As a manager of a care service it is essential that you seek full and detailed references for any new staff member.
Employers have a responsibility for this under the SSSC Code of Practice for Employers of Social Service Workers, Code 1.3.
‘As a social service employer, you must make sure people are suitable to be social service workers and that they understand their roles and responsibilities. You will ask for and provide accurate and appropriate references to share information relating to a person’s suitability to work in social services.’
This is also in line with your duties as a registered worker in the SSSC Code of Practice for Social Service Workers, Codes 2.2, 3.10 and 5.7.
A factual reference listing dates of employment alone does not meet the duties as set out in the Codes above. Here is some guidance for you to follow.
When asking for a reference, it is good practice to make sure the referee is aware that:
- they have a responsibility to make sure the reference is accurate, dependable and does not contain an incorrect statement about something important or does not leave out something important
- information they share in the reference may be discussed with the applicant.
Follow up telephone calls are helpful to discuss and verify the reference information in more detail.
You should find out whether the referee is satisfied the person is able and suitable to carry out the role.
You should find out whether the referee is satisfied the applicant is suitable to work with vulnerable people and, if not, what are the details of their concerns.
For more information read Safer Recruitment through Better Recruitment which includes a section on references. This is national guidance developed in partnership by the SSSC and the Care Inspectorate.
The guidance contains good practice examples of how to ask for a reference, examples of good practice and styles to use for references when recruiting new staff. There are also reference case scenarios you can follow.