Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment Policy
Affinity Workforce Solutions considers the welfare and safeguarding of children of paramount importance. All children should be protected from abuse and those working with children should strive to ensure they grow up in a safe and effective environment. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding. School staff including supply teachers and support staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help to prevent issues from escalating.
Affinity Workforce Solutions encourages all of their temporary workers to adopt a child centred approach to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child. This approach means keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their educational development and working in partnership with them, the school, local authorities and their families.
All our temporary workers should follow the principles of the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 – which state that the welfare of children is paramount and that as professionals working with children you need to be aware that they may be vulnerable to neglect, abuse or exploitation from within their family and/or from individuals they come into contact with in their day-to-day lives.
These threats can take a variety of different forms, including:
- Sexual, physical and emotional abuse;
- Exploitation by criminal groups and organised crime;
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
- Online abuse;
- Sexual exploitation;
- Influences of extremism leading to radicalisation.
Whatever the form of abuse, the needs of the child must come first when determining what action to take.
What temporary workers should know and do
The Teaching Standards published in 2012 state that teachers, including supply teachers, should safeguard children’s wellbeing and maintain public trust in the teaching profession. The following points need to be considered whilst you are undertaking work with children:
- All schools have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.
- All schools have a responsibility to identify children who may need help or who are suffering from significant harm.
- All staff have a responsibility to take appropriate action and work with other services as needed. If you have a concern about a child it is imperative you report it to the Designated Safeguarding Lead without delay.
- You should be aware of the systems within a school which support safeguarding and these should be explained to you as part of your induction to each school. This includes the school’s Child Protection Policy, Behaviour Policy and the contact details for the Designated Safeguarding Lead. If these are not provided to you please ensure you ask to see them.
- If a child chooses to disclose to you that he/she has been or is the subject of some form of abuse, it is vitally important that you listen to the disclosure without asking leading questions. You should never act to interview or examine the child, simply listen to the account and report this to the Designated Safeguarding Lead immediately.
- You should explain to the child what the next steps are and that you are going to inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead. You should never promise to keep a disclosure confidential where an allegation of abuse has been made.
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead will make a decision based on what you have said and has a responsibility to feed back to you what action has been taken in respect of the concern you raised.
- Always ensure you adhere to the school’s policies as this put the needs of the child first but also aims to protect you by minimising the risk of being accused of improper conduct towards children.
Should you feel your concerns have not been acted on appropriately, please report your concerns to the Data Protection Officer at Affinity Workforce Solutions.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (England) Sept 2023
The Department for Education (DfE) has published an updated version of its statutory guidance on safeguarding titles ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ which came into force on 5th September 2018. The guidance places a requirement on all school staff, including supply teachers and support staff, to read at least Part One of the guidance. The section outlines what school and college staff should know and do in relation to safeguarding.
Keeping Learners Safe (Wales)
The equivalent guidance for schools and teachers in Wales is the publication named ‘Keeping Learners Safe’ created by the Welsh Government. The guidance outlines what school and college staff should know and do in relation to safeguarding children in Wales.
Affinity Workforce Solutions adheres to a strict policy on Safeguarding, encompassing the full recruitment process and continual monitoring of the staff we provide to schools, nurseries and other clients.
Affinity Workforce Solutions recruits staff according to the DfE guidance Keeping Children Safe In Education (Sept 2023). We are regularly audited by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and have been awarded “REC Education Audited” status.
We are also on the ‘Preferred Suppliers List’ for the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) supply teachers and temporary staff agreement which means we adhere to strict recruitment criteria laid down in their framework. This gives independent assurance of our high standards and commitment to best practice. We have an in-house Compliance Team to constantly monitor and assess the suitability of the temporary workers we provide to schools and other settings. Before they can be placed for temporary work, each candidate has their ﬁle independently checked by this specialist team.
