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Safe recruitment is essential for safeguarding the welfare of children and young individuals. All organisations that employ staff or volunteers to work with children and young people are responsible for protecting their interests. Part of this is by ensuring they adopt a safe recruitment and selection process to prevent unsuitable individuals from gaining access to kids and putting their safety at risk.
So, here's how to make the recruitment process safer.
Establishing safer recruitment policies and procedures is vital towards protecting the children and young people who will be in contact with staff and volunteers. In addition, it's also essential to develop clear written procedures and ensure everyone involved with any form of recruitment knows how to adhere to them. This help to ensure that organisations are recruiting staff and volunteers fairly and safely and that the safety of the children is given priority in every state of the recruitment process.
The first step is to plan the process of recruitment. You must establish a solid plan and ensure a consistent approach when recruiting new staff or volunteers. A planned and structured approach can help minimise the risk of hiring someone unsuitable. Furthermore, it helps to ensure you are recruiting the right individual for the role, and there are records of the process for future reference.
Following a written recruitment procedure can also mean you will be less likely to miss out each time you recruit. In addition, it helps to ensure you adhere to the proper legislation and guidance whenever you bring someone into the organisation.
Consider the resources you will need and how to make these available during recruitment, including ensuring enough people are there to conduct interviews. Above all, the document should define the role of the people you are hiring. It should highlight the safeguarding responsibilities of every person working with kids and young children, along with the role description and specification.
It is vital for organisations that appoint staff and volunteers to work with children to carry out specific background checks and pre-employment screenings on new employees to minimise the risk of child abuse.
Thorough background checks and risk assessments are essential during recruitment, improving your chances of making the right hiring decision. It can include everything, from employment history to social media checks, education checks, sanction list checks, and more. The process can require contacting previous employers and personal references to determine if the person is suitable for working with children and young individuals.
A comprehensive background check can help uncover any red flags that may not be visible on a resume or during interviews, such as a criminal history or past misconduct in the workplace. Conducting an employee background check can help mitigate the risk of hiring an individual that can threaten the welfare of children and vulnerable individuals in the organisation.
When conducting employee verification, it is not enough that you confirm hiring dates and reasons for leaving from past employers. You must do a deep dive to uncover how these individuals performed in their past job, especially if it involves working with children. If the person submits a certification to prove they have undergone safeguarding training, contact the institutions that offer such training to confirm and ensure the document's legitimacy.
One way to make the recruitment process safer is to ensure you are hiring those with Safeguarding Awareness. Otherwise, organisations should let the staff undergo safeguarding training. The Safeguarding Awareness Training will teach employees how to protect children and young people from abuse and maltreatment.
The training will also teach participants how to prevent harm to vulnerable kids and protect their welfare, ensuring they grow up with safe and effective care. It will also discuss the proper actions to take if they suspect abuse or maltreatment.
It is essential for schools and organisations working with children to have up-to-date and reliable safeguarding training to support them in ensuring the safety of the children and students under their care.
It is crucial for safeguarding training to reflect an individual's role in the organisation. Thus, it's worth considering taking bespoke courses that can help participants gain confidence and knowledge to ensure children's safety.
The most effective safeguarding training materials will allow you to develop and improve safeguarding practices to ensure the safety of children and young people in your organisations. In addition, organisations should regularly update the training materials, and ensure everyone working with children, including volunteers, must receive the updates.
When you uncover allegations of inappropriate behaviour during recruitment, you should be able to manage and address these concerns in the most appropriate way possible. Your organisation must assess whether or not they are still suitable to work with children and young people despite the allegations. It's crucial to have clear procedures in place on how to manage these allegations.
You may need to put a hold on any formal offer of appointment to ensure you have enough time to consider everything. Depending on the nature of the allegations, you may need to pass the information to relevant authorities like police, professional bodies, and criminal records agency.
The organisation's policies and procedures must make clear to whom these incidents will be reported and must be done without any delay. Organisations should have a case manager who will take the lead in investigating the incident. In schools, it can be the principal or head teacher. But when the head teacher is the subject of the allegation, the chair of governors or management committee should lead the investigation.
If the lead investigator has identified the child has been harmed, there is an immediate risk of harm to the child, and the situation is deemed emergency, the police and children's social care and should be informed immediately. The case manager should discuss with the authorities the nature and context of the allegation.
This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC
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