Care Services Failing On Vetting And Recruitment

Care homes and other social care services are still failing to apply consistently safe vetting procedures and sound recruitment practices, says a new report from the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).“Safe and Sound?: Checking the suitability of new care staff in regulated social care services” is the latest in CSCI’s series of best practice bulletins. It looks in depth at the reasons why certain services are failing to meet the national minimum standards.

The analysis of the inspection reports of the 150 poorest performers indicated that these services do not consistently implement adequate employment checks and references for all staff or have robust recruitment policies and procedures in place.

Although overall there has been improvement in meeting the recruitment and vetting standard since 2002-03, the latest figures show that only 59% of care homes for older people were meeting the standard.

Dame Denise Platt, Chair of the Commission, said: “While there has been progress in the last couple of years, many care providers are still not meeting the minimum standard. Employers need to be more rigorous in their recruitment and vetting practices, so that people who use services can have confidence that their care is safe.”

David Behan, CSCI’s Chief Inspector, said: “The best providers are the ones who verify the safety, competence, integrity and skills of potential candidates before they are employed, then train and support staff after they have been recruited.”

The bulletin found that children’s services are failing to meet the minimum level of care because of inconsistencies in the vetting of staff and poor recruitment procedures.

Children’s homes (57%) and fostering services (64%) performed significantly better at meeting the recruitment and vetting national minimum standards than adoption agencies (35%). However, this means a significant percentage of services are not meeting the standard.

While nearly half of domiciliary care agencies (47%) are failing to meet the standard, performance is slightly better in older people’s care homes (41%) and younger adults’ care homes (39%), although two fifths of homes are still failing to meet the national minimum standard.

The bulletin argues that getting people who use services involved in recruitment can help employers attain a greater insight into what is needed. Providers need to be creative and innovative to ensure involving people who use services in the process is well supported and valued.

The bulletin provides recommendations and information on how to improve practice in the following areas:

  • Consistently verifying the suitability of staff by carrying out thorough employment checks and references
  • Evidence of robust, written recruitment policies and procedures
  • Thorough and evidenced application and interview process
  • Thorough checking of the candidate’s employment history

For more details on CSCI and Safe and Sound?: Checking the suitability of new care staff in regulated social care services, visit the Commission’s website at