One of the most important boxes to tick when starting a new childcare business is building the right team. As children are often unable to vocalise their feelings or seek help when needed, it is vital that childcare providers adopt a recruitment and selection process that deters and rejects individuals who might pose a risk for their welfare. Here is an overview of the critical areas to pay attention to when starting your recruitment process:
1. A Safer Recruitment Policy
Safer Recruitment is the method of creating a recruitment process that identifies and weeds out unsuitable applicants from applying for roles with children and vulnerable groups. When starting a childcare centre, drafting a Safer Recruitment Policy should be your first step towards ensuring a safe environment for the children in your care. A clear-cut policy with the relevant laws, rules and guidelines will help you plan your recruitment process carefully and follow a consistent approach in recruiting new members of staff. It will also give you and the candidates a realistic picture of the timelines involved for a thorough vetting process.
The safer recruitment policy should include:
-A policy statement laying out your commitment to protecting all children
-The aims and objectives of your policy
-Details of the steps you will undertake to vet each candidate and the pre-employment checks you will carry out
-Details of your onboarding process
-A list of supporting procedures to administer the policy efficiently
2. Criminal Records Check
A Criminal Records Check is one of the most crucial and mandatory pre-employment checks that should be carried out for all staff or volunteers working with children. Although the records checking authorities are different for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the criminal records check carried in any one of the countries within the UK is applicable throughout the UK. If a person is barred from working with children in one place, they will not be eligible to work with children in any other part of the UK.
The agencies that carry out checks within the UK are:
England and Wales: The Disclosure and Barring Service, UK
Scotland: Disclosure Scotland
Northern Ireland: Access NI
If your business is not eligible to apply directly for the records checks, you can apply through the relevant umbrella bodies for each country. You can find more information about the umbrella bodies here.
3. Overseas Check
If you have applicants who have been resident overseas for more than three months within the past five years, make sure you get a criminal record for the candidate from the relevant country. Gov.uk has detailed guidance on carrying out overseas checks for candidates.
4. Vetting Staff Qualification using Qualification Checker
The Government’s qualifications checker tool is another handy tool to verify the applicants have the right qualification to be included in the EYFS staff: child ratio. Remember to check for the date of the qualification as there are separate lists for pre and post-September 2014.
5. Verifying Overseas Qualification
If you have candidates holding an overseas qualification, it’s crucial to ensure they are comparable to UK qualifications. You can verify this by checking their qualifications on the UK NARIC website. Make sure you confirm their qualification meets the ‘ full and relevant criteria’ as set out in the EYFS and verify the ‘staff-child ratios’ they can be included in.