Safer Recruitment Policy
Swift recognises that all forms of abuse are relevant and important to keep in mind when recruiting. We are also aware that people who are sexually interested in children are motivated to apply for roles working with children because of the access these roles provide and the opportunity to offend. As such, we have a duty to explore the risk we are trying to mitigate by implementing safer recruitment practice and having an open safeguarding culture.
Swift is committed to ensuring all Learners, Employees and Employers are safeguarded during their working or learning relationship with our organisation.
It is essential that everyone at Swift is recruited with safeguarding in mind, so that they share Swift’s safeguarding values and receive the right messages about our safeguarding approach and culture.
Swift understands the importance of operating a robust safer recruitment and selection process to deter and prevent people who might be unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults or are otherwise unsuited to work with them in line with the Disclosure and Barring Service requirements.
Swift is a responsible employer and ensures that it engages staff and associates in a way that is compliant with the Keeping Children Safe in Education legislation, and in particular that which exempts people with specific convictions from applying for or holding a particular job role where there is an acknowledged risk associated with access to young people or vulnerable adults.
All applicants and potential Swift employees go through the same recruitment process, which includes the completion of our robust application pack along with submitting their CV. Employees go through right to work eligibility and identity checks, along with enhanced DBS checks prior to joining the company, with any identified risks assessed and managed swiftly.
Should a prospective employee or candidate give false or untrue information, this would result in an immediate withdrawal of the offer of employment. Failure to disclose or the provision of a false statement of disclosure by a potential employee or an employee in post may result in disciplinary action, and possible dismissal of the employee, or termination of the associate’s agreement.
Swift has a robust recruitment process in place which maintains and protects our safeguarding duty, culture and beliefs, along with the reputation of the organisation.
The emphasis on safeguarding throughout the process is designed to deter any individual from applying who may have ulterior reasons for working within the education sector. To be confident in our selection of appropriate employees, we adhere to the 5 stages of safer recruitment, to ensure that all recruitment is consistent, fair and transparent.
The five stages are:
|1. Preparing to recruit
Job Description and Person Specification
|2. Selecting the right people
Clear Defined criteria
|3. Choosing wisely
Interview skills and training
|4. Checking thoroughly
Right to work
Criminal record checks
|5. Remaining vigilant
Once a need for recruitment has been identified, the recruiting manager must firstly define the role, and consider whether the role could be performed within existing resources in the Company.
Once approval has been gained from the Managing Director to begin recruitment the process can continue.
Dedicated time is set aside to plan and prepare each stage of the process.
To assess the most effective means of obtaining suitable candidates, the following options should be considered:
All roles should be advertised both internally and externally, to attract the most diverse group of applicants and ensure a fair, transparent and structured process.
Swift will word advertisements to emphasise our strong and positive safeguarding culture, demonstrating our commitment to protecting children and young people, with clear lines of accountability and supervisory arrangements, and our mandatory safeguarding training framework.
For an advertisement to be appropriate it must contain as much information as possible to ensure the correct audience is targeted and reduce unsuitable applications, while remaining as cost-effective as possible.
This includes the required:
Alongside these requirements, all adverts will contain to what extent the role will involve contact with children and young people and any regulated activity relevant to children.
All Swift adverts will contain:
Our safeguarding system is underpinned by a range of policies and procedures which encourage and promote safe working practice across the organisation. Our recruitment checks are robust and thorough in order to employ the most suitable people for the roles available. We make sure that all our staff are trained and supervised to a high standard so they can provide safe, effective practice.
Please note: It is an offence to apply for a role if you are barred from engaging in regulated activity.
External adverts to be submitted to a senior Director for approval before being placed. Use of external recruitment agencies is only permitted with Senior Director approval and authorisation of costings.
Applications received are subject to GDPR regulations and should be treated in strict confidence, e.g., secure filing and limited sharing with appropriate colleagues involved in the recruitment process. For this purpose, a GDPR consent and information form is part of the application pack sent out to all candidates.
To define the role, the job description and person specification will be reviewed and updated as required.
The job description should document:
The person specification should document:
Swift will always provide details of essential and desirable attributes/qualifications/experience in the person specification, such as safeguarding understanding, demonstrating the ability to raise concerns, evidence that the applicant will uphold Swift’s whole organisational approach to safeguarding, our culture and the Swift Way, and a knowledge and understanding of legislation, policy and guidance.
The Application Pack:
The Swift Application pack advises applicants that that it is an offence to apply for a role if the applicant is barred from engaging in regulated activity relevant to children.
