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Safe Recruitment

1. Introduction

1.1 All organisations which employ staff or volunteers to work with children have a duty to safeguard and promote their welfare. This includes ensuring that safe recruitment and selection procedures are adopted which prevent unsuitable persons from gaining access to children, and having robust whistle-blowing procedures in place.

1.2 The Local Safeguarding Children Board has a key function to establish effective policies and procedures for checking the suitability of people applying for work with children. However, it is the responsibility of each organisation to consult with their human resources adviser, develop and review their own procedure and ensure that their practice satisfies the requirements of employment law and this Safe Recruitment, Induction and Employment Procedure.

1.3 In order to minimise the risk of employing or engaging an individual who is unsuitable to work with children, all organisations must, with respect to candidates who will be working with children (either in a paid or unpaid capacity):

  • Apply selection methods which are accepted as helpful in identifying unsuitable individuals;
  • Analyse all available information about the candidate and, whenever possible, verify through references information which is provided by the candidate.

1.4 To ensure that those involved in selecting staff are able to successfully test the candidates’ ability and experience against a clearly defined person specification, each agency must offer them: •Specific training in respect of safe recruitment and selection;

  • Supervised/supported experience of recruitment;
  • Periodic evaluation of performance by their supervisors.

1.5 Any organisation commissioned to provide services to children must be required as part of the commissioning process to comply with the safe recruitment, induction and employment procedures set out in this chapter, and any service level agreement or contract must contain a safeguarding statement which clarifies the standards expected. This must include a requirement that the organisation must not sub-contract to any personnel who have not been part of a safe recruitment process.

1.6 Where private or voluntary organisations come into contact with or offer services to children otherwise than under contract with a statutory or public body, in recognition of their commitment to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, they should as a matter of good practice take account of this procedure and follow it as far as possible.

2. Choice of Candidate

2.1 Quality of Job Advertisement, Job Description and Person Specification

2.1.1 Organisations must develop detailed internal procedures which clarify the allocation of ‘human resource’ tasks outlined below.

2.1.2 Once a post becomes vacant or a new post is created, the job description and person specification need to be agreed and/or reviewed to ensure compliance with the safe recruitment guidance set out in this procedure. This will apply whatever the level of responsibility or duration of the appointment.

2.1.3 Job advertisements, application forms, job descriptions, person specifications and all documents relating to recruitment and selection must promote the safeguarding agenda and contain a statement reflecting the organisations duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

2.1.4 Job advertisements must include a statement confirming the commitment of the organisation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The advertisement needs to be clear and concise and should include the following:

  • Post title;
  • Salary;
  • Type of contract – permanent, fixed term, temporary etc;
  • Post location;
  • Hours of work;
  • Brief description of agency or organisation;
  • Brief description of the post;
  • Closing date for the application;
  • Interview date;
  • How and to whom to apply;
  • Equal opportunities process;
  • Contact number for further information;
  • Reference to the need for a Disclosure and Barring Service check where applicable.

2.1.5 The level of information to be sent to the applicants will depend on the level of the post. All information given should highlight the importance placed by the organisation on the rigorous selection processes and the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. The information will stress that the identity of the candidate, if successful, will need to be checked thoroughly and where a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is appropriate, the person will be required to apply for a DBS check straight away.

2.1.6 Job descriptions must:

  • Refer to the applicants responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Be an accurate reflection of the job a person is expected to do;
  • Not be a list of every task undertaken;
  • Clearly set out the extent of the relationship with, and the degree of responsibility for children with whom the post-holder will have contact.

2.1.7 Person specifications must include:

  • Reference to the applicants responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • The qualifications and experience needed for the role;
  • The competencies and qualities that the applicant must be able to demonstrate;
  • How these will be tested and assessed during the selection process.


2.1.8 Both job descriptions and person specifications must be completed at the same time and before the job is advertised. Under no circumstances should the person specification be completed or revised after the selection panel has had access to the applications received.

