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Recruiting Safely Safer Recruitment Workshop. June Williams Sherran Finney. Aims of the training. To identify the key features of staff recruitment that help deter or prevent the appointment of unsuitable people.
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Recruiting SafelySafer Recruitment Workshop June Williams Sherran Finney
Aims of the training • To identify the key features of staff recruitment that help deter or prevent the appointment of unsuitable people. • To consider policies and practices that minimise opportunities for abuse or ensure its prompt reporting. • To help participants begin to review their own and their organisation’s policies and practices in recruitment with a view to making them safer.
The wider context • What is the context of safer recruitment? • What is abuse? • What is the scale of abuse? • Who are the abusers?
The Bichard Inquiry • Recommendations for Schools Recommendation 16: • Head Teachers and school governors should receive training on how to ensure that interviews to appoint staff reflect the importance of safeguarding children. Recommendation 17: • From 1st January 2010, no interview panel to appoint staff working in schools should be convened without at least one member being properly trained.
Research Statistics • ‘Child Abuse and Neglect in the UK today’ (Radford et al, 2011) is a major piece of NSPCC research which interviewed 1,761 young adults aged 18-24 years; 2,275 children aged 11-17 years and 2,160 parents of children aged under 11 years. • To give the best picture of what today’s children have experienced, the statistics on the following slide were taken from the findings of the 11-17 year old group. • See www.nspcc.org.uk for further information
Research Statistics – 11 to 17 year olds • Around 1 in 7 children have been neglected with almost 1 in 10 experiencing severe neglect • 1 in 20 have experienced contact sexual abuse (where physical contact took place) • Over 90% of children who experienced sexual abuse were abused by someone they knew • 1 in 14 have experienced severe physical violence at the hands of an adult • 1 in 14 have experienced emotional abuse • Just under 1 in 5 children have experienced domestic violence between adults in their homes
Crime statistics on sex offences in England and Wales in 2012-2013 • 18,915 sexual crimes recorded against children under 16 • 5,546 sex offences were against children under the age of 11 years • Sexual crimes against children (both male and female) include offences such as rape, sexual assault, sexual activity with a child, abuse through prostitution and pornography and sexual grooming. • 39% of all rapes recorded by police during this time were committed against children under 16 years • NSPCC Research and British Crime Survey 2013
Offender Statistics • 40,345 individuals were registered as sexual offenders in England and Wales on 31 March 2012. • 29,837 on the Sex Offenders Register have offended against children (941 of those have re-offended) • In 2012/13 the police in England and Wales also recorded 192 offences of abuse of a position of trust involving a child under 18 years. • NSPCC and Freedom of Information Act
Professional Perpetrators • There are no available figures on the number of people working with children who have abused children in their care. • What is available is the number of people who have been placed on the DBS Barred List – the list of people who are barred from working with children or who have been found to be unsuitable for the post they applied for. • From 2004 to 2011, around 150,000 unsuitable people have been prevented from gaining access to children (or vulnerable adults) as a direct result of criminal records checks. • 46,557 people have been placed on the barred list since Oct 2009 • NSPCC Inform – Safer Recruitment Statistics May 2013
Finkelhor - ‘Four Preconditions’ • Sex with a child Thoughts Motivation ‘Wanting To’ Internal Inhibitors ‘Conscience’ External Inhibitors ‘Creating Opportunity’ Overcome Victim Resistance ‘Doing It And Getting Away With It’
Strategies to gain a victim’s trust Spending lots of time with them 95% Touching non-sexually 91% Share personal information 78% Tell them they’re special 70% Treat them like adults 70% Play with them 70% Saying loving/caring things 65% Give special rewards/privileges 43% Talking like you were their age 35% Source: Benoit Leclerc, Jean Proulxt, André McKibben, May 2005
Strategies to desensitise a victim to sexual contact • Touching non-sexually 95% • Saying loving/caring things 70% • Getting victims sexually excited or curious 65% • Talking more and more about sex 60% Source: Benoit Leclerc, Jean Proulxt, André McKibben, May 2005
Strategies to maintain a victim’s silence • Saying you will go to jail/get into trouble 35% • Giving rewards for secrecy 21% • Saying they will go to jail 17% • Saying others would think they’re gay 13% • Threats to harm/injure 14% Source: Benoit Leclerc, Jean Proulxt, André McKibben, May 2005
What can we do? Applying the model to the stages of recruitment • Deter Invite applications • Reject Interview applicants • Prevent Appoint and induct staff • Prevent & Detect Develop and maintain safe culture
