Organisations that provide services for children and/or vulnerable adults can set out in a safeguarding policy how they recruit staff to ensure these groups are protected. What should be included and how can you explain the checking process?
Employers can check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) whether or not applicants have criminal records, including details of spent convictions. Here are six key points to include in a safeguarding policy.
1. Reiterate your commitment to equal opportunities
Employers can use their safeguarding policy to underline their commitment to equality legislation when carrying out recruitment checks.
Wording should reiterate that the organisation is committed to equality of opportunity for all job applicants and aims to select people for employment on the basis of their skills, abilities, experience, knowledge and, where appropriate, qualifications and training.
2. State that you will apply for DBS check where post requires it
Safeguarding vulnerable groups
For certain posts, employers can, in conjunction with the job applicant, apply to the DBS for a criminal record check, including a check of spent convictions.
The DBS also holds a list of people barred from working with children or vulnerable adults, and it may be appropriate for some posts to check against this.
To help manage job applicants’ expectations, employers can make clear at the outset that they will be carrying out these checks, and for which roles.
3. Explain the different types of DBS check and how they work
It will help job applicants understand what a DBS check will involve if the employer sets this out and explains what will be disclosed with each type of check.
Likewise, the checking process may run more smoothly if the job applicant understands in advance his or her role in it. Employers can also use their safeguarding policy to set out who will foot the cost of the DBS application.
4. Make clear that offers of employment may be conditional
Where applicable, employers should make clear when making a job offer that it is conditional on the applicant meeting the requirement for a satisfactory DBS check.
An employer that fails to do this risks a breach of contract claim if it later withdraws the offer because the check has shown that the job applicant has a criminal record.
5. Set out that you will comply with your data protection obligations
It is a criminal offence to require job applicants to use their subject access rights under the Data Protection Act 1998 to provide details of their criminal convictions.
Employers can state in the safeguarding policy their commitment to going through the proper DBS procedure to obtain information about applicants’ criminal records, as well as their commitment to using, storing and handling personal data about job applicants in accordance with the Act.