Safer Recruitment and Selection of Staff

November 13, 2015

Introduction

Ashbourne is committed to providing the best possible care and education to its pupils and to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. Ashbourne A Level College London is also committed to providing a supportive and flexible working environment to all its members of staff. Ashbourne College recognises that, in order to achieve these aims, it is of fundamental importance to attract, recruit and retain staff of the highest calibre who share this commitment.
The aims of Ashbourne A Level College London’s recruitment policy are as follows:

  • to ensure that the best possible staff are recruited on the basis of their merits, abilities and suitability for the position;
  • to ensure that all job applicants are considered equally and consistently;
  • to ensure that no job applicant is treated unfairly on any grounds including race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or religious belief, sex or sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, disability or age;
  • to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation, recommendations and guidance including the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE) (formerly the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)), Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education (Guidance) and any guidance or code of practice published by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS); and
  • to ensure that Ashbourne A Level College London meets its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks.

Employees involved in the recruitment and selection of staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with and complying with the provisions of this policy.

2. Recruitment and selection procedure

All applicants for employment will be required to complete an application form containing questions about their academic and employment history and their suitability for the role. Incomplete application forms will be returned to the applicant where the deadline for completed application forms has not passed. A curriculum vitae will not be accepted in place of the completed application form.
Applicants will receive a job description and person specification for the role applied for. [Application forms, job descriptions, person specifications and the Ashbourne College’s Child Protection Policy are available to download from the Ashbourne College website and can be printed and forwarded to applicants on request.
The applicant may then be invited to attend a formal interview at which his / her relevant skills and experience will be discussed in more detail.
If it is decided to make an offer of employment following the formal interview, any such offer will be conditional on the following:

  • the agreement of a mutually acceptable start date and the signing of a contract incorporating Ashbourne A Level College London’s standard terms and conditions of employment;
  • the receipt of two references (one of which must be from the applicant’s most recent employer) which the Ashbourne A Level College London considers to be satisfactory;
  • the receipt of an enhanced disclosure from the DBS which Ashbourne A Level College London considers to be satisfactory;
  • verification of the applicant’s medical fitness for the role (see section 3 below); and
  • where the position amounts to “regulated activity” (see section 4.3 below) confirmation that the applicant is not named on the Children’s Barred List administered by the DBS*.

*A check of the Children’s Barred List is not permitted if an individual will not be undertaking “regulated activity”. Whether a position amounts to “regulated activity” must therefore be considered by Ashbourne A Level College London in order to decide which DBS checks are appropriate. It is however likely that in nearly all cases a Children’s Barred List check will be carried out.

3. Medical fitness

Ashbourne A Level College London is legally required to verify the medical fitness of anyone to be appointed to a post at Ashbourne A Level College London, after an offer of employment has been made but before the appointment can be confirmed.
It is Ashbourne A Level College London’s practice that all applicants to whom an offer of employment is made must complete a Health Questionnaire. Ashbourne A Level College London will arrange for the information contained in the Health Questionnaire to be reviewed by Ashbourne A Level College London’s medical advisor. This information will be reviewed against the Job Description and the Person Specification for the particular role, together with details of any other physical or mental requirements of the role i.e. proposed timetable, extra-curricular activities, layout of Ashbourne A Level College London etc. If Ashbourne A Level College London’s medical advisor has any doubts about an applicant’s fitness Ashbourne A Level College London will consider reasonable adjustments in consultation with the applicant. Ashbourne A Level College London may also seek a further medical opinion from a specialist or request that the applicant undertakes a full medical assessment.
Ashbourne A Level College London is aware of its duties under the Equality Act 2010. No job offer will be withdrawn without first consulting with the applicant, obtaining medical evidence, considering reasonable adjustments and suitable alternative employment.

4. Pre-employment checks

In accordance with the recommendations set out in the Guidance, and the requirements of the Education (Independent College Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, Ashbourne A Level College London carries out a number of pre-employment checks in respect of all prospective employees.

4.1 Verification of identity and address

All applicants who are invited to an interview will be required to bring with them evidence of identity, right to work in the UK, address and qualifications as set out below and in the list of valid identity documents at Appendix 1 (these requirements comply with DBS identity checking guidelines):

  • one document from Group 1; and
  • two further documents from either of Group 1, Group 2a or Group 2b, one of which must verify the applicant’s current address; and
  • original documents confirming any educational and professional qualifications referred to in their application form.