Planning the recruitment process Features of a safer recruitment process Sending the right message to potential applicants The application form References and referees Selection criteria and shortlisting
Key features of a safer recruitment process • Time set aside for planning the process • Clear job description and person specifications to include safeguarding references • Clear message about safeguarding in job advert • Use of application forms, not CVs • Obtaining references • A selection process involving an interview • Using probing interview questions to explore motives, attitudes and behaviours • Appropriate use of information about criminal history • No over reliance on vetting checks • Ongoing culture of vigilance within the organisation
Defining the role • Produce a job description and a Person Specification/Volunteer Role Profile • Ensure that the job description includes reference to the post holder’s responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and opportunity for contact with them. • Clarify the boundaries of the role and the organisation’s expectations of the post holder • Ensure that the person specification/volunteer role profile sets out the necessary skills, abilities, experience, behaviours and attitude/motivation for working with children and young people in that setting.
Advertising: sending the right message • Three deterrents: • State the organisation’s commitment to safeguarding and/or the need for DBS disclosures in advertisements. • Include statements about the safeguarding responsibilities of the post in the Job Description and Person Specification. • Send information about the organisation’s safeguarding policy and practice to candidates.
Key information on the application form • Personal details including date of birth • Present and past employment and reason for leaving • Full history since leaving school (education, employment or voluntary work) • Qualifications • Referees • Personal statement to meet person specification • Signed declaration about any criminal record • Signed declaration that all information is true and that the applicant is not barred from working with children
Criminal background:Self-disclosure • The purpose of self disclosure gives candidates the opportunity to share relevant information at an early stage • To allow information to be discussed and considered before the DBS check comes back • To deter unsuitable applicants
Criminal background:Self Disclosure • It is discriminatory to use disclosure information for shortlisting. • The information of shortlisted candidates only should be considered • It should not be used to rule someone out – use fair assessment criteria • DBS check should be continued and compared to information with that on self-disclosure
Selection criteria and shortlisting • Same criteria used for shortlisting and assessment based on person specification and job description • Must be consistent for all candidates • Include at least one criterion specific to suitability to work with children • Review criteria regularly
Scrutinising applications and shortlisting • Take time to properly scrutinise • Shortlisting panel: a minimum of two people • Identify any inconsistencies • Make sure application forms are fully completed • Check that evidence provided relates to person specification and job description • Highlight gaps to be explored • Apply shortlisting criteria equally
Employment History and References • Employers should always ask for written information about previous employment history (including any disciplinary action taken) and check that information is not contradictory or incomplete. • The purpose of seeking references is to obtain objective and factual information to support appointment decisions. • References should always be obtained, scrutinised and any concerns resolved satisfactorily before the appointment is confirmed. • Referee should be contacted to provide further clarification as appropriate eg, if the answers are vague.
References - 2 • Cases in which an allegation was proven to be false, unsubstantiated, unfounded or malicious should not be included in employer references. A history of repeated concerns or allegations which have all been found to be unsubstantiated, malicious etc. should also not be included in any reference. • Consideration of any request by an applicant to delay seeking reference • They should always be requested directly from the referee and employers should not rely on ‘open references’ • A person’s past behaviour is often a reliable way of predicting future behaviour.
Open References and Compromise Agreements • ‘Open references’ could be written by the applicant or they could be the outcome of a ‘compromise agreement’ from a previous employer • A ‘compromise agreement’ is where a person agrees to resign if the employer agrees not to pursue disciplinary action and both parties agree a form of words to be used in any future reference. • Caution should be exercised when receiving either of these from a candidate as a reference. It is still advisable to seek two further references.
