University Jewish Chaplaincy are committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults. We will carefully select, train and support all those with any responsibility within the organisation, in line with Safer Recruitment principles. This means that we will:
- Ensure that our recruitment and selection processes are inclusive, fair, consistent and transparent.
- Take all reasonable steps to prevent those who might harm children or adults from taking up, positions of respect, responsibility or authority where they are trusted by others.
- Adhere to safer recruitment legislation, guidance and standards, responding positively to changing understandings of good safer recruitment practice.
- Produce and disseminate practice guidance on safer recruitment, ensuring that such practice guidance is compatible, and keep it updated.
- Always seek advice from human resources personnel to achieve best possible practice.
- Ensure management staff are trained on safer recruitment practice guidance.
- Introduce systems for monitoring adherence to the University Jewish Chaplaincy’s safer recruitment practice guidance and review them regularly.
2. The Recruitment Process
Finding and recruiting the right people to work with children and adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect can be difficult. What follows is a safer recruitment checklist to help make sure that University Jewish Chaplaincy recruits / appoints safely the most appropriate people as employees or volunteers. It is a criminal offence for an individual who is barred from working with vulnerable groups to apply for a regulated activity role and it is a criminal offence for an organisation to appoint a barred person to a regulated activity role.
(a) Be clear about who is responsible for appointments. Responsibility for paid posts, on university campuses, is usually with the CEO/COO. In each case it is important that each of these bodies is clear about who is responsible for the recruitment process. Responsibility can be delegated but it is important that the person to whom it is delegated is capable, competent and trained in safer recruitment and is also able to keep personal matters confidential.
(b) Have a policy statement on the recruitment of ex-offenders. Applicants for paid and volunteer positions must be clear about how they will be treated if they are ex-offenders. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has published a sample policy statement on the recruitment of ex-offenders.
(c) Ensure that there are safeguarding policies in place. University Jewish Chaplaincy has a safeguarding policy. The safeguarding policy must be used in the recruitment process to ensure the applicant is aware of the safeguarding approach of University Jewish Chaplaincy. Have a clear job description or role, which sets out what tasks the applicant will do and what skills are required. The job description or job role will also say whether it is eligible for and requires a criminal records check, and if so the level of the check. If it is a paid role this must be a formal job description / person specification. If it is a voluntary role, a simple job role may be used.
(d) Job description or role and Criminal Record Checks – In broad summary, it is the policy of University Jewish Chaplaincy that all those who work regularly with children and / or adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect, must have, where appropriate, an enhanced criminal record check (with / without a check of the barred list, as appropriate). In addition, those who work only occasionally with vulnerable groups will also be asked to apply for enhanced checks, provided they are eligible.
(e) Application form / references. An application form will always be necessary in a paid role to assess the person’s suitability for the role. An application form will also be good practice when recruiting for a voluntary role. Always ask for and take up references. Ask referees specifically about an individual’s suitability to work with vulnerable people. Ensure that you carefully examine application forms and references and make sure that the information that has been provided is consistent and the organisation is provided with a satisfactory explanation for any discrepancies and / or any gaps in an applicant’s personal history and / or career. If anything is unclear in the reference, contact the referee to clarify the position.
(f) The Confidential Declaration. At the start of the process, where an individual is going to work or volunteer with vulnerable people, ask him / her to complete a ‘Confidential Declaration’ which, in broad summary, asks if there is any reason why he / she should not be working with children and adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect. It can also help to identify any issues that might need resolving at an early stage. Having a criminal record may not necessarily be a bar to working with children or adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect.
(g) Interview / discussion. Have a face-to-face interview or discussion with pre-planned and clear questions to assess a person’s suitability for a role. Check the Confidential Declaration and the references. In paid roles (and sometimes in volunteering roles) the candidate’s identity will need to be checked by asking him / her to bring photographic ID as well as evidence of his / her relevant qualifications. Include questions about an applicant’s values, attitude to working with children and adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect and motives for wanting to engage in such work. Always ask if he / she knows of any reason why he / she should not be working with children or adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect or if there are any pending cases / issues which could affect him / her or his / her ability to carry out the role. If the applicant discloses any matter during the interview that relates to children and / or adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect and which may affect the applicant’s suitability for the role, then this must be referred to the COO/ CEO.
(h) Asking for a Criminal Record Check. If the person / chair of the interview panel conducting the interview / discussion is minded to recommend approval then the applicant must be asked to carry out an appropriate criminal record check. A list of roles, which are eligible for, enhanced criminal record checks are outlined below. Special arrangements apply to overseas applicants. Should the applicant not wish to apply for a criminal record check, which is entirely his / her choice, the application must not proceed further and must be terminated.
