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New hiring toolkit supports care providers with safer recruitment

A collaboration between safeguarding experts has led to the publication of a best practice recruitment resource for the social care sector.

A first-of-its-kind Better Hiring Toolkit has been launched, providing an essential guide for care sector employers to make informed, safer recruitment decisions.

The best practice toolkit – which can be accessed for free here – provides simplified guidance to support employers with both obtaining and providing effective references and conduct information.

It has been compiled as a collaboration between safeguarding experts at the Better Hiring Institute, the Disclosure and Barring Service, Reed Screening, Skills for Care, Dominic Headley & Associates and VBA Consulting.

With social care staff and volunteers providing support for some of the most vulnerable people in society, the toolkit is focused upon the safety of the people employers are entrusted to care for and the staff who carry out their roles.

Among the key ambitions of the Better Hiring Toolkit are:

a desire to raise standards in the care sector

providing a one-stop shop for industry best practice

encouraging an increase in sharing information – including Barring referrals

A robust and safer approach to sharing effective references and conduct information is the earliest opportunity that organisations have to prevent those who may be unsuitable for work with vulnerable people from securing a role.

Whilst sharing effective references and conduct information for staff working in social care settings has always been an essential part of safe and fair recruitment, many employers experience challenges in obtaining and providing them. Some employers refuse to complete references, others provide insufficient information and sometimes, appropriate ‘evidence of conduct’ is not provided – a legal requirement made by the Care Quality Commission.

Download and share the BHI Toolkit

Those responsible for recruitment within care sector organisations are being urged to download and share the toolkit within the hiring community.

BHI free virtual launch event

A virtual online session is being held to launch the Better Hiring Toolkit with expert speakers discussing how the social care sector can implement best practice recruitment. This takes place on Thursday 19 January, from 1pm to 2pm. Further details can be found here:

Statements from project partners

Dr Suzanne Smith, Barring and Safeguarding Director for the Disclosure and Barring Service, said:

This is the culmination of a partnership that has brought together shared expertise and experience from those operating around the highest levels of safeguarding.
We are proud to provide a simplified and supportive toolkit, free of charge, supporting those in care sector recruitment make safer, informed decisions that will protect vulnerable people at risk.

Keith Rosser, Chair of the Better Hiring Institute, said:

As Chair of The Better Hiring Institute, I am delighted to work with UK government and industry to launch the Better Hiring Toolkit for Care. This invaluable best practice guide provides leading expertise on developing a safeguarding mindset in the Care sector. This is key to driving the future of hiring as we strive to make hiring faster, fairer and safer.

Kerry Cleary, Director of VBA Consulting, said:

We are so pleased to have been able to contribute to such comprehensive and accessible guidance on the most effective ways to share reference and conduct information.
We appreciate how challenging recruitment is for many organisations at the moment, and this guidance will support organisations in meeting those challenges but doing it in such a way that means they will recruit the very best people who are safe and appropriate to deliver the most amazing care and support to others through their organisation.

Corinne Peart, Head of Engagement, Reed Screening, said:

I am extremely pleased to have worked on the vitally important Better Hiring Toolkit for Care. Reed Screening’s mission to create a safer world at work means that this joint initiative to streamline hiring and improve safeguarding is extremely important to us. At Reed Screening we are proud to contribute to helping such an extremely important sector hire quickly and safely.

Dominic Headley, Director of Dominic Headley & Associates, said:

Now more than ever, it is vital for social care employers to gather and share effective references and conduct information.
Dominic Headley & Associates (DHA) are proud to have worked with BHI, and all the other project partners and key stakeholders to develop this pioneering guidance which will give employers the knowledge, confidence and tools to gather and provide safeguarding related conduct information in line with the legal requirements and their safeguarding responsibilities.

Jeanine Willoughby, Project Manager – Capacity and Transformation, for Skills for Care said:

This innovative partnership has produced a practical toolkit offering templates so employers can fulfil their duty of care, legal obligations and safeguarding responsibilities to make sure potential employees are suitable to work with people who draw on care and support.
The toolkit offers a robust and safer approach offering guidance in how to share references and conduct information at the earliest opportunity to support a culture of safeguarding and vigilance.

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