Legal responsibilities of referees • There is no detailed legislation specifically to deal with the provision of references to employers. • There is, however, a legal obligation to use due care when compiling references to ensure they are based on accurate, factual information. • If the worker thinks they’ve been given an unfair or misleading reference, they may be able to claim damages in a court. The previous employer must be able to back up the reference, eg by supplying examples of warning letters. • Workers must be able to show that the reference is misleading or inaccurate or they ‘suffered a loss’, eg a job offer was withdrawn
Making the Right Decision Selection methods Structured interviews and interview questions Using criminal background information Pre-employment checks
Safer Selection • Good practice: • Where feasible, use other selection tools as well as an interview • Explore motives/attitudes as well as skills and experience • Make sure assessors are well briefed or trained • Assess interaction with others ie, role play, group exercises etc.
Selecting the right person • Interviews: • Involve at least two people • Use structured questions around criteria previously agreed • Probe gaps, frequent changes in employment, vagueness or areas of concern • Ask about attitudes towards children and child protection and, where appropriate, motives for working with children • Avoid hypothetical questions and seek positive examples or evidence • Give and receive information • Document decisions clearly • Beware of prejudices and discrimination
Some tips for interviewing - 1 • Focus on what people have actually done not what they say they will do • Ask open questions which invite longer responses and then ask follow up questions to check understanding. • Open questions could be: • Tell me about ……………… • Give an example of ………. • How do you go about …….
Some tips for interviewing - 2 • With behavioural questions, ask about what people have actually done • What was the situation? • What was the action they took? • What was the result? Was it an effective or ineffective outcome? • Avoid hypothetical questions – consider using a case study if you feel it is appropriate (ie, for someone who has had little experience, college leavers etc.)
Interview question template Positive indicators Consistent under pressure Has control over emotions Knows when to seek help Negative indicators • Inappropriate responses under pressure or when in charge of others • Handles conflict badly • Doesn’t seek help when needed Emotional resilience and maturity • Tell me about a time when your authority was challenged by a young person • What happened? • How did you react? • What did you do to bring things back on course?
Areas of potential concern • No understanding or appreciation of children’s needs or expectations • Desire to meet own needs at the expense of children’s • Use of inappropriate language when talking about children or being unclear about boundaries when working with children • Vagueness about experiences and gaps in employment or the person is unable (or unwilling) to provide any examples to support what is said • Showing that they could be a ‘maverick’ ie, non-rule following, unwilling to work with others etc.
Relevance of criminal background information • When assessing information about an applicant’s criminal background, consider the information in terms of: • Nature, seriousness and relevance of the offence • How long ago it occurred • If it was a one-off or part of a history • Circumstances of it being committed • Changes in applicant’s personal circumstances • Country of conviction • Decriminalisation • Remorse
Criminal Record Disclosures • Only the candidate selected for appointment can be checked • You must get the candidate’s consent to carry out the check • The minimum age at which someone can apply for a DBS check is 16 years • DBS Barred list check and Prohibition Order check where appropriate to post • Individuals who have lived or worked outside the UK must undergo the same checks. Advice on criminal record information which may be obtained from overseas police forces is on www.gov.uk
Types of Checks • The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is responsible for administering three types of checks: • Standard – a check of the Police National Computer (PNC) records of convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings • Enhanced – a check of the PNC records as above, plus information held by the police that is considered relevant by the police • Enhanced with barred list information – for people working in regulated activity with children. This adds checks of the DBS Children’s Barred List to the enhanced check.
What is Regulated Activity? • Teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children if the person is unsupervised, or providing advice or guidance on well-being, or driving a vehicle only for children. • Work for a limited range of establishments (known as ‘specified places’ which include schools and colleges) with the opportunity for contact with children, but not including work done by supervised volunteers.
Regulated Activity • Work under (a) or (b) is regulated activity only if done regularly. Some activities are always regulated activities, regardless of their frequency or whether they are supervised or not. This includes: • Relevant personal care, or health care, provided by or provided under supervision of a health care professional. • Personal care includes helping a child, for reasons of age, illness or disability, with eating or drinking, or in connection with toileting, washing, bathing and dressing. • Health care means care for children provided by, or under the direction or supervision of, a regulated health care professional.
