy was last reviewed on: …25/11/2020…………………………(date)
Signed: …. ………………………………………………