The Disclosure and Barring Service has published a care worker recruitment toolkit to help social care employers gather sufficient employment and conduct references.
The Better Hiring Toolkit aims to help care providers obtain information about a job candidate’s conduct and history before they start working with vulnerable people.
Sharing references and conduct information has always been important in social care recruitment, but many employers encounter challenges in obtaining and providing them, the DBS said. Previous employers sometimes do not provide evidence of conduct, as required by the Care Quality Commission.
The DBS said organisations will be failing in their duty of care by not providing a detailed reference to an organisation that requests information about a former employee’s performance and conduct.
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, care providers must ensure they employ ‘fit and proper’ staff who can provide appropriate care and treatment.
The toolkit says that an effective, safe and fair recruitment process will include robust vetting, including criminal record self-declaration, DBS checks, and detailed references from previous employers.
It should also involve “values-based” checks that ensure a candidate has the desired values, behaviours and attitudes that align with the organisation.
References should include ‘satisfactory’ reasons for why their previous employment ended, and candidates should provide a written explanation for any gaps in employment.
The guidance explains how organisations should gather, record and share conduct information and concerns at every stage of the employee journey, from recruitment to when they leave the organisation and their new employer requires a reference.
The toolkit has been developed by the DBS, Better Hiring Institute, Reed Screening, Skills for Care, Dominic Headley & Associates and VBA Consulting.
Jeanine Willoughby, project manager for capacity and transformation at Skills for Care, said: “This innovative partnership has produced a practical toolkit offering templates so employers can fulfil their duty of care, legal obligations and safeguarding responsibilities to make sure potential employees are suitable to work with people who draw on care and support.
“The toolkit offers a robust and safer approach offering guidance in how to share references and conduct information at the earliest opportunity to support a culture of safeguarding and vigilance.”