2.1.9 All organisations must develop a standard application form which is used for all staff vacancies. The application should ask for:

  • Full personal information, including any former names by which the person was known in the past;
  • A full employment history, both paid and voluntary since leaving school in chronological order, plus reasons for leaving each job;
  • Details of any academic and/or vocational qualifications;
  • A signed declaration that the person has no convictions, cautions or bind-over’s or is not disqualified from working with children;
  • Details of referees, both professional and character, one of which must be from the applicants current or most recent employer.

2.1.10 All stated requirements must be expressed in terms sufficiently explicit to allow a candidates experience, achievements or capabilities to be evidenced.

2.1.11 Incomplete applications must not be accepted and must be returned to the candidate for completion.

2.1.12 Word of mouth appointments and CV’s must not be accepted under any circumstances.

2.1.13 Each organisation should provide candidates with an opportunity to declare relevant information by completing a self disclosure form. Candidates will be asked to bring the form to interview in a sealed envelope. The form will only be read when the candidate is successful and the position is offered. Issues of confidentiality must be sensitively managed throughout this process.

2.2 References

2.2.1 Two written references must be sought directly from a current or most recent employer and one other referee in the manner outlined below. Open “To whom it may concern” references must never be accepted.

2.2.2 As well as seeking references from the person’s current or most recent employer, additional references may be sought where appropriate, for example, where the applicant is not currently working with children but has done so in the past. A reference from that employer should be requested in addition to the current or most recent employer if this is different. Careful consideration needs to be given where the applicant has been working as a locum or on a series of temporary contracts. The need to request an additional reference from the last permanent employer should be considered.

2.2.3 A previous employer who is asked for a reference should be provided with a pro forma to complete and advised, in the request sent, to take all reasonable care to ensure that her/his statement:

  • Is reliable and comprehensive – e.g. accurate dates of employment, DBS checks, any periods of sick leave;
  • Is based upon an accurate assessment of an individuals qualities and competencies;
  • Outlines any disciplinary action, known convictions and other grounds for disquiet or concern, including allegations against him/her or concerns raised relating either to the safety and welfare of children or about the applicants behaviour towards children;
  • Focuses on the key criteria for effective performance in the specified post and includes the referees perception of the individuals suitability to work with children;
  • Offers a full and frank disclosure of all matters considered relevant by the author – e.g. candidates reason for planning to or actually leaving her/his post, the existence of any previous or current concerns or disciplinary action in relation to allegations of a child protection nature or in relation to an Adult at Risk (including allegations which were not substantiated).

2.2.4 An employer reference must also be obtained in respect of internal candidates for posts involving direct contact with children.

2.2.5 So that information of comparable weight is obtained for all candidates, references on all short-listed candidates should wherever possible be obtained prior to final selection so that any issues of concern raised by the reference can be explored further with the referee and taken up with the candidate.

2.2.6 Written references must be checked carefully with the application form to identify any possible discrepancies and, where further information is required, must be followed up verbally.

2.2.7 If the applicant claims to have specific qualifications or experience relevant to working with children which may not be verified by a reference/certificates, the facts must be verified by making contact with the relevant body or previous employer and any discrepancy explored during interview.

2.2.8 All agencies committed to these procedures must have explicit arrangements for provision within reasonable timescales, of properly structured references which must ordinarily be issued in the name of the head of service (though they may be drafted by a more junior member of staff who has the necessary knowledge and experience).

2.3 References with Respect to Agency Staff

2.3.1 Given the proportion of staff currently engaged via specialist employment agencies, it is important that there are systems in place to ensure that only agencies which can offer safe selection processes are used by those organisations committed to these procedures.

2.3.2 References from any previous substantive employers must be sought as described above and requests to employment agencies must seek confirmation:

  • That the individual was registered with the agency in the period/s claimed;
  • Of all assignments including dates, roles and name and address of all work places;
  • Of the quantity and pattern of any absences from their assignments;
  • Of any cause for concern within the agency including any request by a client for the person to be withdrawn from an assignment which upon investigation was found to be justified.

