A project is now underway to refresh the guidance on recruitment of workers to make it as current and relevant as possible to the wide range of employers of people who work with children and vulnerable people and in the wide range of social services in Scotland. The opportunity will also be taken to work with other public services to identify and share best practice. The Project Group is chaired by Rami Okasha from the Care Inspectorate and the project lead is Laura Wylie from the Scottish Social Services Council. The project group met for the first time on 15th January 2016 and involves people with a wide range of expertise and knowledge. Work is underway to develop a web space where information about the project will be published.
Safer Recruitment through Better Recruitment was published in 2007 and the Scottish Government will work with partners to consider approaches to updating and refreshing it during 2015. As part of this exercise it will be useful to get an understanding of where employers have been working to the “higher” level of practice outline in the guidance as this was a key expectation of the guidance.
The guidance details robust recruitment processes that can help employers ensure that unsuitable staff do not gain access to children or protected adults. Best practice recruitment approaches are crucial, for example in preventing unsuitable people from carving out careers in a caring profession simply in order to gain access to children and vulnerable adults with the purpose of grooming them for sexual or other exploitation.
Approaches brought in through the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 are a key plank in stopping people who are unsuitable from gaining access through work to children or protected adults. However this is only one element of a rigorous safer recruitment and selection process.
Norman Dunning, the Independent Chair of South Lanarkshire’s Child Protection Committee says the 2007 guidance still contains extremely helpful information. He would, however, like to see it used more widely by employers.
Norman commented that:
“South Lanarkshire recently conducted a Significant Case Review which revealed how easy it had been for a nursery nurse to get through quite cursory job interviews and gain access through his job to young children by befriending, and effectively grooming, their families. The SCR findings show that focusing on the motivation of a candidate to work with children or vulnerable people should be a first consideration in recruitment processes and always be considered along with competency, expertise, qualification and attitudes.
In Norman’s view:
“The fundamentals of the guidance and the techniques it describes are sound and other employers of people who work with children and vulnerable adults could, if they have not already done so, follow our example here in South Lanarkshire, and use the guidance more widely across services to check out that their recruitment practices are as safe as they can be.”