INGOs want to do all they can to recruit safely to prevent sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. But what information do safer recruitment schemes really provide?
Recruiting the right people helps create a robust safeguarding culture and contributes to keeping staff and the people they support safe. But the rise of private sector screening services is leading charities to believe they are getting more information than some services can offer.
With so many options out there, it can be hard to navigate what will give your organisation the confidence to deliver the safest possible recruitment.
When using a safer recruitment service, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
- What information do I need from this service provider? Do they have access to it?
- Do I need more information from the service provider than they can offer?
- Are there any alternative options?
- Does what I receive provide me with sufficient information to make a decision?
With this in mind, here are three reputable and transparent safer recruitment services, plus a breakdown of what they offer and how they can support your organisation to recruit safely.
International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC)
The ICPC is a criminal record and police intelligence check for anyone who lives, or has lived, in the UK and wants to work with children overseas, and where the recruitment decision is made outside of the UK. It is produced by ACRO, the UK’s criminal records office, in partnership with the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The ICPC confirms whether an applicant has a criminal history and provides details, including conviction and non-conviction data, including current investigations. The ICPC is the only method that allows organisations to make informed employment decisions outside of the UK, based on policing data that specifically relates to working with children. As a result, it is widely used internationally to make informed decisions about a person’s suitability for employment or continued employment in positions that require working with children.
It’s important to understand that while there are several methods available to organisations for recruitment decisions made within the UK (such as the DBS) the ICPC is the only method that allows organisations to make employment decisions outside of the UK, based on policing data specifically for working with children.
Why the ICPC is suitable for INGOs
The certificate provides information concerning conviction and non-conviction data – including current investigations – this allows organisations to assess an applicant’s suitability for working with children overseas.
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The certificate also details information which is deemed relevant in the interest of child protection, , collated from a range of sources including local police systems / national databases compiled by the NCA
Requesting an ICPC
Organisations can ask all eligible employees and volunteers to provide a certified ICPC before commencing employment. Employees or volunteers need to apply online for this.
Organisations can also register with ACRO as an ICPC user, which will streamline the process for applying for ICPCs. To register, or to make any further enquiries email [email protected].
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
The purpose of the DBS is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions by barring individuals who pose a risk to people in positions of vulnerability from working in certain roles. There are equivalent services in Northern Ireland Scotland.
The DBS offers four levels of checks – Basic DBS checks, Standard DBS checks , Enhanced DBS checks and Enhanced with Children and/or Adult Barred list Check. Which one you use depends on a variety of factors.
The child and adult barred lists are what the DBS holds on people who are not allowed to work in certain ‘regulated activities’, such as teaching or providing care, with children or groups of adults who are classified as ‘vulnerable’.
Why is the DBS suitable for INGOs?
While the DBS doesn’t mandate which checks are required for certain positions or job roles, INGOs it is important to bear in mind legal repercussions for employing someone who is barred to work in a regulated activity. If you are recruiting for these kinds of roles, this makes the final level of DBS check particularly valuable.
A DBS certificate with no police information suggests that the individual does not have any convictions, history (subject to filtering) or any information that the police deem relevant. But this should not be seen as the DBS stating that someone is safe or suitable to employ.
The DBS covers Disclosure functions for England, Wales and the Islands and Barring Functions for England, Wales, the Islands and Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland Disclosure functions are managed by Access NI and in Scotland Disclosure and Barring function on managed by Disclosure Scotland.
The service provided through the DBS, and equivalent agencies such as Scotland Disclosure and Access NI, cover the whole of the UK. So, regardless of where the prospective employee lives and where the certificate was given, information will be disclosed.
Requesting a DBS check
Applications for standard and enhanced checks must be made via a registered umbrella body who will submit the check on the employer’s behalf.
For more information contact [email protected]
Misconduct Disclosure Scheme (MDS)
This is an inter-agency initiative to address the problem of known sexual abusers moving between organisations undetected. The scheme works by facilitating the sharing of misconduct data to be shared between former and potential employers and by improving referencing practices. But it holds no information on specific cases of abuse. It also addresses the taboo about securely and confidentially sharing information about known abusers, by building confidence that requesting data related to sexual misconduct is possible both practically and legally.
The scheme is designed to complement other vetting processes. One of its major selling points is that it picks up perpetrators who have had disciplinary processes completed against them, or who are subject to ongoing investigation, but who may not have committed crimes or been investigated by the police or other authorities.
Why is the MDS suitable for INGOs
The MDS is currently being implemented by over 160 INGOs. To date, more than 29,000 checks have been conducted, resulting in over 140 applications being rejected at the final stage of recruitment. The scheme is actively seeking additional signatories. The more organisations who commit to checking new staff, the safer their own staff and the people they support will be
MDS is free to sign up to, but there may be costs to consider for improving internal HR, record keeping, hiring systems and staffing. It is user friendly as it
The Scheme holds no information on specific cases of abuse. Rather, it facilitates the systematic, bilateral sharing of misconduct data between recruiting organisations and previous employers. It provides a registry of contact points and a structured format to make checks easier.
Registering for the MDS
The Scheme actively seeks additional signatories. The greater the number of organisations who commit to checking new staff, the safer their own staff and affected populations will be. There is no subscription fee or other cost to signing up. However, there may be costs to consider for improving internal HR, record keeping, hiring systems and staffing.
With so many options out there, it can be hard to navigate what gives your organisation the confidence to deliver the safest possible recruitment. It is important to comprehensively consider your safer recruitment service providers.