Safer Recruitment: One-Minute Guide
What is Safer Recruitment?
Safer recruitment is key element to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and to keeping them safe in organisations. The principles should be applied in all organisations who recruit individuals to work with children and young people, in both a paid and voluntary capacity. This will help ensure that unsuitable people are deterred from applying and prevented from being appointed. Your organisation should also have appropriate policies and procedures in place to minimise opportunities for abuse and to ensure any concerns or allegations of harm are reported promptly.
Your organisation should have a policy statement outlining their commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, which ALL staff and volunteers are required to follow. The policy should include that robust recruitment and selection procedures are in place to minimise the possibility of children and young people suffering harm from those in a position of trust.
What are the Key Principles of Safer Recruitment?
Safer recruitment is based a number of key principles:
- Deterring unsuitable applicants from applying – ensuring potential applicants are given a clear message about the organisation’s commitment to recruit suitable people.
- Rejecting unsuitable applicants at the selection stage and thorough pre-appointment checks.
- Preventing any opportunities to abuse children and young people once appointed.
- Detecting and responding to any concerns about an individual once appointed.
What are the Safer Recruitment Practices?
The following are examples of good practice that organisations should follow, as appropriate.
- Advertising posts – your organisation’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children should be clearly stated in any information provided to candidates. Any advert / information provided to candidates should also state if the role is subject to DBS and Barred List Checks.
- Job Description / Person Specification / Role Profile – the roles and responsibilities relating to safeguarding should be clearly stated in any job description / role profile.
- Application Form – wherever possible an application form should be used rather than accepting CVs; a simplified version can be used for volunteer posts.
- References – references should be taken to obtain information to support appointment decisions. Where possible a reference should be obtained from the current employer and / or the last employer where the applicant worked with children.
- Selection – organisations should use selection process (including interviews) to explore, not only, the skills but also the motivation for working with children and young people.
- Pre-appointment checks – these will include identity checks, right to work in the UK, and professional qualifications and registration / regulations appropriate to the post. This may also include health checks.
- Recruiters should, where possible, undertake safer recruitment training and it is best practice to ensure that at least one member of any interviewing panel should have completed safer recruitment training.
NB. Not all the above will be relevant for volunteer posts, but we need to remember that children and young people view volunteers as being safe adults. It is therefore important that there is a relevant but robust process in place for volunteer appointments.
What Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks are needed?
The organisation will need to determine if a DBS check is needed and what level of check is needed for individual posts. This needs to be made clear to applicants before applying for the post and included in any advert / documentation provided as part of the application process.
The organisation will need to determine if the person will be engaging in Regulated Activity and, therefore, if a Barred List Check is also needed.
Further information can be found in the Government guidance available at:
If a person is not in regulated activity but is working with children and young people they may be in a supervised role. Further information is available from:
What Else Do We Need To Have In Place?
Organisations should have in place the following to prevent opportunities to abuse children:
- Good induction and ongoing training in safeguarding.
- Clear safe working practice guidance and / or codes of conduct
- Clear policies, including whistleblowing www.safeguardingchildren.co.uk/professionals/procedures-practice-guidance-and-one-minute-guides/whistleblowing
- Appropriate supervision.
Organisation should have clear guidance for reporting concerns and procedures for managing allegations and concerns against staff or volunteers. Guidance for Managing Allegations Against Staff and Volunteers is available from:
Further information is available at:
- Guidance for Safe Recruitment, Selection and Retention for Staff and Volunteers (proceduresonline.com)
Maintain a high level of vigilance – believe it could always happen in your organisation.
Last updated: 20 October 2022