Where an applicant claims to have changed his / her name by deed poll or any other means (e.g. marriage, adoption, statutory declaration) he / she will be required to provide documentary evidence of the change.
Ashbourne A Level College London asks for the date of birth of all applicants (and proof of this) in accordance with the Guidance. Proof of date of birth is necessary so that Ashbourne A Level College London may verify the identity of, and check for any unexplained discrepancies in the employment and education history of all applicants. Ashbourne A Level College London does not discriminate on the grounds of age.

4.2 References

All offers of employment will be subject to the receipt of a minimum of two references which are considered satisfactory by Ashbourne A Level College London. One of the references must be from the applicant’s current or most recent employer. If the current / most recent employment does / did not involve work with children, then the second reference should be from the employer with whom the applicant most recently worked with children. Neither referee should be a relative or someone known to the applicant solely as a friend. [Please note that no questions will be asked about health or medical fitness prior to any offer of employment being made.] All referees will be asked whether they believe the applicant is suitable for the job for which they have applied and whether they have any reason to believe that the applicant is unsuitable to work with children. All referees will be sent a copy of the job description and person specification for the role for which the applicant has applied. If the referee is a current or previous employer, they will also be asked to confirm the following:

  • the applicant’s dates of employment, salary, job title / duties, reason for leaving, performance, sickness* and disciplinary record;
  • whether the applicant has ever been the subject of disciplinary procedures involving issues related to the safety and welfare of children (including any in which the disciplinary sanction has expired), except where the issues were deemed to have resulted from allegations which were found to be false, unsubstantiated, unfounded or malicious; and
  • whether any allegations or concerns have been raised about the applicant that relate to the safety and welfare of children or young people or behaviour towards children or young people, except where the allegation or concerns were found to be false, unsubstantiated, unfounded or malicious.

(*questions about health or sickness records will only be included in reference requests sent out after the offer of employment has been made.)
Ashbourne A Level College London will only accept references obtained directly from the referee and it will not rely on references or testimonials provided by the applicant or on open references or testimonials.
Ashbourne A Level College London will compare all references with any information given on the application form. Any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the information will be taken up with the applicant and the relevant referee before any appointment is confirmed.

4.3 Criminal records check

Due to the nature of the work, Ashbourne A Level College London applies for an enhanced disclosure from the DBS in respect of all prospective staff members, governors and volunteers.
Prior to 29 May 2013 an enhanced disclosure contained details of all convictions on record (including those which are defined as “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) together with details of any cautions, reprimands or warnings held on the Police National Computer. It could also contain non-conviction information from local police records which a chief police officer considered relevant to the role applied for at Ashbourne A Level College London.
As of 29 May 2013 the DBS commenced the filtering and removal of certain specified information relating to old and minor criminal offences from all criminal records disclosures. The DBS and the Home Office have developed a set of filtering rules relating to spent convictions which work as follows:
For those aged 18 or over at the time of an offence, an adult conviction will be removed from a DBS disclosure if:

  • eleven years have elapsed since the date of conviction;
  • it is the person’s only offence; and
  • it did not result in a custodial sentence.

It will not be removed under any circumstances if it appears on a list of “specified offences” which must always be disclosed. If a person has more than one offence on their criminal record, then details of all their convictions will always be included.
A caution received when a person was aged 18 or over will not be disclosed if six years have elapsed since the date it was issued, and if it does not appear on the list of “specified offences”.
For those aged under 18 at the time of an offence
A conviction will removed from a DBS disclosure if:

  • five and a half years have elapsed since the date of conviction; and
  • it is the person’s only offence; and
  • it did not result in a custodial sentence.

Again, the conviction will not be removed under any circumstances if it appears on the list of “specified offences”, or if a person has more than one offence on their criminal record.
A caution received when a person was aged under 18 will not be disclosed if two years have elapsed since the date it was issued, and if it does not appear on the list of “specified offences”.
The list of “specified offences” which must always be disclosed.This contains a large number of offences, which includes certain sexual, violent and other offences that are considered so serious they will always be disclosed, regardless of when they took place or of the person’s previous or subsequent criminal record. The list of “specified offences” can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-list-of-offences-that-will-never-be-filtered-from-a-criminal-record-check
Ashbourne A Level College London applies for an enhanced disclosure from the DBS and a check of the Children’s Barred List (now known as an Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity) in respect of all positions at Ashbourne A Level College London which amount to “regulated activity” as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended). The purpose of carrying out an Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity is to identify whether an applicant is barred from working with children by inclusion on the Children’s Barred List maintained by the DBS. Any position undertaken at, or on behalf of, the Ashbourne A Level College London (whether paid or unpaid), will amount to “regulated activity” if it is carried out:

  • frequently, meaning once a week or more; or
  • overnight, meaning between 2.00 am and 6.00 am; or
  • satisfies the “period condition”, meaning four times or more in a 30 day period; and
  • provides the opportunity for contact with children.

