This information is designed to help your organisation develop the best practice for recruiting and vetting individuals working and volunteering with adults at risk.
Your organisation is only as good as the people who work and volunteer with you. They should be committed to creating a setting in which everyone feels welcome and safe. Respect for equality and diversity should be embedded within your organisation’s culture, and it should be promoted and underpinned in your codes of conduct, policies, and procedures.
Your Organisation’s Responsibilities
You have a moral and social obligation to demonstrate best practice when it comes to working with adults at risk. Your staff and volunteers have a responsibility to treat one another with dignity, respect, sensitivity, and fairness. Any discriminatory, offensive, and violent behaviour is unacceptable, and you must work together to ensure that any complaint or concern will be acted upon.
All of this is only possible when people are recruited as safely as possible. It is therefore essential that your organisation has an effective recruitment and selection procedure for both paid staff and volunteers.
Legally, anyone undertaking a role that involves contact with, or responsibility for, children or other vulnerable adults should be taken through a safer recruitment process. Some individuals may not be suitable to work with adults at risk due to gaps in their understanding, skills, or knowledge. There may also be some concerns about their previous conduct.
Good Recruitment Practice
If appropriate for the role, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) can disclose and check against their barred list. But this is only one part of a safe recruitment process. In all cases regarding the vetting of paid and voluntary staff, best practice dictates a thorough checking of a candidate’s training and qualifications.
All of the following should form the basis of safe recruitment and best practice when recruiting individuals to work with adults at risk:
- Detailed application forms
- Robust interviews that cover safeguarding, equality, and diversity knowledge and skills
- Reference checks
- A thorough induction process
- Verification of qualifications and experience
- Risk assessments
Once the person is in the role, there should be a probationary period and review, as well as regular safeguarding training that includes safeguarding adults at risk.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Regulated Activities
A DBS check was formerly known as a CRB check. It is a means of supplying your organisation with the information you need to help you make correct recruitment and placement decisions. This is particularly vital when it comes to positions involving children and adults at risk.Find out more about what DBS Checks are and who needs them
DBS checks are only one part of the recruitment process, and the eligibility for undertaking them primarily relates to DBS Regulated Activities such as social and health care.Find out what DBS Regulated Activities are
If your organisation does not operate in these areas, you should first and foremost follow the good practice guidelines detailed above.
Vetting Individuals Who Are Not in a DBS Regulated Activity
If the individuals at your organisation are not in regulated activity, but you feel there’s an opportunity for them to build up a relationship of trust with an adult at risk, what can you do to vet them?
- Use Safer Recruitment Processes: You should first ensure that safe recruitment processes are in place.
- Individually consider DBS Disclosure: Consider, on an individual basis, the need to conduct a DBS disclosure. This can only be used where there is eligibility to request it, and this is dependent on the role the individual holds.
- Do not blanket-check all roles for DBS Checks: Assess roles individually to confirm whether they meet the eligibility criteria for a DBS certificate, as sector-specific statutory guidance should be considered along with relevant legislation.
The eligibility guidance codes for DBS checks can be found on the DBS website.
There is also a government online tool for checking whether your organisation can check a person’s criminal record
Finally, you can contact the DBS customer service team with any queries at CustomerServices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk.
We have over 25 years experience safeguarding adults across all types of organisations. Our independent audits review your current policies, practices, training and investigations to give you recommendations and advice on how to improve safeguarding in your organisation.Safeguarding Audits