• 24/7 instant access online training
  • In person & virtual live courses
  • Genuine reviews rated ‘Excellent’
  • Accredited courses
  • Courses created by experts

Safer recruitment checklist

In this article, we introduce the safer recruitment checklist tool. This tool is valuable for anyone involved in safer recruitment hiring practices, and it serves as a guide to ensure that every step in the safer recruitment process is addressed and adhered to. It outlines each stage of the safer recruitment process and indicates what actions should be taken at each step, while ensuring consistency and standardisation, which are important for fair and equal candidate assessment. It also helps filter out unsuitable candidates and plays a significant role in complying with legal and regulatory requirements, particularly in conducting the necessary mandatory background and vetting checks. It is also an essential record to refer back to if needed.

Before we go on to explain the specifics of the safer recruitment checklist, it is important to understand the broader context of safer recruitment. This will help you see how the safer recruitment checklist fits in and enhances the overall process.

What is safer recruitment?

Safer recruitment is a series of practices that are integral to an organisation’s safeguarding and HR processes, playing an important role in protecting and promoting the welfare of vulnerable groups of individuals, including children, the elderly and individuals with special needs. These safer recruitment practices should embed safeguarding principles at each step of the recruitment process, from planning and advertising to interviewing and final appointment, allowing fair and consistent hiring practices and promoting a culture of safety and vigilance. It ensures staff members and volunteers are appropriately vetted and suitable for working closely with vulnerable groups of individuals, while also deterring applications from candidates who might pose a risk.

A candidate who is having an interview with two interviewers


The safer recruitment checklist

This safer recruitment checklist is designed to help organisations follow a clear and robust process when recruiting new staff. It covers the whole process, including recruitment, job applications, interviewing and the post-application follow-up. The safer recruitment checklist is aimed at roles that involve safeguarding adults or children. A PDF version of this safer recruitment checklist is available for you to download. This checklist, once completed, should be retained and added to the other documents the candidate has provided.

.Page 1 of Safer Recruitment Checklist
Safer Recruitment Checklist Page 2

Page 3 of the Safer Recruitment Checklist

Safer Recruitment Checklist Page 4

The safer recruitment checklist consists of six sections:

  1. Job Application Pack
  2. Advertising
  3. Shortlisting
  4. Interviewing
  5. Deciding Who to Hire and Checks
  6. Appointment, Mentoring and Supervision

In the next part of this article, we will look at each section of the Safer Recruitment Checklist in more detail.

1. Job Application

This first section of the safer recruitment checklist, the Job Application, is designed to attract the right candidates by providing clear expectations and requirements for the role. It also aids in screening out candidates who do not meet the job criteria. The Job Application section includes defining the different requirements of the role such as the job description, the person specification, a safeguarding statement, a self-disclosure form, an outline of the selection process and the details of the application form. There is also a reminder to perform a job application pack review.

A candidate in front of a computer looking for a job.

2. Advertising

The Advertising section of the safer recruitment checklist is important because the way a job is advertised plays a key role in attracting the right candidates. Effective advertising should aim to draw a diverse pool of applicants and the checklist provides a list of the main job details to include, such as an outline of the role, detailing aspects such as the company name, job title, location, working hours and salary. The advert should also specify the main job duties and any safeguarding responsibilities. It is also important to decide and document the checks that will be carried out, such as a criminal records check and to provide the closing date for applications. Finally, there is a reminder to record where the advertisement has been posted.

Two people discussing who to hire.


3. Shortlisting

The Shortlisting section of the safer recruitment checklist includes the steps necessary for reviewing applications to identify candidates who best meet the criteria outlined in the job description and person specification. This process ensures a fair and unbiased selection, reducing the risk of overlooking potentially unsuitable candidates. Included in this Shortlisting section is to confirm that all necessary forms are signed and completed, confirmation references have been contacted and provided and a self-disclosure form has been completed and returned. A self-disclosure form allows candidates to confidentially disclose any relevant criminal convictions, child protection investigations or disciplinary actions on their records. This section also involves recording any online checks such as social media searches and compiling a list of candidates that have been shortlisted.

Two candidates waiting in a room before their interview


4. Interviewing

The Interviewing section of the safer recruitment checklist is important for assessing the suitability of candidates. It provides an opportunity to explore the candidates’ qualifications, experience, attitudes and commitment to safeguarding. This Interviewing section should include documenting interview questions, as all candidates should be asked the same questions and treated equally using justifiable and objective criteria. It should also outline selection methods, such as assembling an interview panel, recording the candidates selected for an interview, enquiring about any accessibility needs or modifications required for the interview and confirming that all references have been returned and accepted.

Also at this interview stage, the safer recruitment checklist reminds you to address any questions arising from the application forms, references, self-disclosure forms etc. One person should also record the candidates’ responses to facilitate a fair assessment of each candidate after the interviews. Finally, it is important to ensure that all paperwork is collected and copies are stored in compliance with GDPR regulations.

5. Deciding who to hire and checks

This Deciding Who to Hire and Checks section of the safer recruitment checklist guides you in contacting the successful candidate and following a standardised process. This includes analysing the candidates’ responses from the interview and considering all aspects of their application and interview performance. Once a decision has been made to hire, it is necessary to document who has been given a conditional offer. Essential checks at this stage include verifying the candidate’s identity (ensuring a passport/birth certificate has been seen and copied) and their eligibility to work in the UK. In addition, conducting a DBS check, a professional status check and verifying qualifications should be carried out. Any pre-employment checks conducted on staff must be added to the Single Central Record.

Criminal record check

6. Appointment, mentoring and supervision

The Appointment, Mentoring and Supervision section of the safer recruitment checklist involves formally offering the job to the selected candidate, ensuring that all recruitment policies have been followed and confirming that all necessary checks have returned satisfactory results and candidate information is kept on file. Once a person is hired, it is essential to familiarise them with the company policy and procedures, code of conduct, online conduct, safeguarding information and safeguarding training. Additionally, implementing a mentoring and supervision scheme should be considered. Regular feedback sessions such as weekly or biweekly meetings and continuous professional development opportunities should also take place. The hired candidate should be provided with their probation information and have a probation meeting scheduled for a future date.

Probation review form

Safer recruitment training

The effective implementation of these safer recruitment processes within the safer recruitment checklist goes hand in hand with safer recruitment training. This training is important in ensuring that those involved in the recruitment process are not only aware of the steps in the checklist but also understand the underlying principles and the importance of each step in safeguarding vulnerable groups of individuals. Training should include understanding legal obligations, recognising signs of unsuitable candidates and maintaining a consistent and fair recruitment process.


In summary, the safer recruitment checklist is a tool for ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable groups during the recruitment process. It provides a step-by-step framework for each recruitment stage, from the job application to the final appointment, ensuring thoroughness, fairness and compliance with safeguarding policies. The checklist not only helps in identifying the most suitable candidates but also reinforces an organisation’s commitment to safeguarding.

Interested in safer recruitment training?

Safer recruitment training is important for those involved in recruitment in an organisation who come into contact with vulnerable people. It deepens their understanding of safeguarding principles and provides essential skills for effective implementation.

We offer two online Safer Recruitment Training courses: The first, online Safer Recruitment in Education Training is bespoke to education establishments. The second, online Safer Recruitment Training, has a broader remit and is suitable for any type of organisation. Both online safer recruitment courses teach the fundamental practices for hiring staff in organisations that work with or support children, young people and adults at risk.

Do get in contact with us on 01327 636989, email us at hello@smarthorizons.co.uk or use the online contact form on our website if you need help choosing the correct safeguarding course that’s the best fit for your needs.

  • Safer Recruitment