SAFER RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION OF STAFF
- Related policies and guidance
- Responsibilities and roles
- Recruitment and selection procedure
- Medical fitness
- Pre-employment checks
- Policy on recruitment of ex-offenders
- Retention and security of disclosure information
Appendix A: Valid identity documents
Appendix B: Safer recruitment staff
Cornerstone College is committed to providing the best possible care and education to its students and to safeguarding and promoting their welfare. Cornerstone provides a supportive and flexible working environment to all its members of staff. It recognises that, in order to achieve these aims, it is of fundamental importance to attract, recruit and retain staff who share this commitment.
All employees involved in the recruitment and selection of staff are required to familiarise themselves with and comply with the provisions of this policy.
The policy applies to all contracted staff, whether by employment, services or otherwise; special provisions are in place for supply staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors. The principles of this policy apply to the professional behaviours of staff towards all students, including those over the age of 18 years.
The aims of Cornerstone’s Safer Recruitment Policy are to ensure:
that the best possible staff are recruited on the basis of their merits, abilities and suitability for the position;
that all job applicants are considered equally and consistently;
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;
compliance with all relevant legislation, recommendations and guidance including the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE) Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), the Prevent Duty for England and Wales and any guidance or code of practice published by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS);
that the College meets its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks.
Relate policies and guidance
Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures
Low-level Concerns and Allegations Against Staff
Staff Code of Conduct
Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2022
The Prevent Duty and Guidance for England and Wales
Education Act 2002
Education and Skills Act 2008
Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014
Roles and responsibilities
The Principal has overall responsibility for safer recruiting and in particular must ensure that all applicants for employment are treated equally, fairly and without prejudice.
The Centre Manager is charged with ensuring all documentation and information relating to pre-employment checks is properly secured before employment commences. This includes the employment of supply teachers.
They also ensure that this information is properly entered in the Single Central Record, stored securely and, if appropriate, destroyed securely. These are checked with the Head of Administration and the Designated Safeguarding Lead. All staff have a responsibility for whistleblowing.
The Centre Manager is responsible for ensuring that all contractors have properly cleared all necessary pre-employment checks.
Please refer to Appendix B for Safer recruitment staff.
- 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 Cornerstone College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures are available from the College’s website and can be printed and forwarded to applicants on request.
To determine whether the candidate is suitable and to investigate any gaps or inconsistencies in their history, in the first instance, it is College policy to talk to potentially suitable applicants by telephone. The applicant may then be invited to attend a formal interview at which their relevant skills and experience will be discussed in more detail.
The interview will be face to face and attended by at least two senior members of staff, at least one of whom has had regular training in safer recruitment.
Compulsory documents for interview
The College requests that all candidates invited to interview bring with them:
- A current driving licence including a photograph or a passport or a full birth certificate;
- A utility bill or financial statement issued within the last three months showing the candidate’s current name and address;
- Where appropriate any documentation evidencing a change of name;
- Where the candidate is not a UK citizen, proof of entitlement to work and reside in the UK;
- Any documents confirming educational and professional qualifications relevant to the post.
- Please note that originals of the above are necessary. Photocopies or certified copies are not sufficient.
The College aims prior to an interview is to obtain verbal or written references prior to an interview, with the candidate’s consent.
Candidates with a disability who are invited to interview should inform the College of any necessary reasonable adjustments or arrangements to assist them in attending the interview.
5.2 Conditional offer of appointment: pre-appointment checks
Any offer to a successful candidate will be conditional upon:
Receipt of at least two satisfactory references which should comment on the prospective employee’s suitability to work with children. No one may commence work until these have been received;
- Verification of identity;
- Verification of qualifications;
- Evidence of the right to work in the UK, where appropriate;
- A satisfactory enhanced DBS check;
A check of the Barred List maintained by the Teaching Regulation Agency, where appropriate;
For a candidate to be employed as a teacher, a check that the candidate is not prohibited from teaching by a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State for Education. Where the applicant has taught outside the United Kingdom within the previous five years, the college will seek confirmation from relevant authorities and referees that the candidate has not been subject to any prohibition order in any of the countries where they have taught.
Verification of professional qualifications, where appropriate;
For those who claim to have obtained Qualified Teaching Status (QTS), verification must be seen;
Where the successful candidate has worked or been resident overseas such checks and confirmations as the college may consider appropriate so that any relevant events that occurred outside the UK can be considered. Cornerstone adopts the NSPCC’s guidance of carrying out an overseas check when a candidate has lived or worked outside the UK for 3 months or more in the last 5 years. Appropriate agencies in various countries are available on the government website: ‘applying for criminal records checks for someone who has worked outside the UK’ or the Teaching Regulation Agency employer access system for information about any teacher sanction or restriction;
Satisfactory medical fitness;
Management: Where the successful candidate will be taking part in the management of the College, a check will be carried out under section 128 of the Independent Educational Provision in England (Prohibition on Participation in Management) Regulations 2014. This applies to all Governors, Senior Management Team and teaching heads of faculty.