2.3.3 The employment agency must also be asked to confirm:

  • That it carries out appraisals of its workers and be invited to describe the most recent relevant to the role which is to be filled;
  • The date of the last DBS check they sought on the individual in question, and the result of their enquiries. The applicant should be asked to provide a copy of the DBS check;
  • The individual’s relevant professional status and qualifications;
  • From which previous employers references were obtained and whether or not these expressed any reservations about the individual in question;
  • If its overall recruitment and selection procedure complies with the recommendations made in the Warner report ‘Choosing with Care: The report of the Committee of Enquiry into Selection, Development and Management of Staff in Children’s Homes.

2.4 Selection Methods

2.4.1 The Selection Panel Selection panels must contain a minimum of two interviewers. It is essential that the same selection panel should both short-list and interview candidates. Panel members should not stand to gain from the appointment or have a personal relationship with any of the applicants.

2.4.2 Interview panels should be balanced wherever possible by gender and race and may benefit from the inclusion of independent person/s as well as immediate line managers, senior staff and children/young people themselves. At least one member of the interview panel must have experience and an understanding of working with children and one (who can be the same person) must have had specific training in safe recruitment and selection methods.

2.4.3 Short-Listing

In drawing up a short-list there should be a systematic and consistent approach. All applicants should be assessed equally against the criteria contained in the person specification without exception or variation. Information provided in application forms must be cross checked with other sources of information. The criteria for personal qualities and skills must be used as well as those in relation to qualifications and experience. If greater emphasis is placed on one or more important skill and competency for the job, this must be clear from the outset.

2.4.4 Interviews

Candidates must be asked to bring documentary evidence of their identity – a full birth certificate, passport, photo driving licence or some form of photograph identification, together with an additional document such as a utility bill that verifies the candidates name and address. Where appropriate, change of name documentation should also be brought to the interview.

2.4.5 Candidates should also be asked to bring original or certified copies of documents confirming any necessary or relevant educational and professional qualifications. If the successful candidate cannot produce original documents or certified copies, written confirmation of his/her relevant qualifications must be obtained from the awarding body.

2.4.6 Interviews must be face to face even where there is only one candidate. All questions must be prepared in advance and the interview must be conducted in accordance with employment legislation.

2.4.7 The candidates’ attitude towards children and commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children should be tested. The following areas should be explored with the candidates in the interview:

  • Their motivation and reasons for working with children;
  • Their attitudes and behaviour about control and punishment;
  • Their personal belief systems and perceptions about the boundaries of acceptable behaviour towards children;
  • Their ability to form and maintain professional relationships;
  • Their understanding of safeguarding children and their responsibility to do so.

2.4.8 Any gaps in the candidates employment history must be fully explored during the interview as should any discrepancies arising from the information supplied by the candidate or the referee.

2.4.9 In appropriate cases, for example interviews for residential social care settings, there may be pre-interviews (see the Warner report ‘Choosing with Care: The report of the Committee of Enquiry into Selection, Development and Management of Staff in Children’s Homes’).

2.4.10 Interviews may usefully be underpinned by practical exercises, which simulate the working environment e.g. anonymised real-life situation.

2.4.11 Such practical exercises may include:

  • ‘A situation exercise’ which tests declared responses to events relevant to the post in question;
  • ‘Submission of a prepared written exercise’ to allow a panel to prepare and deliver questions at an interview;
  • A ‘presentation exercise’ to test an individuals ability to research, prepare and present a topic relevant to the post in question;
  • ‘Psychometric tests’ – e.g. personality and/or skills based;
  • A group exercise which simulates a relevant forum and allows observation of interaction.

2.4.12 Notes of questions asked and answers given at the interview must be made and retained, by the Chair of the Interview Panel.

2.4.13 After the interview, Panel members should separately score the candidates. They should then share their scores and discuss their reasons for reaching the scores. This discussion should result in a joint agreed score for each candidate.

2.4.14 A decision as to whether to appoint an individual to a role working with children must be based upon an evaluation of the information obtained from all of the above stages. Appointments must be made on the basis of a persons experiences, ability and suitability to perform the role rather than on the urgency of the need or the availability of the applicant.