DBS Barring Scheme • The DBS maintains ‘barred lists’ of individuals who are unsuitable for working with children and/or adults. • Employers are breaking the law to employ in paid or unpaid work someone who is barred from working with children. • A barred person is breaking the law in applying for such work. • There are penalties of up to five years in prison if a barred individual is convicted of attempting to engage or engaging in such work (s7, Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006) • More information is available on the DBS website or on www.gov.uk
Secretary of StateProhibition Orders – Teaching Posts • Prohibition Orders prevent a person from carrying out teaching work in schools, sixth form colleges, 16 to 19 academies, relevant youth accommodation and children’s homes in England. • A person who is prohibited from teaching must not be appointed to work as a teacher in such a setting. • Prohibition orders are made by the Secretary of State following consideration by a professional conduct panel convened by the National College for Teaching and Leadership. • Further information on these Orders is available in the NCTL publication ‘Teacher misconduct: the prohibition of teachers’
When is a DBS check not required? • Under the new DBS guidance, there is no requirement to obtain an enhanced DBS check for school and college staff if, in the three months prior to beginning work in their new appointment, the applicant has worked: • In a school in England in a post which brought them into regular contact with children or in any post in a school since 12 May 2006 • In a college in England in a position which involved the provision of education and regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or young people under 18 years. *Some volunteer roles may also not be eligible for DBS checks – see DBS website for further information
Possible pre-employment checks • Identity (from current photographic ID) • DBS Checks including Barred List check where appropriate (and Prohibition Order check for teaching posts) • Qualifications* • Status: Qualified Teacher Status etc.* • Eligibility to work in the UK* • Health and Sickness record - a job applicant can be asked relevant questions about disability and health in order to establish whether they have the physical and mental capacity for the specific role (s60 Equality Act 2010) A conditional offer of employment can be made pending any of the above. Checks marked * may not be required for all volunteers
How to get a DBS Check • The employer gets an application form from DBS or an umbrella body (a registered body that gives access to DBS checks). • The employer gives the applicant the form to fill in and return to them along with documents proving their identity. • The employer sends the completed application form to DBS or their umbrella body. • DBS sends a certificate to the applicant. The employer will have to ask the applicant to see the certificate. • If the applicant has subscribed to the DBS update service, the employer can check their certificate online. • See www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service for further information on this new service.
Summary • Not all criminal offences will lead to inclusion on the DBS Barred List • Some organisations, such as schools and colleges, are bound by guidance and/or legislation to obtain DBS Disclosures in certain circumstances • Other bodies will need to decide whether a check of the Barred list is a sufficient safeguard or whether to also obtain a DBS disclosure to check an applicant’s possible criminal record • Some volunteer roles will not require a DBS check but under no circumstances should a volunteer in whom no checks have been obtained be left unsupervised or allowed to work in regulated activity.
Developing a Safer Culture Safer workforce cycle Features of a safer culture Single Central Record Managing allegations Systems for managing allegations
Features of a safe culture • Open, no secrets • Belief that ‘it could happen here’ • Clear procedures for reporting concerns • Support in raising concerns and commitment to take action • Setting acceptable standards of behaviour • Policies and procedures put into practice • Induction and probationary periods • Commitment to safeguarding and an ongoing culture of vigilance
Single Central Record • Schools and colleges must keep a single central record which must cover the following people: • All staff (including supply staff) who work at the school: in colleges, this means those providing education to children; • All others who work in regular contact with children in the school or college, including volunteers; and • For independent schools, including academies and free schools, all members of the proprietor body.
Single Central Record What must be recorded? • Generally, the information to be recorded is whether or not the following checks have been carried out or certificates obtained and the date on which the checks were completed: • An identity check • A barred list check • An enhanced DBS check • A prohibition from teaching check • Further checks on people living or working outside the UK • A check of professional qualifications • A check to establish the person’s right to work in the UK