Frequently Asked Questions

Safer Recruitment

We've collated some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns around Safer Recruitment and the responsibility of every organisation to protect the children, young adults and vulnerable people it cares for.

What is Safeguarding?

Organisations such as schools follow a set of practices to ensure the staff they employ and the volunteers within the organisation are suitable to be working with children, young and vulnerable people.  This is a fundamental aspect of a school’s statutory obligation to keep its students safe from harm.  

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) does not assign safer recruitment to the safeguarding lead/person; however, it is important that all staff involved in recruitment understand the safeguarding requirements when appointing new staff.  

How does Safer Recruitment affect Safeguarding?

KCSIE explains that 'Safer Recruitment' is an important first step to ‘help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children and is a crucial part of the safeguarding process. Safer Recruitment covers the following 

  • writing the job description
  • shortlisting potential candidates 
  • relevant checks such as DBS 
  • contacting references
  • the interview process
  • using induction, training and probation periods to ensure the right person is hired

It is important to note that the practices of Safer Recruitment should be applied to all individuals working with children and young people whether paid or voluntary. This applies not only to schools but also to sports teams, social clubs and other organised or extra-curricular activities that children and young people may participate in. 

Safer Recruitment FAQs

What is a Safer Recruitment Policy?

Organisations such as schools will have many safeguarding policies and procedures. Your Safer Recruitment Policy is vital as it shows your organisation's commitment to recruiting staff and volunteers who are suitable to work with children and young people while identifying and rejecting those who are not suitable. This policy sends a clear message that the safety of the children and young people in your care is first and foremost and that each member of staff understands their safeguarding responsibility. 

What to include in your Safer Recruitment Policy?

Your organisation’s safer recruitment policy should consist of; 

  • Your promise to safeguard and protect all children and young people in your care through robust safer recruitment practices 
  • How you will identify and reject applicants who are unsuitable to work with children and young people 
  • How you will respond to concerns about applicants during the recruitment process 
  • The response to concerns about staff members throughout their employment at your organisation  
  • Mandatory induction for all new starters which includes confirming their safeguarding and child protection responsibilities 
  • The date the policy comes into force and upcoming review dates  
What is a Single Central Record?

The Single Central Record (SCR) is a maintained register that records all the recruitment checks an individual must undertake before they are hired. 

In England and Wales, it is a statutory requirement for all schools and colleges to maintain their SCR.  

What checks need to be carried out?

The following checks need to be made and information recorded and retained in the organisations SCR: 

  • The applicant’s identity 
  • Checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) 
  • Checks for prohibition from teaching and other sanctions 
  • The right to work in the UK and living or working overseas 
  • Professional qualifications 

These checks need to be carried out for all individuals employed by the school or college, including teaching staff, support staff, supply staff, contractors, volunteers and school governors/trustees. Whilst the checks can differ based on the role that person is being appointed for, every person needs a separate entry on the SCR and a complete record of the recruitment checks. 

The Single Central Record and Inspections

Ofsted and Estyn both view the accuracy and effectiveness of a school’s SCR as a high priority, and as result, the SCR is often inspected on the very first morning of a school inspection. It is essential that the data they are inspecting is easy to access, easy to interpret and presents the information in a logical format. Several schools have found that a digital database is far superior to paper records and/or spreadsheet and far easier to manage the recruitment process and well as inspections.  

When Safer Recruitment Practices are not followed

Schools have a legal responsibility to do all that they can to stop dangerous people from gaining access to their pupils and students. They are in a good position to proactively deter individuals by doing the following things:

  • having appropriate checks in place
  • confirming and following up on professional references
  • requesting and requiring proof of identity
  • conducting criminal checks and contacting authorities of other countries someone may have lived in to ensure there is no criminal history

Through serious case reviews, we see the ultimate price that is paid when safer recruitment has not been carried out and unsuitable staff have been employed to work with children. 

Watch our Safer Recruitment Webinars

Practical Approaches to Safer Recruitment

The Recruitment Process from Applications to Hiring

The recruitment process can be extensive.  From the moment you start writing the job description to the application and interview process.  Through to the induction and probation period – and it doesn’t end there. It flows right into creating a safer culture within your organisation by making sure all staff and volunteers are aware of your safeguarding policies and have had safeguarding training that suits their role.  

Safer Recruitment Safeguarding Training

Safer recruitment training is critical for every individual involved in the recruitment process - from teaching staff to governors. By taking our Safer Recruitment; Creating a Safer Culture course you will gain vital skills in identifying, deterring and rejecting individuals who pose a risk of harm and gain an understanding of the statutory responsibilities incorporating the recommendations. 