2.4.15 Offer of Appointment to Successful Candidate

An offer of appointment must be conditional upon pre-employment checks being satisfactorily completed, including:

  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check appropriate to the role (unless the applicant subscribes to the Disclosure and Barring Service Update Service) and your organisational policy allows such checks to be accepted;
  • An enhanced check will include a check of the Barred Lists of the Disclosure and Barring Service – see Section 3, Disclosure and Barring Service;
  • Verification of the candidates medical fitness;
  • Verification of any relevant professional status and whether any restrictions have been imposed by a regulatory body such as the National College for Teaching and Leadership or the General Medical Council;
  • Evidence of permissions to work for those who are not nationals of a European Economic Area country;
  • Receipt of two satisfactory written references;
  • Completion of a satisfactory probation period.

2.4.16 It is recommended that staff should not commence work with children until the DBS check has been returned. In specific circumstances senior managers may undertake a full written risk assessment to enable staff to work until such checks have been returned, which will include appropriate levels of supervision and monitoring being maintained at all times and avoiding the person working alone with individual children. The risk assessment should be subject to regular review whereby the decision is that an individual can commence employment. The individual must be advised that the offer of employment is subject to a satisfactory DBS check.

3. Disclosure and Barring Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) aims to ensure that unsuitable people do not work with children, whether in paid employment or on a voluntary basis. The scheme comprises:

  • Two barred lists maintained by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). One list comprises persons barred from working with children and the other is for persons barred with working with Adults at Risk;
  • A person who is barred from working with children or Adults at Risk will be breaking the law if they work or volunteer, or try to work or volunteer with those groups;
  • An organisation which knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups will also be breaking the law.

If your organisation works with children or Adults at Risk and you dismiss a member of staff or a volunteer because they have harmed a child or Adult at Risk, or you would have done so if they had not left, you must tell the Disclosure and Barring Service – the referral form is available on the DBS’ website.

4. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service is an executive agency of the Home Office. The DBS’s Disclosure Service aims to help employers make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain types of work. These can be standard or enhanced disclosure depending on the duties of a particular position or job. For more information see the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Our decision is a useful and was written by Children England, with the help and assistance of Safe Network and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and in partnership with the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).

Our Decision is a helpful guide to determining Regulated Activity.

4.1 Standard Check

4.1.1 A standard check is available for posts involving regular contact with children (and Adults at Risk), certain professions in health, pharmacy and the law.

4.1.2 Standard check indicate if there is nothing on record or show details drawn from the police national computer of:

  • Spent and unspent convictions;
  • Cautions;
  • Formal reprimands; and
  • Final warnings.

4.2 Enhanced Check

4.2.1 The enhanced check, in addition to the information provided by a standard check, also includes a check of police records held locally. It may contain details of acquittals or other non-conviction information from local police records, which a chief police officer thinks may be relevant to the position sought. The police may also provide additional information to employers in a separate letter.

4.2.2 The enhanced check is available for positions involving working in Regulated Activity with children or adults, applicants for gaming and lottery licences, and judicial appointments. See Section 5, Regulated Activity Relating to Children

4.3 Enhanced with a Barred List Check

4.3.1 An enhanced check with barring lists is only available for those individuals who are in Regulated Activity and a small number of positions listed in Police Act regulations, for example, prospective adoptive parents.

It contains the same PNC information and check of police records held locally as an enhanced check but in addition will check against the children’s and/or adults barring lists.

4.4 Persons Prohibited from Working/Seeking Work with Children

4.4.1 If a disclosure reveals that an applicant is prohibited from seeking or working with children, it is an offence for a person to apply for or accept any work in any of the regulated positions and the Police must be informed without delay of the individuals attempt to seek employment. It is also an offence for an organisation knowingly to offer work in a regulated position to an individual who is disqualified from working with children or fail to remove such a person from work.

4.5 Evaluation and Management of Disclosure Information

4.5.1 Each agency must have an agreed process to deal with Disclosure information obtained via a DBS check which does not automatically disqualify an individual from working with children (see Section 4.4).

