We need to be particularly careful when we’re recruiting people to work with children, young people and adults in vulnerable situations. We’ve created a set of guidelines and rules that apply not just to employees but to volunteers and contractors and anyone else who will work in these circumstances.

Our minimum safer recruitment standards are a set of guidelines for making sure that we carry out all the right vetting checks. The level of these checks depends on the role we’re recruiting for and the kinds of situations it involves.

If you have any questions about safer recruiting, contact the HR Safeguarding in Employment team through the Service Desk Portal, email us at hrservicedesk@buckinghamshire.gov.uk, or call us on 01296 382233

Note that any recruitment agencies or other external organisations working with children, young people and vulnerable adults need to follow our minimum safer recruitment standards.

Vetting checks

The checks we apply include:

  • DBS checks – a range of different checks looking for criminal convictions, cautions and other information held by police.
  • Teaching Regulation Agency checks – teachers need to undergo these checks to make sure they’re not prohibited from teaching.
  • Overseas checks – overseas certificates of good conduct are needed from anyone who has lived abroad in one country for more than six months in the last five years.
  • Qualifications – where qualifications are needed make sure you see the original certificates.
  • Identity – make sure you’ve seen documents to confirm they are who they say they are.
  • Right to work checks – make sure you have evidence of proof to work in the UK.
  • References – at least two references are needed, covering the last five years, including one from their existing employer.
  • Interview – you can use a Personal Safeguarding Interview or add specific safeguarding questions for roles for particularly sensitive roles, including those in residential settings and in Youth Services and Youth Offending Services, and social workers in Children’s Services.

Levels of DBS checks

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks are the single most important vetting checks we carry out in safer recruiting. Different roles require different levels of DBS checks, but for anyone working with children, young people and adults in vulnerable situations, you’ll need to carry out an enhanced DBS check.

Basic DBS check

This check shows ‘unspent’ convictions, but not older spent convictions, police cautions, etc, and may be needed for roles that have access to sensitive information.

Standard DBS check

This check shows unspent and spent convictions and police cautions, reprimands and warnings, and should be used for court officers, roles in a prison and the security industry.

Enhanced DBS check without Barred List Check

This check shows unspent and spent convictions, police cautions, reprimands and warnings, and other ‘soft’ approved information the police may choose to disclose.

This level of check should be used for people working with adults in settings such as residential accommodation, sheltered housing, healthcare and prison, carrying out activities such as:

  • Care, supervision, treatment or therapy
  • Teaching or guidance on emotional wellbeing
  • Face to face contact with residents in a care home
  • Statutory services that involve face to face contact
  • Transport

Senior or managerial roles with social service functions, such as registered social care managers, also need to have this check.

This check should also be used for people working with children on a supervised basis in settings such as schools, nurseries, hospitals, detention centres, care homes and childcare facilities, carrying out activities such as:

  • Care, supervision, treatment or therapy
  • Teaching, training and guidance on emotional or physical wellbeing
  • Moderating a chat room
  • Transport

Anyone who manages people carrying out these activities also needs this check.

Enhanced DBS check with Barred List Check

This is the most stringent type of check. It not only shows unspent and spent convictions, police cautions, reprimands and warnings, and other ‘soft’ information the police may hold, but also searches in other sources including the Police National Computer. This level of check also includes a Barred List Check to confirm that an individual is not barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.

This level of check should only be used for roles that counts as ‘regulated activity’ in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (amended in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012).

This includes people working with adults in vulnerable situations, carrying out activities such as:

  • Providing healthcare
  • Providing personal care such as washing and feeding
  • Providing social work or community care services
  • Providing assistance in household matters for someone who needs help because of age, illness or disability, such as paying bills or shopping
  • Providing assistance for someone’s affairs, such as under enduring power of attorney
  • Transport for people who need it because of age, illness or disability, although this excludes family and friends and taxi drivers

This also includes people working in regular, close and unsupervised contact with children in settings such as schools, care homes, youth clubs, carrying out activities such as:

  • Teaching, caring for or supervising
  • Providing guidance on wellbeing
  • Driving a vehicle
  • Online contact with children

For more details on who needs which checks, go to the Types of DBS checks page and the Enhanced with barred list articles on service now.

If a positive DBS check comes back

If something is flagged up in a DBS check (this is called a ‘positive’), you’ll receive an email from the Safeguarding in Employment team. This doesn’t automatically disqualify the person from the role, but it does mean you’ll need to find out more from the candidate before thinking carefully about the implications.

Once you know more, consider how serious the offence was and how long ago it occurred. Was it a one-off or part of a pattern? Did it happen when the person was a teenager? Was it trivial or serious, for example a violent offence?

It’s a good idea to contact the HR Safeguarding in Employment team via the HR helpdesk to discuss these issues.

You can find out more about different kinds of offences by going to the Conviction, reprimand, caution or warning information on a ‘Positive’ DBS Check page on the intranet.

Starting work before a DBS check is complete

Normally if a DBS check hasn’t been completed then the person shouldn’t start work. But if it’s important to get the person started in their new role as soon as possible, you’ll need to create a business case and risk assessment and have them signed off by your head of service, divisional manager or divisional director.