All people working in or for the fostering service, and the central list of persons considered suitable to be members of a fostering panel, are interviewed as part of the selection process and have references checked to assess suitability before taking on responsibilities. Telephone enquiries are made to each referee to verify the written references*.
* These requirements are the responsibility of Ofsted with respect to checking suitability of those seeking to carry on or manage a fostering service.
The fostering service can demonstrate, including from written records, that it consistently follows good recruitment practice, and all applicable current statutory requirements and guidance, in foster carer selection and staff and panel member recruitment. This includes CRB checks**. All personnel responsible for recruitment and selection of staff are trained in, understand and operate these good practices
** Please note that the Government is currently reviewing the criminal records system and vetting and barring scheme and therefore references in both the Regulations and Standards may be subject to change.
The fostering service has a record of the recruitment and suitability checks which have been carried out for foster carers and those working (including as volunteers) for the fostering service which includes:
- identity checks;
- CRB Disclosures, including the level of the Disclosure, and the unique reference number (in line with eligibility to obtain such checks);
- checks to confirm qualifications which are a requirement and those that are considered by the fostering service to be relevant;
- at least two references, preferably one from a current employer, and where possible a statement from each referee as to their opinion of the person’s suitability to work with children;
- checks to confirm the right to work in the UK;
- where the person has lived outside of the UK, further checks, as are considered appropriate, where obtaining a CRB Disclosure is not sufficient to establish suitability to work with children.
The record must show the date on which each check was completed and who carried out the check. The CRB Disclosure information must be kept in secure conditions and be destroyed by secure means as soon as it is no longer needed in line with the CRB Code of Practice. Before the Disclosure is destroyed, records need to be kept as described above.
The registered person’s system for recruiting staff and others includes an effective system for reaching decisions as to who is to be appointed and the circumstances in which an application should be refused in the light of any criminal convictions or other concerns about suitability that are declared or discovered through the recruitment process.
There is a whistle-blowing policy which is made known to all staff, volunteers, foster carers and panel members. This makes it a clear duty for such people to report to an appropriate authority any circumstances within the fostering service which they consider likely to significantly harm the safety, rights or welfare of any child placed by the service.