4.5.2 The Counter-Signatory, in consultation with others where appropriate, should undertake an initial evaluation of the information received via the DBS against agreed criteria of suitability and unsuitability. The initial evaluation will consider the relevance of the information to the role applied for. An initial evaluation has 4 possible outcomes, i.e. that:

  • The individual is suitable for the role;
  • The individual is not suitable for the role;
  • Further information is required to determine whether the individual is suitable for the role;
  • The individual is not appointable and further action is required by the agency to safeguard children.

4.5.3 When further information is required, the agency will identify a suitable individual to discuss the Disclosure Information with the applicant within 14 days.

4.5.4 The discussion must be conducted by somebody within the agency who has an understanding of child protection issues. The method of interview will be decided on a case by case basis or in accordance with agency policy. Best practice dictates that a face to face interview is most effective.

4.5.5 A written record of this discussion must be made and a copy sent to the applicant who will be asked to verify its accuracy or completeness in writing within a specified time scale.

4.5.6 The individual responsible for gathering further information will seek the applicants written consent to contact relevant organisations and/or individuals to assist with decision-making e.g. Children’s Social Work Services, Police, Probation. For existing staff undergoing a DBS check, any existing records held in respect of the individual will be explored.

4.5.7 A panel formed of at least 3 individuals will consider the information available and make a recommendation as to whether the individual is suitable for the role. The panel need to meet face to face to consider all the relevant information. Cases will be discussed with the panel on an anonymous basis.

4.5.8 The panel must include at least one individual with expertise in criminal matters and one individual with expertise in safeguarding children.

4.5.9 The panel will be provided with detailed information about the role applied for and other information from the recruitment process e.g. references, application forms with reasons for wanting to work with children.

4.5.10 The panel will make a written recommendation, with reasons for it, as to whether the individual is suitable for the role. This should be sent to the appointing body within the agency and also the applicant.

4.5.11 The appointing body need to write a response to the panel’s recommendation.

4.5.12 In assessing DBS Disclosure Information, the following should be considered. (The list is not intended to be comprehensive and agencies may take other matters into consideration).

1.Concerning the post:

  • Does the person involve one to one contact with children or other vulnerable persons?
  • What level of supervision will be available?
  • Does the post involve any direct responsibility for finance or items of value?
  • Will the nature of the post present any opportunities for the post holder to re-offend?

2. Concerning the record:

  • How serious is the offence?
  • How relevant is the offence to others’ safety?
  • What is known about the circumstances of the offence?
  • What length of time has passed since the offence was committed (some activities are offences in Scotland and not England or Wales, and vice versa)?
  • Has the offence been decriminalised by Parliament.

3. Concerning the person:

  • Was the offence a one-off, or part of an on-going history of offending?
  • Have the applicants circumstances changed, making re-offending less likely?
  • What has been expressed by the applicant about the offence, are they remorseful, do they blame others for what happened, etc?



4.5.13 Other issues of concern which may deem a person unsuitable could arise during the recruitment process e.g. information provided by referees raising doubts about the suitability of the candidate for the intended work.


5. Regulated Activity Relating to Children

5.1 Definition

The definition of Regulated Activity relating to children comprises:

  1. Unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;
  2. Work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact: for example, schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. Not work by supervised volunteers. Work under (i) or (ii) is Regulated Activity only if done regularly;
  3. Relevant personal care, for example washing or dressing; or health care by or supervised by a professional;
  4. Registered child-minding; and foster-carers.

5.2 Supervision Of Activity With Children Which Is Regulated Activity When Unsupervised

Statutory guidance: Regulated Activity (Children) – Supervision Of Activity With Children Which Is Regulated Activity When Unsupervised applies when an organisation decides to supervise with the aim that the supervised work will not be Regulated Activity (when it would be, if not so supervised). In such a case:

  • There must be supervision by a person who is in Regulated Activity;
  • The supervision must be regular and day to day; and
  • The supervision must be ‘reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure the protection of children.’

6. Overseas Applicants

Checking via the DBS

The DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas, but it is possible to submit an application while the applicant is overseas.

In a small number of cases, overseas criminal records are held on the Police National Computer and these would be revealed as part of a criminal record check. You must still verify the identity of an overseas applicant.

As the DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas, a criminal record check may not provide a complete picture of an individual’s criminal record.

