2.8 Recruitment, Selection, Supervision & Training


Safer Recruitment Guidance


This chapter was updated in March 2014. References to CRB checks and the Independent safeguarding authority were removed and replace with information on the Disclosure and Barring Service.


1. General Recruitment Processes


So as to minimise the risk of employing or engaging an individual who poses a predictable risk to them, all agencies should consider, with respect to candidates who will be working with children:

  • Methodically applying techniques e.g. psychometric testing which are accepted as helpful in identifying unsuitable individuals;
  • Analysing rigorously all the information which is available about the candidate.

To ensure that selectors of staff are able to successfully test candidates' ability and experience against a clearly defined person specification each agency must offer them:

  • Specific training;
  • Supervised / supported experience of recruitment;
  • Periodic evaluation of performance.

2. Choice of Candidate

Quality of Job Description & Person Specification

2.1 Agencies should develop detailed internal procedures which clarify allocation of 'human resource' tasks outlined below.
2.2 Job descriptions (J.D.s) and person specifications should reflect professional practice requirements.
2.3 All stated requirements must be expressed in terms sufficiently explicit to allow a candidate's experience, achievements or capabilities to be evidenced.

References from Previous Substantive Employers


A previous employer who is asked for a reference should be advised in the request to take reasonable care to ensure her/his statement:

  • Is reliable and comprehensive - e.g. accurate dates of employment, Disclosure and Barring Service Checks any periods of sick leave;
  • Is based upon an accurate assessment of an individual's qualities e.g. any disciplinary action, known convictions or other grounds for concern;
  • Focuses on the key criteria for effective performance in the specified post; and
  • Offers a full and frank disclosure of all matters considered relevant by the author - e.g. candidate's reason for planning to or actually leaving her/his post.
2.5 An employer reference should also be obtained in respect of internal candidates for posts involving direct contact with children.
2.6 So that information of comparable weight is obtained for all candidates, references on all short-listed candidates should wherever possible be obtained prior to final selection.
2.7 All agencies committed to these procedures should have explicit arrangements for provision within reasonable time-scales, of properly structured references which should ordinarily be issued in the name of the head of service (though they may be drafted by a more junior member of staff who has the necessary knowledge and experience).

References with Respect to Agency Staff

2.8 Given the proportion of staff currently engaged via specialist employment agencies, it is important that there are systems in place to ensure that only those which can offer safe selection processes are used by those organisations committed to these procedures.

References from any previous substantive employers should be sought as described above and requests to agencies should seek confirmation of:

  • The individual's registration with the agency in period/s claimed;
  • All assignments including dates, roles and name and address of all work places;
  • The quantity and pattern of any absences from their assignments;
  • Any cause for concern within the agency including any request by a client for the person to be withdrawn from an assignment which upon investigation was found to be justified.

The agency should also be asked to confirm:

  • That it carries out appraisals of its workers and be invited to describe the most recent relevant to the role which is to be filled;
  • The date of the last criminal records check it sought on the individual in question, its result, and to forward a copy of it;
  • From which previous employers references were obtained and whether or not these expressed any reservations about the individual in question;
  • If its overall selection procedures comply with the recommendations in the Warner report 'Choosing with Care'.

Selection Methods

2.11 Interviews may usefully be underpinned by practical exercises to simulate the working environment e.g. anonymised situations (with precautions taken to ensure no unfair advantage to internal candidates).

Such practical exercises may include:

  • 'A situation exercise' which tests declared responses to events relevant to the post in question;
  • 'Submission of a prepared written exercise' to allow a panel to prepare and deliver questions at an interview;
  • A 'presentation exercise' to test an individual's ability to research, prepare and present a topic relevant to the post in question;
  • 'Psychometric tests' - e.g. personality and/or skills based;
  • A group exercise which simulates a relevant forum and allows observation of interaction.
2.13 Final interview panels should be balanced wherever possible by gender and race and may benefit from the inclusion of independent person/s as well as immediate line managers and more senior staff.

3. Disclosure and Barring Service Checks

3.1 The checks and referrals, which are handled by the Disclosure and Barring Service check, include checks of the Barred Lists. The DBS Check provides 2 sorts of certificates of relevance to employers (standard and enhanced disclosures). One or other must be sought with respect to all candidates who seek to work with children.

Standard Disclosure

3.2 A standard disclosure is available for posts involving regular contact with children (and vulnerable adults), certain professions in health, pharmacy and the law.

Standard disclosures indicate if there is nothing on record or show details drawn from the police national computer of:

  • Spent and unspent convictions;
  • Cautions;
  • Formal reprimands; and
  • Final warnings.
3.4 Standard disclosures are issued to the individual and copied to the body registered to seek them.

Enhanced Disclosures

3.5 Enhanced disclosures in addition to information provided by a standard disclosure may contain non-conviction information from local police records, which a chief police officer thinks, may be relevant to the position sought.
3.6 Enhanced disclosures are available for positions involving regular caring for, training, supervision or being in sole charge of children (or vulnerable adults).

