Recruiting care staff safely and efficiently during COVID-19

5 minutes

There is an urgent need to swiftly recruit care staff into front line roles so that our vulnerable members of society are not denied help with eating, washing and drinking. Home care providers will be feeling the pressures of finding quick recruitment solutions as many care workers are going into isolation and unavailable to work. Safe and responsible fast-track recruitment faces challenges but there are some recent initiatives aimed to facilitate this. 

For instance the UK government is encouraging redundant or laid off hospitality workers to apply for one of the many health and social vacancies on the market to support with delivering front line care.  Even if we encourage an increase in applications we know that recruitment in the health and social care sector is not a straightforward one, it has to follow strict ethical and safety frameworks to ensure we are not putting care recipients or care workers at risk. 

One of the key barriers to on boarding staff is obtaining a Disclosure Barring Service check, a  background vetting service that is essential for any applicants who want to work directly with children or adults. A recent measure to help fast-track applicants has been the 24 hour DBS checks. During this emergency period home care providers will be able to obtain a fast track check of children and adults barred lists for any workers being recruited for COVID-19 purposes. Results should be available in 24 hours if an application has been completed correctly. Below we offer a couple of tips in managing this process safely and efficiently.

1) A fast-track DBS application requires two valid proofs of identifications as usual. In traditional circumstances this would require both a scan of the ID documents and a physical witness to check them. A scan will still  be required however ID documents can be viewed via video link for efficiency. 

2) It is important to check roles eligible for fast-track recruitment which can be found on the UK government website here. It is VERY important that you state the applicants job title and explicitly mention that they are being recruitment for the COVID-19 workforce. All fast-track DBS applications will be free of charge but you may incur an admin charge (please check with the administrator/provider for further details). 

3) To ensure there is no delay in processing fast-track DBS applications, it may be worth providing some guidance to your applicant including checking that all information is true and correct checking that all mandatory fields are completed. If an applicant is filling this out by hand then this should be completed with black in in BOLD CAPITALS. 

4) Where possible you should be carrying out pre-employment checks alongside a DBS. This would ideally include 2 satisfactory references, a full employment history, evidence of qualifications and evidence of registration with the relevant professional body if you are employing a clinician. It is also worth requesting information on any relevant physical or mental health conditions that may require you, as an employer, to make reasonable adjustments. 

For  more general information on recruitment tips and how to advertise, please refer to our blog article. 

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