This definition will cover nearly all posts at Ashbourne A Level College London. Limited exceptions could include an administrative post undertaken on a temporary basis in Ashbourne A Level College London office outside of term time.
It is for Ashbourne A Level College London to decide whether a role amounts to “regulated activity” taking into account all the relevant circumstances.
The DBS now issues a DBS disclosure certificate to the subject of the check only, rather than to Ashbourne A Level College London. It is a condition of employment with Ashbourne A Level College London hat the original disclosure certificate is provided to Ashbourne A Level College London within two weeks of it being received by the applicant. Original certificates should not be sent by post. A convenient time and date for doing so should be arranged with the Head of Administration as soon as the certificate has been received. Applicants who are unable to attend at Ashbourne A Level College London to provide the certificate are required to send in a certified copy by post or email within two weeks of the original disclosure certificate being received. Certified copies must be sent to the Head of Administration. Where a certified copy is sent, the original disclosure certificate must still be provided on the first working day. Employment will remain conditional upon the original certificate being provided and it being considered satisfactory by Ashbourne A Level College London .
If there is a delay in receiving a DBS disclosure the Head has discretion to allow an individual to begin work pending receipt of the disclosure. This will only be allowed if all other checks, including a clear check of the Children’s Barred List (where the position amounts to regulated activity), have been completed and once appropriate supervision has been put in place.
DBS checks will still be requested for applicants with recent periods of overseas residence and those with little or no previous UK residence. These applicants may also be asked to provide further information, including a criminal records check from the relevant jurisdiction(s).

5. Contractors and agency staff

Contractors engaged by Ashbourne A Level College London must complete the same checks for their employees that Ashbourne A Level College London is required to complete for its staff. Ashbourne A Level College London requires confirmation that these checks have been completed before employees of the Contractor can commence work at Ashbourne A Level College London.
Agencies who supply staff to Ashbourne A Level College London must also complete the pre-employment checks which Ashbourne A Level College London would otherwise complete for its staff. Again, Ashbourne A Level College London requires confirmation that these checks have been completed before an individual can commence work at Ashbourne A Level College London .
Ashbourne A Level College London will independently verify the identity of staff supplied by contractors or an agency in accordance with section 4.1 above.

6. Policy on recruitment of ex-offenders

6.1 Background

Ashbourne A Level College London will not unfairly discriminate against any applicant for employment on the basis of conviction or other details revealed. Ashbourne A Level College London makes appointment decisions on the basis of merit and ability. If an applicant has a criminal record this will not automatically bar him / her from employment within Ashbourne A Level College London. Instead, each case will be decided on its merits in accordance with the objective assessment criteria set out in paragraph 6.2 below.
All positions within Ashbourne A Level College London are exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. All applicants must therefore declare all previous convictions and cautions, including those which would normally be considered “spent” except for those to which the DBS filtering rules apply (see paragraph 4.3 above). A failure to disclose a previous conviction (which should be declared) may lead to an application being rejected or, if the failure to disclose is discovered after employment has started, may lead to summary dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. A failure to disclose a previous conviction may also amount to a criminal offence.
It is unlawful for Ashbourne A Level College London to employ anyone who is barred from working with children. It is a criminal offence for any person who is barred from working with children to attempt to apply for a position at Ashbourne A Level College London. Ashbourne A Level College London will make a report to the Police and / or the DBS if:

  • it receives an application from a barred person;
  • it is provided with false information in, or in support of an applicant’s application; or
  • it has serious concerns about an applicant’s suitability to work with children.
6.2 Assessment criteria

In the event that relevant information (whether in relation to previous convictions or otherwise) is volunteered by an applicant during the recruitment process or obtained through a disclosure check, Ashbourne A Level College London will consider the following factors before reaching a recruitment decision:

  • whether the conviction or other matter revealed is relevant to the position in question;
  • the seriousness of any offence or other matter revealed;
  • the length of time since the offence or other matter occurred;
  • whether the applicant has a pattern of offending behaviour or other relevant matters;
  • whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour or other relevant matters; and
  • the circumstances surrounding the offence and the explanation(s) offered by the convicted person.

