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Safer Recruitment

Fri 13 Sep 2019

Whether you are employing staff or recruiting volunteers, you need to be confident that those who are working with adults at risk or children are suitable.  Safeguarding is a big topic and involves more than just doing a DBS so in this article we examine some of the steps you can take to protect those most vulnerable.

Plan ahead

Writing a good job or role description is crucial to enable you to match applicants well against set criteria.  All tasks should be clearly written so that it comes as no surprise to an individual when they take up a position.

Have good policies and procedures in place that are well understood and widely adopted.  The obvious one is safeguarding – this should be in place for any organisation working with vulnerable individuals.  But what about whistleblowing?  What mechanisms are in place for staff or volunteers to report anything that they think is amiss?  Do you have a good volunteer policy with a resolving problems section in order to deal with any issues at the earliest opportunity?  Do you have a thorough complaints process?  Does your lone working policy protect both your volunteer/staff member as well as the service user?


Consider your method of recruiting staff and volunteers.  Are the questions consistent and do you measure against the tasks required of the role and/or skills and experience needed?  Give them scenarios to assess what they would do in different situations.  Ensure that there is an opportunity for the applicant to find out what your organisation is about and the work that it does to determine if it’s the right place for them.

References are a great idea but need to be meaningful.  Asking for a carte blanche character reference will potentially only tell you a limited picture.  Design your reference form so that it mirrors the role you are recruiting to, asking meaningful questions that will give you more insight into the suitability of the applicant.

Consider DBS guidelines and risk assess the role to determine if you can do a criminal records check.  If in doubt, contact your Locality Officer and we can discuss individual circumstances.


Have a thorough induction, preferably using a template to ensure that you don’t miss anything.  Tell them all about your service users and the needs.  Provide a comprehensive and thorough introduction to your organisation’s values and ways of working.  Don’t just give them the policies to read, go through them in person so that they are fully understood.

If you can provide a settling in period.  This is an opportunity for any early problems to be resolved as well as providing the means to part ways should the need arise.  You may want to do this before the person commits, where practicable.

Ensure consistent access to training in safeguarding adults at risk or children as well as any other job specific training needs.

Ongoing support and supervision is crucial, particularly in the early days.  This will enable you to pick up any additional training needs, ensure that the worker/volunteer has fully understood policies, procedures and the values of your organisation as well as any other issues that may give you cause for concern.  It also gives individuals the opportunity to raise any issues and ask for clarity

How can we help?

All Support Staffordshire members are able to access advice and guidance as part of their membership package.  This can include reviewing role descriptions, policies and procedures and recruitment processes, referencing up-to-date best practice guidelines. 

If your staff or volunteers are members then you are entitled to send up to 2 people on our fully funded Right Start Adult Safeguarding course.  Alternatively if you have more training needs then we can come in and deliver a Level 2 Adult safeguarding course in-house at a cost of £210. 

For any more information please contact your Locality Officer or the Consultancy team at consultancy@supportstaffordshire.org.uk