Care Staff Not Given Crime Checks

One in five care services in Scotland are failing to make adequate checks on staff, according to the care regulator. A Care Commission review found some staff were being employed without crime checks and with unverified qualifications and references.

The regulator said 19% of care homes for both children and adults – the most vulnerable area – had unsafe procedures in place for recruiting staff.

The national survey assessed about 4,500 care providers from 2006 to 2007.

The Safer Recruitment for Safer Services report said 22% of services sampled needed to improve their recruitment procedures.

Marcia Ramsay, of the Care Commission, said: “People who use services, their families and carers want to know that the many organisations that provide care take recruitment seriously.

“People using care services can be very vulnerable, so it’s particularly important to be thorough – check references, qualifications and do disclosure checks.

“We found that the large majority were recruiting in a safe and effective manner, but a significant minority, of just over one in five services, need to improve.”

The report was carried out after concerns were identified over recruitment practices by both the Care Commission and the Scottish Social Services Council.

Carole Wilkinson, chief executive of the Scottish Social Services Council, said the SSSC code of practice made it clear that employers must use rigorous recruitment processes.

She added: “We will continue to work closely with the Care Commission to make sure employers are aware of their responsibilities.”

Public Health Minister Shona Robison told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme that the report would be crucial in providing a benchmark for improving recruitment procedures.

She said: “This was the first ever report done on recruitment practice and we would expect to see improvement being made by the next report.

“It’s absolutely crucial that the checks are in place and that’s why this piece of work was so important – so they would know whether recruitment practice was as good as it could be.

“Those care providers which have weaknesses in the system will get additional attention from the Care Commission.

“That will make sure that we are providing assurances to those who are most vulnerable and their families.”