For more information please see the Home Office Guidance Criminal Records Checks for Overseas Applicants.

Checking via Embassies

If you are recruiting people from overseas and wish to check their overseas criminal record, you should contact the embassy or High Commission of the country in question.

You can find contact details for embassies and High Commissions in the UK on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

You can also contact the FCO Response Centre Helpline on 020 7008 1500.

If the foreign check needs translating, the embassy of the country concerned may be able to help.

The DBS is not involved in the processing of applications made by individuals to overseas authorities and will not be responsible for the contents or the length of time taken for information to be returned.

Certificates of Good Conduct

You should try to obtain a certificate of good conduct and any other references from potential overseas employees. The standard of foreign police checks varies. To find out the standard, you should contact either the authorities in a particular country, or their embassy.

Either you or the employee should obtain a certified translation of the certificate of good conduct. The DBS does not offer a translation service.

Checking an Applicant’s Right to Work in the UK

The DBS does not check whether an applicant is permitted to work in the UK. The employer is responsible for ensuring employees have the right to work within the UK.

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) provides protective security advice. This is for companies and organisations that deliver the UK’s essential services.

You can find information about overseas criminal records checks on the CPNI website.

7. Recording

7.1 All documentation relating to the recruitment of staff must be retained on file, including notes made of candidates’ responses to questions at interview. Any check completed must be confirmed in writing and retained on the candidates personnel file, together with photocopies of relevant qualifications.

7.2 A record must be kept of evidence to show that such checks have been carried out in respect of supply staff and volunteers whether recruited directly or through an agency.

7.3 Satisfactory references must be kept on the candidates personnel file or, in the case of supply staff or volunteers not recruited through an agency, on a central record within the organisation.

7.4 Where the candidate has provided false information in support of the application, this must be followed by Human Resources including considering a referral to the Police.

8. Induction and Probation

8.1 For all new staff working with children, including locum and agency staff, their induction must cover safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare. This must include an introduction to the organisations child protection policy and procedures. They must also be made aware of the identity and specific responsibilities of those staff with designated safeguarding responsibilities.

8.2 New staff members must be provided with information about safe practice and a full explanation of their role and responsibilities and the standard of conduct and behaviour expected. They must also be provided with information about the organisations disciplinary procedures and the relevant whistle blowing policy.

8.3 The induction programme must also include attendance at child protection training at a level appropriate to the member of staffs work with children.

8.4 Regular supervision and review meetings between the appointee and his/her line manager must be convened by the manager throughout the probationary period to address areas where further support, guidance and training may be required and to provide information to support the decision as to whether to confirm an individual in post permanently.

9. Supervision

9.1 Ensuring children and young people are protected from harm requires sound professional judgements to be made. Often this work can be complex and distressing. Working Together states that ’employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role’.

9.2 All of those involved should have access to advice and support from, for example, peers, managers, named and designated professionals.

9.3 High quality supervision is one of the most important drivers in ensuring positive outcomes for children and young people. It also has a crucial role to play in the development, retention and motivation of the workforce (CWDC 2007).

9.4 Good quality supervision can help to:

  • Avoid drift;
    • Keep a focus on the child;
    • Maintain a degree of objectivity and challenge fixed views;
    • Test and assess the evidence base for assessment and decisions; and
    • Address the emotional impact of work.

9.5 To promote positive outcomes for children and young people, Solihull LSCP has agreed a set of Supervision Standards to provide a checklist for all agencies to ensure high quality supervision arrangements are in place. These standards should be incorporated within supervision policies for professionals and volunteers who work with children and their families where there are safeguarding/child protection concerns on an ongoing basis, such as being a member of a core group.

9.6 There is an expectation that all relevant organisations will have a supervision policy which outlines the model used and requirements and responsibilities of the organisation, and that of the supervisor and the supervisee.

9.7 It is recognised that where there are newly qualified practitioner/professionals these standards may not be fully applicable and this should be taken into account.

Standard 1

Practitioners and their supervisors are provided with formal and regular (as a minimum, on a quarterly basis) supervision which relates to their needs and those of the children and young people / families with whom they are working

The organisation will have a supervision policy in place which outlines the minimum standards for supervision.