The pack also contains links to our child protection policy and practices, along with our policy covering the employment of ex-offenders which are held on our website.
Within the application pack, applicants can find:
Alongside the application pack, an anonymous Equality and Diversity questionnaire is requested.
Swift requests the completion of a self-disclosure form as an additional means of obtaining relevant information to determine a person’s suitability for the role.
Swift will make the requirement clear at the beginning of the recruitment process and share the form with applicants during the initial application stage, however, the form will not be reviewed until an offer has been decided upon. Applicants will be advised to provide the form, in a sealed envelope marked confidential.
This form will be:
Under the Rehabilitation Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013 and 2020) (ROA), applicants will be requested to disclose details relating to their criminal history, the questions will be relevant to the role being advertised.
Swift understands that best practice is to request references prior to interview. Two references will be obtained, ensuring they cover an appropriate time period. If the applicant is not currently working or volunteering with children, but has done so in the past, Swift will also obtain an additional reference from the organisation the person was most recently engaged with in a role that had contact with children or young people.
Swift will not:
When scrutinising references Swift will consider:
When following up with Referees Swift will:
If a referee refuses to provide a reference Swift will explore the reasons for this. Swift also understands that sometimes it is not easy to obtain references, when this happens, we will keep evidence of all attempts made and alternative referees or a risk assessment will be carried out to explore any outstanding risk and possible mitigations.
Swift understands that there is no legal requirement for previous employers to provide a reference unless expressly stated in the contract of employment, however, within the children’s workforce there is a shared understanding of the need for detailed references to determine suitability and keep children safe, Swift will do everything possible to encourage referees to support the recruitment process and co-operate.
Swift will follow the self-disclosure process to ensure there is an additional means of obtaining relevant information to determine a person’s suitability for the role.
The form should be shared with applicants during the initial application stage, however, you are not entitled to review the information provided by the applicant in the self-disclosure form until the decision has been made to offer them the role.
As an employer, you are entitled to ask applicants to disclose details relating to their criminal history but the question you ask will depend on the role you are recruiting for.
The legislation that entitles you to ask for this information is under the terms set out in the Rehabilitation Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013 and 2020) (ROA).
The new rules mean more details will have to be filtered from DBS checks and individuals do not have to disclose all criminal history. It is very important that employers are clear from the outset of recruitment that self-disclosure will be used and why it is being used.
Make it clear in your supporting guidance from the outset:
In the handling of such information make clear that it will be:
Including this form at the application stage gives the candidate an opportunity to see what information you will be requesting further along in the recruitment process.
As part of Swift’s safer recruitment process, an online search will be also carried out for all candidates by our DDSL (unless it is the DDSL who is recruiting, then the task will move to the DSL), on social media sites, YouTube, Google. All shortlisted candidates will be informed of this search.
The search will go back 3 years from the date of application.
There are 2 main reasons for these online checks:
We will use the following criteria when carrying out searches for ALL candidates:
All findings are recorded and discussed with the individual.
The recruitment and selection decision is of prime importance as the vehicle for obtaining the best possible person-to-job fit that will, when aggregated, contribute significantly towards the Company's effectiveness.
The Recruitment & Selection procedure will:
When reviewing applications, at least 2 people will be involved in the decision making, but in particular, both the safer recruitment trained member of staff, and the recruiting manager.
It is important to be objective in recording evidence regarding how each candidate meets the criteria of the person specification.
Those involved in shortlisting will check that:
The shortlisting staff will look for inconsistencies and gaps in employment, and the reasons for these, along with any significant changes or risks, making sure further questioning is carried out, and explanations are satisfactory, for example:
The shortlisting panel will record all shortlisted candidates, scoring individually and record decisions on a scoring sheet.
Swift will not be discriminatory or prejudice in its recruitment of new employees. All decisions will be based on evidence and constructive discussion to ensure our process is inclusive and unbiased at all times.
Swift will ensure it provides equal opportunities and will always consider relevant legislation (Equality Act 2010) when carrying out recruitment. All interviewers will ensure the focus remains on the criteria and the candidate’s behaviour in the situation being explored, rather than exploring any personal information that they may have revealed that has no bearing on the role or questioning.
Equality of Opportunity: Swift understand the importance to apply equal opportunities to protect applicants from discrimination throughout our recruitment drives.
To maintain equality in Interviews Swift will ensure that:
Swift is aware that all applicants have the right to equal access to employment, equal pay and access to training and development.