(i) Overseas applicants. If a candidate/applicant etc. for a position that is eligible for a DBS check is coming from overseas who, either has never lived in the UK or spent a period of time (i.e. lived abroad), the person making the appointment should request an additional check and ask the applicant to obtain criminality information (also known as a certificate of good conduct/character) from his/her relevant embassy/high commission (or police force). This means that in addition to the DBS check, the candidate/applicant must seek this additional check to cover the time he/she spent abroad. (Further advice can be found on the Home Office website). If such information is not available from the embassy/high commission etc. or if there are concerns about the reliability of the information provided, the person(s) making the appointment should take extra care when taking up references and checking any previous employment record. In such cases, additional references should be sought and at least one reference from a previous employer should be contacted by telephone as well as by letter. Ensure all Home Office checks have been carried out.
(j) The decision to appoint to voluntary or paid work must be made only by those who have that responsibility. The start date or appointment must not be confirmed until the relevant criminal record check is received and examined. While local practice may vary, most criminal record checks are received and examined by the COO/CEO. Criminal record checks that are not clear (i.e. which contain information of, for instance, criminal convictions or cautions or additional information such as arrests) must always be referred to the COO/CEO for advice. All paid posts will receive a letter of appointment. It is also good practice for volunteers to receive a letter of appointment, which can set out both an organisation’s commitment to its volunteers and what it hopes from its volunteers.
(k) Employees or volunteers whose roles involve working with children and adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect must receive relevant safeguarding training from University Jewish Chaplaincy after starting their role, regardless of previous experience. They must also attend regular updates every three years.
(l) Probationary / settling in Period. It is good practice to have a period of probation, (for instance, 6 months) for any paid role or a settling in period for volunteers when the volunteer and the organisation can see whether the volunteer is suited to the particular role. During these periods relevant training can be planned and support can be arranged. In addition, regular meetings with the supervisor can be organised to discuss any issues etc. that arise. For paid roles, at the end of the probationary period a person must be confirmed in his / her role in writing.
(m) Supervision and regular review. All paid posts will be subject to management, supervision and appraisal. For all volunteer posts, working with children and adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect, it is good practice to ensure regular supervision and conduct a review regularly, as the role requires, (e.g. annually) so that volunteers feel supported and issues can be discussed and/or resolved.
3. Criminal Record Checks
(a) Who is eligible?
There are four types of criminal record checks:
- Basic– This checks for unspent criminal conviction information only.
- Standard – This checks for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.
- Enhanced – This includes the same as the standard check plus any additional information held by local police that’s reasonably considered relevant to the role being applied for.
- Enhanced with barred list checks – This is like the enhanced check, but includes a check of the DBS barred lists.
Good safeguarding practice requires those who work closely with children and / or adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect to have an enhanced criminal record check. The eligibility criteria for enhanced criminal record checks is complicated but put simply one can ask “are you over 16 and does the role include activities that allow regular/ substantial contact with children or adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect?” If the answer is “Yes” then you may be eligible for an enhanced criminal record check. Details as regards eligibility for enhanced criminal record checks, as set out in the legislation.
(b) Criminal Record Check Outcome
- If a criminal record disclosure is not clear, the applicant will be asked to present the original disclosure to the person responsible for the appointment. A copy may also be requested but please note a copy must not be requested in substitute for the original, the original disclosure must always be seen. The disclosure must be cross-referenced with the Confidential Declaration to see if there are any discrepancies. The disclosure will be passed to the COO/CEO for a risk assessment. The COO/CEO is qualified to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences and the risk. If the issues are complex he or she will ask for assistance from the Chairman. In very complex cases the advice of an independent specialist may be required. The COO/CEO will make a recommendation concerning the suitability of the applicant to the person responsible for the appointment in line with the organisation’s local arrangements. Should the applicant not wish the confidential declaration and / or the criminal record disclosure to be seen, which is entirely his / her choice, the application must not proceed further and must be terminated.
- If the barred list check has been completed and the individual is included, they should not be employed.
(c) Referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA) places a duty on organisations where people work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults in regulated activity to make a referral to the DBS in certain circumstances to protect vulnerable people from harm. This is when an organisation has dismissed or removed a person from working / volunteering with children or vulnerable adults in regulated activity (or would or may have removed such a person if the person had not left or resigned etc.) because the person has:
- Been cautioned or convicted of a relevant offence (e.g. a serious sexual or violent offence); or
- Engaged in relevant conduct in relation to children and / or vulnerable adults, (i.e. an action or inaction (neglect) that has harmed a child or vulnerable adult or put them at risk of harm as defined under the SVGA); or
- Satisfied the harm test in relation to children and / or vulnerable adults, (i.e. there has been no relevant conduct (i.e. no action or inaction) but a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult still exists as defined under the SVGA).
(d) Proof of Right to Work
Proof of right to work in the UK needs to be checked for all employees and volunteers. The two documents which should be checked are:
UK, EEA and EU citizens have a right to work in the UK. All other countries will require an appropriate visa. If the individual does not have the right to work in the UK then they cannot be employed.
If an individual has lived/worked abroad in the last 5 years then additional checks will need to be undertaken. The Home Office provides a country by country guide for the application processes for foreign national criminality information. The appropriate check listed in that guide should be conducted. The same consideration should be given to any cautions/convictions identified by this check as those identified on an enhanced DBS check.