On completion of this course, you will have gained all the necessary skills and confidence to manage your Safer Recruitment process. You will understand how Safer Recruitment fits into the wider context of safeguarding and be able to create a robust child protection culture within your establishment. 

DBS Checks for Under 18s

There are many people under the age of 18 in the UK working or volunteering in positions that usually would require a DBS check such as young people who have left school and are currently doing an apprenticeship in care work or education. This leads to the question of whether employers and voluntary organisations need to conduct DBS checks when hiring people between the ages of 16 and 18 like they would their adult employees.  

In September 2012 the UK government made it mandatory that children and young adults over the age of 16 must have a DBS check when applying or volunteering for roles that require one. Children under 16-year-olds also require a DBS check when taking part in volunteering, part-time work or unpaid work experience which involves regulated activity with those under 18. 

For more information visit the CareCheck website. 

Why Choose Safeguarding Software?

Many organisations are choosing to move their safeguarding processes online, using digital systems for electronic record keeping, designed specifically for safeguarding. This process is much more secure and reliable, not to mention more time-efficient for all staff.

Safeguarding software helps schools' colleges and other organisations to keep an accurate record of all their concerns which can be relied upon for evidence in court proceedings, even years into the future. Unlike paper records, safeguarding software also facilitates secure information sharing, while enabling an organisation to remain compliant with data protection regulations. Safeguarding software records are also protected from risks associated with paper files: fire, theft and flood.

You may also be interested in

Safer Recruitment Blogs

Safer Recruitment: Learning the Lessons from Serious Case Reviews

Safer Recruitment: Learning the Lessons from Serious Case Reviews

Safer recruitment is an effective first step in keeping dangerous people away from vulnerable children and adults and a crucial part of the safeguarding process. Safer Recruitment covers everything from writing the job description to shortlisting, checks and references, interviewing and using induction and probation periods to ensure you have hired the right person.

Read More
Safer Recruitment and the SCR

Safer Recruitment and the SCR

In this blog, Deputy Headteacher and Safeguarding Lead Luke Ramsden takes a step-by-step approach to safer recruitment. He explains the fundamentals of safer recruitment during each stage of the process and highlights the role of the Single Central Record (SCR) in schools.

Read More
Safer Recruitment and Child Protection in an International Setting

Safer Recruitment and Child Protection in an International Setting

In this blog, we cover safer recruitment in an international setting including how safer recruitment is the first vital step in protecting children and the lessons that can be learned from serious case reviews. We offer practical guidelines that you can embed into the recruitment procedures within your establishment.

Read More
Safer Recruitment with the Sports Sector

Safer Recruitment with the Sports Sector

In 2020 we ran a webinar discussing the issue of Safer Recruitment currently facing sports clubs of all levels. Our expert panel looked at some of the key issues that clubs and coaches must consider when protecting their players, athletes or participants. This blog summarises those discussions.

Read More

Sentry for Safer Recruitment

These are some of the other questions we are asked about our Safer Recruitment Software Sentry

What is Sentry for Safer Recruitment?

Sentry is a safeguarding software tool that effectively manages your safer recruitment process and acts as your Single Central Record (SCR).

How is Sentry more effective than my existing processes?

Sentry will ensure that your recruitment processes are robust and act as a critical first line of defence against those individuals who may present significant risks to children and young people. Using spreadsheets or paper is subject to human error. Using Sentry you can ensure all relevant checks have been made and no important step missed.

How will Sentry support safeguarding in my setting?

Sentry effectively manages your safer recruitment process and acts as your Single Central Record (SCR). It enables you to easily record all recruitment checks that are required by the statutory guidance and to closely track every step of the process. The system has been designed to guide you through the recruitment process, to monitor the progress of outstanding checks, and to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation.

How will Sentry help my setting go above and beyond safeguarding requirements.

Sentry for Safer Recruitment can help you take your safeguarding processes to the next level, being customisable to meet the needs of your own safeguarding policies and practice.

Will I save time using Sentry?

Using Sentry will certainly save you time in the recording and management of safeguarding checks, allowing you to easily and quickly keep track of the safer recruitment process.

Is my data secure in Sentry?

Yes. Data is stored securely in resilient DfE approved data centres in the UK. We are Cyber Essentials Plus accredited. Sentry uses two-factor authentication and secure encrypted data transmission using SSL/TLS. We are GDPR ready, DfE Cloud Services compliant and registered with the UK Information Commissioner.