It is illegal for anyone who has been barred from working with children to apply for a job involving regulated activity. The College has a duty to report any such individuals to the DBS and Teaching Regulations Agency (TRA).
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 Cornerstone 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.
5.3 Prevent duty
The College has a legal duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This is known as Prevent duty. Schools are required to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. Accordingly, as part of the recruitment process, when an offer is made the offer will be subject to a Prevent duty risk assessment.
Successful applicants should be aware that they are required to notify the College immediately if there are any reasons why they should not be working with children.
- Medical fitness
Cornerstone is legally required to verify the medical fitness of anyone to be appointed to a post at the College after an offer of employment has been made but before the appointment can be confirmed.
It is Cornerstone’s practice that all applicants to whom an offer of employment is made must complete a Health Questionnaire. Cornerstone will arrange for the information contained in the questionnaire to be reviewed by the College’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 e.g. proposed timetable, extra-curricular activities, layout of the College.
If Cornerstone’s medical advisor has any doubts about an applicant’s fitness the College will consider reasonable adjustments in consultation with the applicant. Cornerstone may also seek a further medical advice from a specialist or request that the applicant undertakes a full medical assessment. Any medical information is regarded as sensitive personal information and will be held in the strictest confidence according to the College’s Data Protection Policy.
Any withdrawal of a job offer, where appropriate, will be carried out in compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
- Pre-employment checks
In accordance with the recommendations set out in the DfE Guidance KCSIE, and the requirements of the Education (Independent College Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, Cornerstone carries out a number of pre-employment checks in respect of all prospective employees.
College will also make use of any available resources to confirm that any candidate is suitable for the job for which they have applied. This may includes searches on the Internet and social media.
The College maintains and updates a Single Central Record (SCR) which contains a record of the result of each of these pre-employment checks for teachers, supply staff, volunteers, contractors and self-employed persons who engage in work at the College.
7.1 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 A (these requirements comply with DBS identity checking guidelines):
one document from Group 1;
two further documents from either of Group 1, Group 2a or Group 2b, one of which must verify the applicant’s current address;
original documents confirming any educational and professional qualifications referred to in their application form.
Where an applicant claims to have changed their name by deed poll or any other means (e.g. marriage, adoption, statutory declaration) they will be required to provide documentary evidence of the change.
Cornerstone 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 Cornerstone may verify the identity of, and check for any unexplained discrepancies in, the employment and education history of all applicants. Cornerstone does not discriminate on the grounds of age.
All offers of employment will be subject to the receipt of a minimum of two references which are considered satisfactory by the College. 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;
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;
whether the candidate has given any concern in relation to the prevention of terrorism act and that they do not support any form of extremism or terrorism.
*Questions about health or sickness records will only be included in reference requests sent out after the offer of employment has been made.
Cornerstone College 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.
The College 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. The College will verify all references. Where references are received electronically, the College will ensure they originate from a legitimate source.
7.3 Criminal records check
Due to the nature of the work, the College applies for an enhanced disclosure from the DBS in respect of all prospective staff members, contractors, supply teachers, self-employed workers and volunteers who engage in ‘regulated activity’.
Cornerstone applies for an enhanced disclosure from the DBS and a check of the Children’s Barred List in respect of all positions at the College which amount to ‘regulated activity’ as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act. Any position undertaken at, or on behalf of, the College (whether paid or unpaid), will amount to ‘regulated activity’ if it is carried out:
frequently, meaning once a week or more;
overnight, meaning between 2.00 am and 6.00 am;
satisfies the ‘period condition’, meaning four times or more in a 30 day period;
provides the opportunity for contact with children.
This definition will cover nearly all posts at Cornerstone. Limited exceptions could include an administrative post undertaken on a temporary basis at Cornerstone’s office outside of term time. It is for the College to decide whether a role amounts to ‘regulated activity’ taking into account all the relevant circumstances.
The DBS now issues a DBS disclosure certificate only to the subject of the check rather than to Cornerstone. It is a condition of employment with Cornerstone that the original disclosure certificate is provided to the College 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 Cornerstone 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 Cornerstone College.
If there is a delay in receiving a DBS disclosure the Principal 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 when they were aged 16 years or more and those with little or no previous UK residence. These applicants will also be asked to provide further information, including a criminal records check or certificate of good conduct as appropriate from the relevant jurisdiction(s). Guidance as to the relevant authorities may be obtained from the Home Office. The College may not request such checks and therefore the candidate is responsible for initiating such requests.
It is essential that these checks obtained prove satisfactory. If it is not possible to obtain such checks the College will institute other checks and procedures to satisfy itself as to the probity of the candidate.
Staff joining the College from another school in England where they have been engaged in regulated activity bringing them into regular contact with children or young people may start employment without another enhanced DBS check provided the gap in employment is three months or less. However they must bring a copy of their existing DBS and will be subject to all other pre-employment checks including a barred list check.
