Updated: Mar 26
It's no secret that it is often a minefield keeping up with legislation and governance requirements set out by the Department of education and Ofsted. Safer recruitment plays in integral part of running a business in the education and childcare industry and often it seems quite daunting to make sure you have done everything right. Safer recruitment is not just a process for onboarding someone into your business. The long-term management of your staff records can very often, be impacted by poorly managed safer recruitment. If you are a small organisation then requirements such as safer recruitment policies, interviews, referencing and screening checks all eat away hours and hours of admin. So how can you set yourself and your business up for success?
What is important to organisations when hiring?
From our experience of speaking with 100’s of different types of organisations, from schools to nurseries, the most important part of a successful safer recruitment process is the value of your time.
Making sure you have a pre-planned process for how you complete checks will ensure that when the time comes to safer recruitment, you can spend more time worrying about the most significant part of hiring; the interview. Who is this person? What motivates them to work with children? Will the children enjoy being around this person? Will they inspire and support our children, their parents and our organisation?
In our research of over 200 organisations, 85% said the most important part of safer recruitment was the interview, as it was a chance to question the character of an individual. Moreover, 80% said they were often worried that they had missed some part of the safer recruitment process or were concerned about the long-term management of their staff record after hiring.
Safer recruitment practices are quite standardised, but there is no magic formula to make sure everything works for each organisations. There are however some points that we can share from our experience that might help with some of the workload involved.
How to reduce the pressures of safer recruitment?
Be open and honest in your advertising
It is vitally important to be open and honest about the mix of qualities, qualifications and experience a successful candidate will need to have and whether there are any particularly specific matters that need to be addressed in the advertisement for the post, in order to prevent unwanted applications; or frustrated applicants.
Digitalise as much as possible
When completing DBS checks, right to work checks and other required checks try to use digital services as much as possible. Did you know, you can now also digitalise more checks such as ID, right to work and other statutory safer recruitment checks. This will streamline your processes, remove the stress of handling documents and reduce the risk of any data privacy issues. If there are issues with manual checking processes, most of the time you must start again. By using digital services, it allows you to monitor and update changes in flight which will save hours of admin.
Set out a standardised checklist for the process
Your safer recruitment policy is great for documenting how you comply with safer recruitment and what the process will look like, but this does not really help you or the individual, in a busy situation. Create a simplified checklist that you can follow and a checklist that you can provide the applicant so they know the steps that are going to be followed. This provides clarity to both parties and you can tick off what has been completed as you go along. It is important to also document dates of when events happened as this is a key part to managing your staff records and these dates could be scrutinised if not accurate.
Safer recruitment training really does help reduce risks and workload
When we spoke to over 200 organisations, 78% said that not all their staff were trained in safer recruitment. When running a small organization, its already hard to find people to help you with safer recruitment and decision making. As part of the interview panel, there should be at least two people there, and schools are required to at least have one person trained in safer recruitment. The benefits of training all your staff with safer recruitment include providing you with flexibility when it comes to interviewing and further support to help with decisions and spotting any gaps or issues.
There are some great safer recruitment courses out there and the best one we found was by the NPSCC for around £30 each. You should also be able to write these costs off as business expenses.
Take time to review how it went?
I often speak to organisations that have never taken time to address how successful their safer recruitment processes are. Immediately after hiring staff, it is a very valuable time to review what happened and if you could have improved anything. Its also a great opportunity to allow your new member of staff to evaluate how they thought the process went and if they have any suggestions to make the next hire more transparent and less stressful. Self-reflection is highly powerful and it is a proven tool for learning and bettering yourself next time.
Whether you are worried about hiring someone new or worried about the management of existing staff data, there is always support available. Following some of the steps above have been proven to help with safer recruitment, but if you are still stuck, then you are not alone. Thousands of organisations will probably be experiencing the same issues you are and from what I have learnt over the past year, this industry is closer and stronger than ever. If you need to reach out for help, you can guarantee that there is always another business owner or professional willing to point you in the right direction.
Alex - www.Llama.id