Safer recruitment – isn’t it just common sense?

Safer recruitment – isn’t it just common sense?

Posted on Jun 05, 2017

Safer recruitment – isn’t it just common sense?


You might think so.

However, safer recruitment isn’t just running a criminal record check on potential employees. It’s a much wider-ranging culture that needs to be implemented in any organisation working with people who are vulnerable in any way.

This includes children, young people, and adults at risk.

Safer recruitment is about making sure that the people you employ (whether paid or voluntary) – and entrust – to work with children, young people, or adults at risk will keep them safe from harm.


What could actually go wrong?

Unfortunately, there are people out there who are capable of causing harm to children, young people and adults, and they will often look for organisations with vulnerabilities to exploit.

Most people will be able to recall the name of Ian Huntley. He was a college caretaker who, in 2003, murdered two schoolgirls – Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells.

It was later found that there were previous links to sexual crimes that hadn’t come to light when he was employed, as well as incorrect references and work history being provided.


But that was 14 years ago. Surely things like that don’t happen any longer, right?

As recently as February 2017 a Serious Case Review was published looking into a number of missed opportunities to prevent the abuse of children by two individuals in West Berkshire.

PE teacher Robert Neill was convicted of charges of indecent assault and rape after allegations were made by ex-pupils at a school, and Rev Peter Jarvis – working as a school counsellor – was sent to prison after admitting indecent sexual activity and possession of indecent images.

The Serious Case Review advice to the local council’s safeguarding board included a recommendation to implement better safer recruitment policies. Its author, Alex Walters, said:

“The purpose of a Serious Case Review is to help keep children safe from harm by strengthening what is already done well and identifying areas of weakness which need to be improved in the future.

“My recommendations are focused around some key themes. Raising awareness amongst staff of safe recruitment policies, making sure whistle-blowing procedures are in place and their use is reviewed to ensure they are effective, making sure that staff are vigilant in spotting potential signs of harm and feel empowered to report it.”

Right. So it’s pretty important then.

Yes – very important.

As you can see, ensuring that your recruitment is robust and that you have a safe culture within your organisation is absolutely vital, and it could help to identify those who may not be suitable to work with children, young people or adults at risk.

Schools in particular have a specific legal duty to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.

This is described in detail in the statutory guidance, ‘Keeping children safe in education (2016)’, which also describes additional requirements for boarding schools, residential special schools and children’s homes.

Train your staff

You can now train your staff in safer recruitment with flick learning.

Subscribing with flick offers access not only to the brand new Safer Recruitment course, but to all flick courses, plus downloadable guides and resources in the flick library.

So, why not sign up today?


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