As speciﬁed in the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulation 2003 (the Conduct Regulations), before introducing a candidate to a client, Affinity Workforce Solutions will have made checks to ensure that the candidate is suﬃciently qualiﬁed and will conﬁrm in writing with the client that the necessary checks have been completed and the result of any checks where applicable.
For all Temporary Staﬀ placed by Affinity Workforce Solutions, the following checks will be completed prior to the candidate being cleared to start work:
- Online Search
- Barred List check ( as part of either new DBS or Update Service Check)
- Childcare Disqualiﬁcation Declaration (where applicable)
- Identity check
- Address check
- Health Declaration
- Eligibility to work in the UK check
- CV / Work and Education history dating back at least ten years
- At least 2 satisfactory references including most recent Employer and most recent engaging child setting
- TRA check of Qualiﬁed Teacher Status, including prohibited list check (Teaching staff) For FE Qualiﬁed teachers: ETF conﬁrmation of QTLS status (where applicable)
- TRA prohibition check for all staff
- Education Workforce Council Check (Wales Only)
- Qualiﬁcation check, including NARIC equivalence documents (where applicable)
- Visa expiry and restrictions (where applicable)
- Enhanced DBS Disclosure applied for (or existing check veriﬁed via DBS Update Service)
- Face-to-face interview, including questioning over any gaps in employment record
- Disclosure of any spent convictions, cautions and reprimands, warnings or bind-overs which have occurred, including any that would be regarded as ‘spent’
- Overseas Police Check/Letter of Good Conduct (where candidate has spent 6 months or more outside of the UK in the last 5 years)
- Proof of name changes (where applicable)
- Evidence of completion of an Online Safeguarding & Prevent Course (through Affinity Workforce Solutions or another verified training provider)
Enhanced DBS Disclosures
Affinity Workforce Solutions is a DBS Registered Body. We also use the services of Security Watchdog Ltd, a specialist body who submits our applications directly to the DBS using E-Bulk (a secure service for online DBS applications). We never accept a DBS certiﬁcate at face-value, it must be a new application showing Affinity Workforce Solutions as the Employer or a certiﬁcate subscribed to the DBS Update Service which we can verify directly with the DBS. We also require every applicant to provide the same level of documentation to verify their identity regardless of whether a new DBS certiﬁcate is needed or not.
We will reject applications from candidates with a certiﬁcate subscribed to the Update Service if we cannot verify the certiﬁcate’s validity by cross-checking DBS acceptable documentation. We repeat DBS checks annually for all candidates, therefore strongly recommend subscribing to the Update Service to save delays caused by annual applications.
All candidates are required to carry their Enhanced DBS Disclosure certiﬁcate and produce this and photo ID as required by the client. Where a Disclosure is not clear, a careful assessment is made by Affinity Workforce Solutions’ Compliance Team and relevant Consultant over whether or not the details affect the candidate’s suitability for the post and whether or not to represent the candidate. Where the DBS Disclosure contains information, prior to the candidate being assigned to a client/school, a copy of the Disclosure will be supplied to the appropriate contact. This will be securely emailed and receipt will be conﬁrmed to ensure the client is happy to accept the candidate. In line with the DBS Data Handling Code of Conduct, we ask that the copy be deleted or disposed of securely once the contents have been viewed.
We always undertake a new Disclosure, or where appropriate, validate the candidate’s existing certiﬁcate if they are subscribed to the DBS Update Service (available on checks from June 2013). Where an applicant has subscribed to the DBS Update Service, there is no need for employers to insist that an applicant applies for a new Disclosure as we are able to validate the accuracy of the certiﬁcate directly with the DBS through their online service. For applicants who are subscribed to the DBS Update Service, all other pre-employment checks are carried out as normal. Affinity Workforce Solutions will then carry out an online status check of the applicant’s DBS certificate and proceed in line with our Disclosure and Barring Service Policy. This Policy Document is available upon request.