Standard 2

All supervisory relationships are subject to a written agreement to be drawn up within the first six weeks of the start of the supervisory relationship

The agreement should address:

  • Respective roles and responsibilities;
  • The frequency of supervision;
  • How agendas are to be drawn up;
  • How the supervision sessions are to be recorded;
  • How confidentiality is to be maintained – and what the limits are to this;
  • How performance and development review requirements are to be met;
  • How differences in the working relationship are to be managed;
  • How the principles of diversity (within the supervisor/supervisee relationship and in service delivery) are to be handled;
  • How and when the agreement is to be reviewed.

Standard 3

Supervision is a planned and purposeful activity

The organisation must have a policy in place which clearly outlines the supervisor and supervisee’s responsibility around preparation for the agenda before a supervision session.

Standard 4

All supervision sessions should be recorded promptly, competently and records stored appropriately and securely

Each organisation should have a policy that clearly identifies the documentation to be completed and the record keeping policies in respect of supervision records.

Standard 5

Supervisors and supervisees are trained and sufficiently skilled to carry out their role

  • Organisations must offer training opportunities to both supervisor and supervisee to enable them to undertake their safeguarding responsibilities in supervision;
  • The organisation must support individuals to undertake the necessary training.

Standard 6

The supervisor should ensure through supervision that the supervisee is able to carry out their role competently, with the child / young person being central to all decision making/activity carried out

Supervision meets this function by ensuring that:

  • Practice is child focused;
  • Agency policies and procedures are understood and adhered to;
  • The supervisees workload is reviewed;
  • Statutory responsibilities are met;
  • Practitioner is competent to practice;
  • There is evidence of a purpose relating to the plan or work;
  • Professional judgement is used appropriately;
  • The worker is supported/challenged to reflect on their practice and sufficient time is given to do this;
  • Learning from Serious case Reviews.

Standard 7

Supervision will ensure that record keeping requirements of the organisation are adhered to

The supervisor will ensure record keeping in relation to the work of the supervisee meets the standard of the organisation and professional body, where appropriate.

Standard 8

The supervisor must ensure that the support function for the member of staff is met through supervision

  • The safeguarding supervision policy will outline the responsibilities of the supervisor to ensure the support needs of the supervisee are met:
    • Enable staff to cope with the stresses that the work entails;
    • Offer advice on help available to cope with stress and personal issues;
    • Create a safe climate for workers to examine their practice;
    • Help workers explore the effect of the work on them, both personally and professionally;
    • Help workers explore emotional blocks to the work;
    • Monitor the overall functioning of workers, especially with regard to the effects of stress, team dynamics and relationships.

Standard 9

Supervision promotes a commitment to diversity in all aspects of work (i.e. that all children and young people are entitled to the same quality of service irrespective of ethnicity, religion, language, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation)

Supervision addresses this function by ensuring that:

  • All assessments, plans and interventions address the diverse needs of children and young people;
  • The potential vulnerabilities of specific children, young people and their families are identified and countered;
  • Discrimination that a child/young person or their family may experience is acknowledged and, in so far as is possible, countered by service provision;
  • There is effective communication with all children and young people and their families (this to include, e.g. for whom English is a second language or who are disabled);
  • All children and young people receive a child focused service to meet their needs.

Standard 10

Managers assure the quality of supervision

Supervision policy will outline how the quality of supervision is to be audited within the organisation.

Standard 11

Joint supervision, which is also subject to the standards set out in this document, is provided in addition to individual supervision when more than one practitioner is involved in direct work with children, young people and families

Agreements for this supervision arrangement should be based on requirements arising from the work involved.


  • Working Together 2018 – Department for Education;
    • Supervision, Policy, Standards and Criteria – Department of Health and Social Care, Social Services and Public Safety, February 2008;
    • Providing Effective Supervision – Children’s Workforce Development Council, 2007;
    • Staff Supervision in Social Care – Tony Morrison (2005);

NSPCC Principles and Standards for Case Management and Supervision