Employers whose businesses involve caring for or providing services for children or vulnerable adults need to ensure that those groups are protected in their recruitment processes within a safeguarding policy. It is essential that such a recruitment policy includes checking potential employees’ criminal records.
Inform job applicants that a criminal records check will be required
For certain roles, employers can apply, with the consent of the applicant, for a criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service. In particular, such information will be required where the role will involve working with vulnerable adults or children. The DBS has a list of people who are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults as a result of a particular criminal activity.
It can help the recruitment process if job applicants are informed of this at the outset.
Inform job applicants if employment offers are conditional
If relevant, it should be made absolutely clear when making a job offer that it is conditional on the applicant producing a satisfactory criminal record disclosure, now known as a DBS check. If this is not made clear, it is possible for an employer to risk a breach of contract claim if an offer of employment is later withdrawn.
The different criminal record disclosure requests
To assist job applicants, employers should set out what is involved in the DBS check that will be requested. Information that will be useful includes what the potential employee must do and whether there are any costs involved.
Don’t forget data protection
Employers must also ensure that they make it clear in their safeguarding policy that they will use, store and handle any personal data on job applicants obtained through a criminal record check, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. In addition, employers must use the correct DBS procedure to obtain the criminal records of applicants. To ensure that the correct procedure is used, employers can use companies such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk/criminal-record-checks-for-individuals/ to take care of the application process on their behalf.
Finally, ensuring that any safeguarding policies demonstrate a commitment to equality legislation is imperative. Such policies should clarify that employment offers are made on the basis of skill, abilities, know-how and experience, and if relevant, qualifications and training, and that previous criminal activity will not always be relevant.