Persons Prohibited from Working or Seeking work with Under 18s

3.7 Both standard and enhanced disclosures will show whether the person is prohibited from working or seeking work with individuals under the age of 18 as a result of his or her inclusion on the Disclosure and Barring Service Barred Lists.

Seeking Disclosures from the Disclosure and Barring Service

3.8 Employers can request DBS Checks. Requests must include name, address and date of birth of the applicant.
3.9 If a disclosure reveals that an applicant is prohibited from seeking or working with under 18s, it is an offence to employ her/him and Disclosure and Barring Service must be informed without delay of the individual's attempt to seek employment.
3.10 Further information on how to apply for disclosures is available at the Disclosure and Barring Service Website.

Limitations of Disclosures

3.11 Disclosures may not provide information on people convicted abroad and with respect to individuals who have little residence in the UK, caution must be exercised.
3.12 The DBS may be able to advise about criminal record checking overseas.
3.13 Occasionally, an enhanced disclosure check may result in the local police disclosing non-conviction information to the registered body only and not to the applicant e.g. a current investigation about the individual. Such information must not be passed on to her/him.

4. Induction & Review

4.1 For 1st time appointees to local authority service and those who have completed a probationary period in another authority or gained internal promotion, there should be a minimum of 6 months supplementary induction, supervision, training and appraisal with respect to their new role and information gleaned from the selection process can be used to inform induction and support.
4.2 Regular review meetings between the appointee and responsible manager should be convened by the manager throughout the induction period to address areas where further support, guidance and training may be required.
4.3 Induction for all new staff should include LSCB training requirements appropriate to their position.

5. Supervision & Support


Senior managers in all agencies for which these procedures are relevant have a duty to ensure the provision of:

  • Adequate training;
  • Clear and up to date procedures to follow;
  • Ready access to advice, expertise and management support (including recognition of need for additional support in particular cases or circumstances);
  • Systems to protect staff from violence, Bullying and harassment including racial harassment;
  • Systems to recognise and respond to poor practice e.g. regular audits of cases which involve children, including those in adult and mental health teams;
  • Complaints and whistle-blowing procedures to allow service users and staff to highlight issues for consideration and resolution;
  • Effective staff appraisal and personal development planning;
  • Collated information for the local LSCB about issues arising from local operational experience of child protection.
5.2 Within all agencies which have operational responsibility for child protection services, there should be an agency policy, which defines minimum levels of formal supervision of those staff who are accountable for child protection cases and reflecting the need to offer a higher level of supervision for the least experienced.
5.3 Such supervision must ensure that all child protection cases are regularly discussed in supervision. On some occasions - e.g. enquiries about complex abuse or allegations against colleagues, agencies should consider the provision of additional individual or group staff support.
5.4 Managers should develop local policies and systems to maximise staff safety and remain alert to the possibility some staff may be anxious about personal safety yet reluctant to acknowledge their concern.

6. Child Protection Training

6.1 All professionals including staff in the private and voluntary sectors, require a general awareness of known indicators and pre-disposing factors of abuse as well as (role specific) detailed knowledge of agreed policies and procedures.
6.2 All front line staff must be trained to pass calls about the safety of children to the appropriate professional staff. This includes reception and switchboard operators and administrative staff.

LSCB training for staff engaged in child protection work must include:

  • The Assessment Framework;
  • Basic and advanced inputs on all forms of abuse and neglect;
  • Targeted joint training - e.g. Achieving Best Evidence.
6.4 For staff working with adults, sufficient training to inform and enable recognition of concerns about any dependent children which require referral to Children's Social Care (Social Care) or police.

The LSCB is accountable for:

  • Ensuring provision of sufficient general and specialised training;
  • Clarifying the specialist training required for different staff e.g. those undertaking a Section 47 Enquiry, GPs etc;
  • Monitoring take-up amongst those offered training;
  • Routine evaluation of perceived effectiveness of training.
6.6 GPs are expected to participate in child protection training and are also responsible, as employers, for ensuring their staff members are provided with opportunities to attend relevant training.
6.7 All staff who have any contact with children must be included in their agency's training programme on child protection at basic or more advanced level according to their role.

7. Equality & Diversity Training

7.1 All operational staff must routinely be provided with opportunities for basic and comprehensive anti-discriminatory training.
7.2 Such training must be rooted in recognition of the diversity of families and communities and respect for the differing approaches to child rearing this diversity represents.
7.3 Such training must also ensure that respect for difference is not confused with acceptance of any form of abuse or neglect.
7.4 Equality and diversity issues must be integrated within all child protection training provided to staff. 

8. Reporting Systems for Unsuitable Staff

8.1 Each agency must have a nominated 'human resource' or service manager whose responsibilities include reporting, to Disclosure and Barring Service and  relevant professional body, any member of staff who (following an enquiry) it concludes to be unsuitable to work with children. For more information on referring and individual to the DBS please see Disclosure and Barring Service Website.
This page is correct as printed on Friday 22nd of November 2019 01:48:44 PM please refer back to this website ( for updates.