Staff recruitment and training

It is essential all employees are carefully selected and recruited in order to ensure a high quality of service is offered to vulnerable adults and the following addressed:

  • Convictions The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA Exceptions) Order 1975 as amended by ROA 1974 (exceptions) (Amendment) Order 1986 allows convictions that are ordinarily spent (under the ROA 1974) to be disclosed for the purpose of working with vulnerable people and to be taken into account in deciding whether to recruit an applicant. All applications should therefore be asked to list all convictions and cautions.

A past conviction should not preclude employment but considerations must be given as to whether past behaviour of the individual may put the vulnerable adult at risk:

  • References- All employers should take up references from a minimum of two referees, with one being from the last employer. This should be undertaken before offers of appointment. Prospective employers should make all efforts to ensure references can be checked and are in writing.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) / Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosures- All staff in registered homes and domiciliary agencies must have a CRB disclosure which also states whether a person's name is on DBS list. Any work with vulnerable adults in paid or voluntary capacity requires an enhanced disclosure.  
  • Volunteers- Where volunteers have significant and regular contact with vulnerable people the employing organisation should ensure the same checks are undertaken as with a paid employee. Employers should ensure that volunteers are fully aware of agency policies including those relating to adult protection Direct Payments Employees of people using.
  • Direct Payments- Employees of people using Direct Payments to meet their assessed care needs are not currently required to have DBS checks, or be registered as social care workers. It is recommended that employers using personal assistants require a CRB (enhanced) check via one of the registered umbrella organisations doing this work. All other aspects of good practice as employers apply to such situations.

Empowering individuals with the knowledge and understanding they need, to be aware of what is, and is not, appropriate behaviour towards vulnerable adults is a key aspect of abuse prevention. In order to ensure employees are fully aware of the need to protect vulnerable adults appropriate training needs to be provided. Employees operating in different roles will need different levels of training and skills, and it is the responsibility of employers to co-ordinate appropriate training.

All staff (including statutory and independent sector including GPs, nurses etc) must receive training on the following to ensure they can respond appropriately:

  • Types of abuse.
  • Recognising signs of abuse.
  • Duty to report.
  • Their role in responding to suspected abuse.
  • Risk assessment and management.

In addition to the above those with responsibility for managing or supervising services and/or employees must receive training on:

  • Risk assessment.
  • Internal disciplinary procedures.
  • Supporting staff through an investigation.
  • Ensuring the vulnerable person is safe.
  • Working as part of a multi disciplinary approach.

Staff who undertake investigations must receive additional training on:

  • In depth awareness of the policy and procedures.
  • Interviewing skills.
  • Knowledge of legal procedures / requirements.
  • How and when to liaise with partners.  

Staff and volunteers should also receive training in areas including equality and diversity.

Involvement in adult safeguarding work may be stressful for staff who need to empathise with victims and carers, confront abuse issues, resolve conflict and establish support and protection. It is important that the impact on staff is recognised and that they have appropriate opportunities for support through management or clinical supervision. If necessary, it should be possible to offer access to confidential independent counselling. Where a risk to the personal safety of staff is likely, managers must ensure that appropriate arrangements are made and recorded in line with their organisation's policy.

Staff who report allegations or suspicions of abuse should receive acknowledgement and support, especially where the abuse involves colleagues, and within the bounds of confidentiality, should be offered feedback on how their concern has been dealt with.

Staff or volunteers who are required to attend court as witnesses should also be offered support or representation in accordance with their agency's procedures.     

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