For further information regarding the Update Service, please refer to www.gov.uk/dbs
For all temporary placements, Booking Conﬁrmations conﬁrming all of the checks that have taken place for a candidate and their relevant details are sent centrally to the client on firstname.lastname@example.org prior to each booking commencing or as soon as practicable.
The Booking Conﬁrmations provide the candidate’s photo and relevant safeguarding information directly merged from our database. Some settings may have additional requirements and we are happy to provide any further information upon request. Upon arrival at the client’s premises, you will need to produce your photo ID and DBS Disclosure Certiﬁcate to aid identity checking.
Maintaining a Safer Culture
Affinity Workforce Solutions provides supply staff with access to a Level 1 Safeguarding Course through HB Compliance. This is an online course and we require this to be completed prior to placement (unless the candidate can provide evidence this has been completed through another verified training provider) as well as recommend it is completed annually.
Affinity Workforce Solutions consultants undertake in-house Safer Recruitment training. This has a strong emphasis on compliance with relevant safeguarding legislation and best practice. Annual refresher training sessions are also provided. Child Protection Policies, Behaviour Management Policies, Health and Safety and general expectation of school staff are discussed with candidates during the interview process. You are expected to ask for a copy of these policies when you carry out your first assignment at each new setting and abide by the Schools policies and procedures at all times.
Before any candidate can be entered into a temporary assignment booking on our database, all of the relevant pre-employment requirements must have been met. The ﬁle will then be double checked and authorised by Affinity Workforce Solutions’ Compliance and Quality Assurance Team. Every candidate working for Affinity Workforce Solutions has a full ﬁle audit carried out annually by our Compliance and Quality Assurance Team. At this point we check Client Feedback has been recorded for the candidate, that all Safeguarding checks are current and repeat these where appropriate (Barred List Check via Update service check, TRA/ETF checks of QTS/QTLS status, DBS status).
We also ensure that if a candidate does not work for Affinity Workforce Solutions for a period of 3 months, we check that they have continued to work with children during this time and therefore their DBS Certiﬁcate can remain valid. For anyone with a 3 month break in employment with children, a new DBS application must be made before they can be placed for further work (or a DBS status check completed for anyone subscribed to the Update Service).
Any safeguarding allegation or concern should, in the ﬁrst instance, be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer of the School as well as the Affinity Workforce Solutions Consultant assigned to the client/school. All information will be dealt with sensitively and appropriate action taken, including referrals to relevant bodies where necessary. Affinity Workforce Solutions will provide full cooperation to schools and/or Local Authority Designated Oﬃcers and/or Police as appropriate for any investigation concerning a candidate registered with us. Please refer to the Managing Concerns & Safeguarding Allegations Flowchart.
Affinity Workforce Solutions is committed to upholding high standards and is dedicated to Safeguarding. We pride ourselves on our thorough pre-employment checks, ongoing audits/re-checks, and seeking regular feedback from clients to ensure the staff we provide are of the highest possible standard. Feedback is discussed with the candidate to aid their professional development where appropriate. We would urge clients to share any concerns they may have with us so we can address the issues as necessary.
Additional safeguarding measures should be in place before undertaking online teaching placements, either in the event of school closure or through tuition programmes. These include:
- Ensuring the child has appropriate parent or guardian presence and consent for sessions
- Ensuring all parties have clear guidance of conduct expectations
- Maintaining appropriate contact throughout, through official routes and maintaining a level of professionalism in all settings
- Recording sessions on the appropriate platforms provided
- Complying with safeguarding spot checks carried out by AWS, with an expectation of 1 per term
- Complying with recording requirements, either through AWS systems or school. These recordings will be safely and securely stored, and are to be made available to AWS in the event of a safeguarding, or suspected safeguarding, incident. Where school owns recordings, AWS may drop into sessions at random to conduct monitoring sessions.
There may also be occasions where a pupil cannot attend school and online tuition is not available; in these instances, tuition will often take place in residential settings or community locations, such as a library. On these occasions, another regulated adult must be present and the setting should be visited prior to tuition beginning to ensure suitability.