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Discover how applying a safeguarding mindset during recruitment planning helps ensure you identify and gather all the information you need for safer employment.

Taking time to apply a safeguarding mindset when you plan your recruitment process is important. It helps you to:

  • understand what the responsibilities and safeguarding risks are in the roles being recruited to
  • identify the skills, values, behaviours and attitudes you need someone to have so they can do the role safely and effectively
  • gather relevant information on the application form, in the interview process, in references and from vetting checks.


Ways to apply a safeguarding mindset

  1. Ensure everyone involved in the recruitment process is aware of their safeguarding responsibilities, has a safeguarding mindset and knows how to apply that mindset when making safe, fair, and inclusive recruitment decisions.
  2. Carry out a risk assessment of the role to identify risk factors, the conduct required of people in the post and the appropriate level of vetting for the post.
  3. Tailor your reference request to ask for specific conduct information relevant to the post you're recruiting for, taking account of the safeguarding risks and responsibilities of the role.  
  4. Review job descriptions and person specifications to ensure they are clear on the safeguarding responsibilities and expectations of behaviour and conduct in the role.
  5. Clearly articulate and share your vision, values and culture, giving potential recruits an opportunity to self-select whether their values and behaviours align with your expectations.
  6. Ensure adverts, information packs and make clear to candidates the vetting checks and referencing information that is required as part of the recruitment process.
  7. Ensure any recruitment agencies you work with share your safeguarding mindset and have robust processes in place for vetting, particularly in relation to references and sharing conduct information. 
  8. Regularly review and update relevant safer recruitment and vetting policies and procedures to ensure they are working effectively and are compliant with the latest legislation and regulation.
  9. Include your code of conduct in the employee contract. This will make it much easier to raise concerns with staff where behaviour falls below what is expected.



Here are some resources to help you apply a safeguarding mindset when planning your recruitment.


Word - 116KB
Pages 2-7 of this checklist will support you when planning to recruit. 


PDF - 19.6MB
This guide supports you to implement safe and fair recruitment policies. It helps you to understand your legal and safeguarding rights and responsibilities when carrying out criminal record checks and other required pre-employment checks.

At the end of the guide you’ll find links to appendices, including an example safe and fair recruitment policy.


Code of conduct

The code of conduct sets the standard expected of all adult social care workers and healthcare support workers in England. It outlines the behaviours and attitudes that people who need care and support should rightly expect.


Values-based recruitment toolkit

This toolkit maps out a step-by-step approach to develop and implement effective values-based recruitment and retention within your workplace.


  • On page 6 of the toolkit you'll find example statements setting out safeguarding expectations.
  • On pages 11-23 of the toolkit you'll find checklists and editable templates to help you gather references and conduct information.
  • On pages 24-26 of the toolkit, you’ll find advice for employers wanting to work with an outsourced supplier, such as an umbrella company or recruitment agency.