Skills for Care

What you need to know about safe and fair recruitment

21 Sep 2023

5 min read

Skills for Care

  • Culture and diversity
  • Recruitment

It’s important that all your recruitment is conducted in a safe and fair way, especially when recruiting people from certain groups. We round up what you need to know about safe and fair recruitment.


Obtaining comprehensive and effective references is a vital step in safe and fair recruitment. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to obtain references for new staff and to provide references for your previous staff.

You can find out more about what to look for in a reference and how to provide an effective reference in our blog from specialist consultant Dominic Headley.


International recruitment

Recruiting care workers from abroad can be one solution to tackling the recruitment challenges social care employers in England are facing. Since the care worker role was added to the Shortage Occupation List in February 2022 there’s been a notable increase in people being employed from abroad, with our latest data showing that 70,000 people were recruited from abroad into direct care roles in 2022/23. This is 50,000 more people than the previous year. When recruiting people from abroad there’s important legal processes to follow to make sure that you’re recruiting in a way that benefits your new staff member and the people you support.

You can find out more about ethical international recruitment in our article.


Recruiting temporary staff

As much as possible we recommend organisations to employ permanent staff, but sometimes employing temporary staff can be a necessity. When recruiting temporary or agency staff it’s important to still apply the same high-standards and comprehensive checks that you would when hiring permanent staff. Make sure you still apply a values-based approach when recruiting temporary staff to make sure they fit with your organisation. It’s also important to provide temporary staff with the same induction you would give permanent staff so they have a full understanding of the organisation and their role to carry out their roles effectively.

You can find out more about using agencies and recruiting temporary staff in our guide.


Recruiting younger people

Some employers may be unsure whether they can hire younger people, but hiring people aged 16 and 17 is not only legal it’s also beneficial for organisations. It’s vital that we start recruiting more younger people to begin a career in care in order to sustain the workforce of the future. When recruiting people aged 16 and 17 there are considerations which need to be made around working hours, pay and learning and development. Having more younger people in your organisation will bring fresh ideas and energy and can help you to grow the leaders of the future for your organisation and the sector as a whole.

You can find out more about what you need to know when recruiting younger people and how to attract younger people into care roles with our guidance.


Recruiting people with a disability

A safe and fair recruitment process provides equal opportunities for everyone, including people who have a disability. To recruit and retain people with a disability, you need to ensure that your organisation has disability-friendly policies throughout the recruitment process and beyond. This includes ensuring application documents and interviews are accessible for everyone, which could mean providing documents that are accessible to people with a visual impairment or ensuring that your interview location is accessible for people with a physical disability. It may mean wording questions in applications and interviews in a way that everyone can understand and making adjustments to how applications or interviews are conducted to suit different needs. There are myths about employing people with a disability – such as that it costs more or that people with a disability have a higher rate of absence. These aren’t accurate.

You can view our mythbusters document to discover the facts about hiring people with a disability.

You can also view our guide to employing people with a disability to learn more.


Recruiting people with a criminal conviction

Many people with a criminal conviction come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and their conviction is in no way related to their suitability to work in a support role.

It’s important to conduct background checks on people who are working in care and support roles to ensure the safety of people being supported, but minor unrelated convictions don’t mean that someone is unable to work in care. People with a previous conviction can find it challenging to obtain work, and social care provides an opportunity for them to build a lasting and rewarding career.

We have online masterclasses you can watch to find out more about how you can safely and fairly employ someone with a criminal conviction.


Further resources to support with safe and fair recruitment

You can find a wide range of resources on our website about safe and fair recruitment to widen your talent pool. We also have a safe and fair recruitment checklist which can help you to ensure your recruitment processes are being carried out ethically and effectively.

View our safe and fair recruitment resources.

Download the safe and fair recruitment checklist.


Find more information and support to #RecruitRight with our spotlight page.

Ethical international recruitment: what you need to know

Skills for Care locality manager awarded for outstanding contribution to social care