DBS Update Service
Where an applicant subscribes to the DBS Update Service the applicant must give consent to the College to check there have not been changes since the issue of a disclosure certificate. A barred list check will still be required
If disclosure is delayed
A short period of work is allowed under controlled conditions, at the Principal’s discretion. However, if an ‘enhanced disclosure’ is delayed, the Principal may allow the member of staff to commence work:
After a satisfactory check of the barred list if the person will be working in regulated activity and all other relevant checks (including any appropriate prohibition checks) having been completed satisfactorily;
Without confirming the appointment;
Provided that the DBS application has been made in advance;
With appropriate safeguards taken (for example, loose supervision);
Safeguards reviewed at least every two weeks by the Principal or senior member of staff;
The person in question is informed what these safeguards are; and
It is recommended, but not a requirement, that a note is added to the single central register and evidence kept of the measures put in place.
It is an offence for the College to employ anyone in regulated activity who is barred from engaging in such.
7.3 Seasonal staff
The College employs some staff only during certain periods during the year; for example during the summer, easter and winter camps. The usual employment checks are obtained when such staff first join. Since they may have gaps in their employment of more than three months it is necessary to update medical fitness and employment history and require registration with the DBS updating service in order to ensure up to date information on DBS compliance.
7.4 Contractors and supply agency staff
Contractors engaged by the College must complete the same checks for their employees that Cornerstone is required to complete for its staff. Cornerstone requires confirmation that these checks have been completed before employees of the contractor can commence work at the College and will check enhanced DBS and identity upon arrival. If contractors do not possess a DBS and are likely to come into contact with children, they will be supervised at all times.
Agencies who supply staff to Cornerstone must also complete the pre-employment checks which the College would otherwise complete for its staff. These include: identity, DBS enhanced disclosure, right to work in the UK, barred list, qualifications as appropriate, and overseas checks as appropriate. Identity and DBS must be presented when the employee arrives on the premises. Again, Cornerstone requires confirmation that these checks have been completed before an individual can commence work at the College. Cornerstone will independently verify the identity of staff supplied by contractors or an agency in accordance with section 4.1 above.
7.5 Visiting professionals, volunteers
The College will ensure that they have enhanced DBS clearance prior to arrival and if they are likely to come into contact with children, a barred list (list 99) check. The College will check for identity upon arrival. Under no circumstances will the College permit an unchecked volunteer or visiting professional unsupervised contact with children.
The College does not have the right to ask visitors for DBS clearance; however, it ensures that all guests sign in, wear appropriate lanyards and are supervised during their visit.
- Policy on recruitment of ex-offenders
Cornerstone College will not unfairly discriminate against any applicant for employment on the basis of conviction or other details revealed. Cornerstone 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 the College. Instead, each case will be decided on its merits in accordance with the objective assessment criteria set out below.
All positions within the College 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, as set out 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 Cornerstone 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 the College. Cornerstone 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;
it has serious concerns about an applicant’s suitability to work with children.
8.2 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, Cornerstone 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;
the circumstances surrounding the offence and the explanation(s) offered by the convicted person.
If the post involves regular contact with children, it is Cornerstone’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;
serious class A drug related offences, robbery, burglary, theft, deception or fraud.
If the post involves access to money or budget responsibility, it is Cornerstone’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 Cornerstone’s normal policy to consider it a high risk to employ anyone who has been convicted of drink driving within the last ten years.
8.3 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, Cornerstone will carry out a risk assessment by reference to the criteria set out above.
The assessment form must be signed by the Principal or the Centre Manager 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, Cornerstone 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.
- Retention and security of disclosure information
Cornerstone’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, Cornerstone College 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 Cornerstone’s senior leadership team (SLT);
not retain disclosure information or any associated correspondence for longer than is necessary, and for a maximum of six months. Cornerstone 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;
prohibit the photocopying or scanning of any disclosure information.
9.1 Retention of information
The College is legally required to carry out all pre-employment checks found earlier in this document. All information relating to recruitment is either stored electronically with access restricted to a few members of the SLT using a robust, secure system of passwords and firewall to prevent unwanted access to records or in secure, lockable filing cabinets with highly restricted access. The College will retain these records for successful applicants but will destroy those of unsuccessful applicants.
9.2 Single Central Record
An entry will be made on the Single Central Record for all current members of staff at the College, the proprietorial body and all individuals who work in regular contact with children including volunteers, supply staff and those employed as third parties.
All staff are trained in whistleblowing to encourage the prompt reporting of any behaviour by another member of staff giving rise to safeguarding concerns.
10.1 Reporting to DBS and Teaching Regulations Agency (TRA)
If an employee is dismissed because of violations of safeguarding guidance and legislation the College has a duty to report this to the DBS and TRA. Similarly if an employee leaves because of allegations regarding safeguarding violations or, having retired, it comes to light that there are safeguarding concerns relating to the employee, the College must report such to these agencies.
Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2023
Effective date of the policy September 2023
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2023
Appendix A: 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)
P4/ 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 Cornerstone College Principal (UK) for 16-19 year olds in full time education. This is only used in exceptional circumstances if other documents cannot be provided.
Appendix B: Safer recruitment staff
Role Staff member
Principal David Ogunbode
Director of Studies Dr Emmanuel Obikwu
Head of Administration Laura Meadows