Swift agrees with the below definition of equality and diversity in the recruitment context:
‘Equality ensures that every single individual has equal opportunities, regardless of their background, identity or experience. Diversity recognises that, though people have things in common with each other, they are also different in many ways. Inclusion is where those differences are seen as a benefit and where perspectives and differences are shared, leading to better decisions. Everyone should have equal access to employment.’
(Chartered Institute of Personnel Development 2023)
Swift will use a range of selection methods, to represent the role being recruited, to provide a consistent approach to recruitment, and to ensure the most suitable applicant is employed.
Depending on the role, Swift will use the below selection methods:
Preparing to interview: Interviews will always be face-to-face, however, due to our national geographical coverage, we may sometimes carry out remote discussions first in order to shortlist for face-to-face interviews.
All candidates will have their identity checked during their interview, by being asked to bring documentary proof of their identity to the interview. They will also have their right to work in the UK checked at this point. This process applies to ALL candidates, whether external and internal applicants.
Swift will ensure that all candidates are aware of our commitment to safeguarding, through our safeguarding culture. with the invite for interview, the safeguarding culture will be shared, along with our safeguarding policy. Following the Warner Report, it is vital that we explore a candidates attitude towards safeguarding children and young people, and their motivation for working with children and young people.
As part of this area of the recruitment process, Swift will be vigilant in monitoring cause for concern, and will be exploring a candidates:
Recording Evidence and Storing Information
Swift will ensure that any decisions made are justifiable and defensible, and will record all information to support this. Swift is confident in its approach and open to challenge should this arise.
Interview notes will made by all interviewers, using pen to ensure notes cannot be changed at a later date.
Making a Decision
Once all interviews have been completed, each panel member will review their own notes and cross reference with the set indicators to ensure clarity, consistency and fairness.
Once individual assessment is complete, the full panel will meet to compare outcomes and discuss findings and scores. This is the opportunity for further discussion, constructive challenge and debate.
The top candidates will be identified, and a decision agreed upon.
Any offer of appointment made to a successful candidate must be conditional on satisfactory completion of vetting checks. This is the process of obtaining personal details of successful applicants to help assess their suitability for the role.
It is the minimum safeguard that must be used to prevent unsuitable people from obtaining a role that provides them with access to vulnerable groups.
Swift complete the following checks:
Any gaps in information, or information found to pose a risk to the organisation will be subjected to a risk assessment.
Swift has robust policies and procedures in place to support our commitment to safer recruitment. All staff are aware of, and have had CPD, and all those involved in recruiting receive regular updates, CPD sessions and information.
The HR Manager is safer recruitment trained and is present at all interviews.
The following documents support our safeguarding culture and ensure our Learners are protected from risk as far as possible.
Swift has a clear induction policy in which safeguarding features prominently.
The Induction programme will:
To ensure Swift has recruited the right person for the right role, all new employees have a 6-month probationary period. This helps us to assess their ability and suitability for the role. Throughout the probationary period, there are monthly reviews, KPIs set, and ongoing perform discussion.
Dealing with low level concerns:
Swift has a robust process in place for raising and dealing with concerns and allegations consistent with local safeguarding procedures.
Swift adheres to local safeguarding board processes for managing allegations to ensure that:
If staff have concerns regarding another staff member who may pose a risk of harm to children, they can speak to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
In the event of the concerns/allegations being about a senior leader, or where they are also the sole proprietor, allegations will be reported directly to the LADO.
Swift also understands that abuse can be reported no matter how long ago it happened, as documented in KCSIE, paragraph 422.
All non-recent allegations will be dealt with as soon as they are reported, by the DSL, in conjunction with the local safeguarding partnership, following their processes and guidance.
Low Level Concerns:
Concerns that do not meet the thresholds for a safeguarding allegation but still require investigation and action will be recorded as Low level Concerns.
Swift promotes a culture of vigilance and openness, encouraging people to share any concerns, no matter how big or small they may seem.
Low level concerns include instances where an adult may have acted in a way that is inconsistent with the Swift Way, ethos or code of conduct, including appropriate conduct outside of work, and does not meet the allegations threshold or is otherwise not considered serious enough to consider a referral to the LADO.
These cases are recorded and managed in line with our safeguarding and HR policies and procedures.
If appropriate, performance management and capability, and disciplinary procedures may be instigated.
Swift has an open, reflection-based culture, where we learn from past mistakes, and use them as future learning.
All Swift staff have the same ethos, commitment and understanding of their safeguarding responsibility.
Managing Director Name: Gregory Morrall
Reviewed on: 05/12/2023
Review Due: 04/12/2024
Reviewed by: Jayne Hipkiss