Safer recruitment is one of the most important aspects of safeguarding children and young people. The governing body must ensure that there are effective systems in place to recruit new staff, including agency staff, volunteers and coaches. Safer recruitment is not only about vetting people before they start, but to also ensure that the staff code of conduct is strong to identify inappropriate behaviour in appointed staff.
How does Safer Recruitment work in practice?
A key aspect of safeguarding is the vetting of applicants and prospective volunteers working with children to make sure they are not unsuitable. Guidance about this is in the Governance Handbook (Section 6.7), and in 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' (Part Three).
Schools must create a culture of safe recruitment and, as part of that, adopt recruitment procedures that help deter, reject or identify people who might harm children. At least one person on every interview panel must have completed 'Safer Recruitment' training. However, other people are involved in the recruitment process and consideration should be given to training these people too.
Governing bodies must be clear about the checking and vetting processes, before short-listing, during the interviews and afterwards. They should be assured there are effective processes in place for arranging checks, including DBS, identity, right to work in the UK and any required overseas police checks, often called a 'Certificate of Good Conduct'.
As part of Safer Recruitment, all governors must have an Enhanced DBS check. In academies, free schools and independent schools, governors must also be checked to ensure they are not prohibited from being a governor, this is often known as the section 128 check.
The governing body must reassure itself that all appropriate suitability checks have been undertaken and that the school keeps a Single Central Record (SCR), detailing the range of checks it has carried out on its staff. The SCR should be reviewed to ensure that it is being kept accurately, and in some schools this is done by the safeguarding governor. Whoever reviews the SCR should have had suitable training to understand how the record should be kept.
When making appointments, governing bodies and academy trusts will need to reassure themselves that mechanisms are in place within the school to check that any person employed to teach has the required teaching qualifications and has successfully completed any statutory induction required.
At Dunkirk, we ensure that there are staff with Safer Recruitment training and that the training is kept up to date. We have a staff code of conduct and re-visit that code to ensure all staff are clear and expectations and safe ways of working in school. Governors also check safeguarding through monitoring and checks.