If the post involves regular contact with children, it is Ashbourne A Level College London’s normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted at any time of any the following offences:

  • murder, manslaughter, rape, other serious sexual offences, grievous bodily harm or other serious acts of violence; or
  • serious class A drug related offences, robbery, burglary, theft, deception or fraud.

If the post involves access to money or budget responsibility, it is Ashbourne A Level College London’s normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted at any time of robbery, burglary, theft, deception or fraud.
If the post involves some driving responsibilities, it is Ashbourne A Level College London’s normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted of drink driving within the last ten years.

6.3 Assessment procedure

In the event that relevant information (whether in relation to previous convictions or otherwise) is volunteered by an applicant during the recruitment process or obtained through a disclosure check, Ashbourne A Level College London will carry out a risk assessment by reference to the criteria set out above. The assessment form must be signed by the Head or the Deputy Head of Ashbourne A Level College London before a position is offered or confirmed.
If an applicant wishes to dispute any information contained in a disclosure, he / she can do so by contacting the DBS direct. In cases where the applicant would otherwise be offered a position were it not for the disputed information, Ashbourne A Level College London will, where practicable and at its discretion, defer a final decision about the appointment until the applicant has had a reasonable opportunity to challenge the disclosure information.

6.4 Retention and security of disclosure information

Ashbourne A Level College London’s policy is to observe the guidance issued or supported by the DBS on the use of disclosure information, but is under no obligation to do so.
In particular, Ashbourne A Level College London will:

  • store disclosure information and other confidential documents issued by the DBS in locked, non-portable storage containers, access to which will be restricted to members of Ashbourne A Level College London’s senior management team;
  • not retain disclosure information or any associated correspondence for longer than is necessary, and for a maximum of six months. Ashbourne A Level College London will keep a record of the date of a disclosure, the name of the subject, the type of disclosure, the position in question, the unique number issued by the DBS and the recruitment decision taken;
  • ensure that any disclosure information is destroyed by suitably secure means such as shredding; and
  • prohibit the photocopying or scanning of any disclosure information.

Appendix 1. List of valid identity documents

Group 1: primary trusted identity credentials

  • current valid passport
  • biometric residence permit (UK)
  • current driving licence (full or provisional) (UK / Isle of Man / Channel Islands; photo card with the associated counterpart licence; except Jersey)
  • birth certificate (UK & Channel Islands) – issued at the time of birth (within 42 days of date of birth); Full or short form acceptable including those issued by UK authorities overseas, such as Embassies, High Commissions and HM Forces

Group 2a: trusted government / state issued documents

  • current UK driving licence (old style paper version)
  • current non-UK driving licence (valid for up to 12 months from the date the applicant entered the UK)
  • birth certificate (UK and Channel Islands) – issued at any time after the date of birth by the General Registrar Office / relevant authority i.e. Registrars)
  • marriage / civil partnership certificate (UK and Channel Islands)
  • adoption certificate (UK and Channel Islands)
  • HM Forces ID card (UK)
  • fire arms licence (UK and Channel Islands)

Group 2b: Financial / social history documents

  • mortgage statement (UK or EEA)**
  • bank / building society statement (UK and Channel Islands or EEA)*
  • bank / building society account opening confirmation letter (UK)
  • credit card statement (UK or EEA)*
  • financial statement ** – e.g. pension, endowment, ISA (UK)
  • P45 / P60 statement **(UK and Channel Islands)
  • council tax statement (UK and Channel Islands) **
  • work permit / visa (UK) (UK Residence Permit) **
  • letter of sponsorship from future employment provider (non UK / non EEA only valid for applicants residing outside the UK at the time of application)
  • utility bill (UK)* – not mobile telephone
  • benefit statement* – e.g. child benefit, pension
  • a document from central / local government/ government agency / local authority giving entitlement (UK and Channel Islands)*- e.g. from the Department for Work and Pension, the Employment Service , HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), Job Centre, Job Centre Plus, Social Security
  • EU national ID card
  • cards carrying the PASS accreditation logo (UK)
  • letter from Head or Ashbourne A Level College London Principal (UK) for 16-19 year olds in full time education. This is only used in exceptional circumstances if other documents cannot be provided.

 

Authorised by The Principal
Date November 2015
Effective date of the policy November 2015
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2016