Catch22 reserves the right to amend this policy, following consultation, where appropriate.
Date of last review: January 2023
Date of next review: January 2026
This policy sets out our approach to the recruitment and selection of all Catch22 staff.
Who is this policy for?
This policy covers the recruitment and selection of all employed staff, including sessional staff. Separate policies cover the engagement of sole traders, individuals working via third parties (e.g. agency personnel), self-employed workers and volunteers.
The aim of this policy is to ensure that:
- Catch22 is able to function effectively and meet the needs of its partners and commissioners, by having staff with the necessary skills at the right time and place to meet its needs;
- those employed by Catch22 reflect our values, views, motivations and attitudes;
- appointments are made on the basis of objective and transparent criteria that are clearly relevant to an individual’s ability to perform the role in question;
- our workforce is as diverse as the people and the communities we support;
- those making recruitment and selection decisions are appropriately trained and supported;
- current employees have the opportunity to access promotion opportunities and retain security of employment where they have the necessary skills and experience to carry out new job roles;
- the people and their communities we work with are safeguarded from contact with unsuitable people;
- Catch22 complies with all relevant legislation, recommendations and guidance including statutory guidance published by the Department of Education (DFE), Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), the Disclosure of Barring Service (DBS) and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
The role of the Hiring Manager and Hiring Panel
The Hiring Manager is responsible for recruitment and ensuring adherence to all relevant policies during the recruitment process.
The Hiring Manager will appoint an Hiring Panel to support in the assessment and selection of candidates. Where possible, the entire Hiring Panel will contribute to shortlisting and hiring decisions, in order to increase the objectivity of decision-making and reduce the potential impact of individual biases.
The Hiring Panel should offer a diverse range of views and expertise, and, where possible, include a panel member from outside of the team, service or hub being recruited to.
Hiring Managers are expected to complete Catch22’s ‘Recruitment and Selection Skills’ training prior to overseeing a recruitment campaign.
Preparing to recruit
The need to recruitment may arise for a number of reasons:
- An employee resigns
- A new post is established
- An employee becomes temporarily absence from work
- A project needs to be undertaken
Hiring Managers should take time to plan their recruitment at the outset.
Authority to recruit
All vacancies must be authorised via Catch22’s applicant tracking system, Smart Recruiters.
Job Description and Person Specification
All roles must have an up to date job description and person specification which has been evaluated in line with our job evaluation scheme.
Job descriptions can be found on the People Team’s SharePoint page.
Advertising a vacancy
All vacancies should be advertised via Catch22’s applicant tracking system, SmartRecruiters.
There are three ways to advertise roles via SmartRecruiters:
- Public – published on the Catch22 careers page and open to existing Catch22 staff and members of the public
- Internal – published on the internal jobs page and open only to existing Catch22 staff
- Private – only visible to individuals who are given the SmartRecruiters link, and only open to existing Catch22 staff.
All vacant posts should normally be advertised externally by default, and therefore open to applications from outside of Catch22. However, where there is a reasonable expectation that there are sufficient, suitably qualified internal candidates, or staff with relevant skills and experience who are at risk of redundancy, vacancies may be advertised internally. In these circumstances, the Hiring Panel may decide that certain parts of the recruitment process are be omitted but all candidates will be subject to a formal interview and satisfactory pre-employment checks.
Private adverts should only be used to support the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy.
There are no strict requirements for the length of time that roles are advertised, but it is recommended that external roles are advertised for at least three calendar weeks in order to ensure equality of opportunity and encourage as wide a field of candidates as possible.
Internal roles should normally be advertised for at least a week, and should be promoted through internal networks.
Information for candidates
All adverts for vacancies within Catch22 must provide the candidate with the following information:
- An outline of the duties of the post.
- The qualifications, skills, experience and behaviours required by a successful candidate.
- The salary on offer, pro-rata when applicable (see below).
- A link to the full job description and person specification.
- Confirmation of the planned assessment process, including the format of each assessment or interview, and likely location.
- A timetable, with, as a minimum, estimated dates of key assessment and interview stages which will involve candidate attendance.
- The level of DBS check where required, as well as any other specific requirements or limitations related to criminal offence history.
The following details are also required for all adverts, but will automatically be added as footers, so Hiring Managers are not required to add:
- Catch22’s equal opportunities statement.
- A link to the ‘Benefits of working at Catch22’ page of our website.
Roles which are subject to KCSIE are also required to provide the following information:
- The school’s or college’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and make clear that safeguarding checks will be undertaken.
- The safeguarding responsibilities of the post as per the job description and personal specification.
- Whether the post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. The amendments to the ROA 1974 (Exceptions Order 1975, (2013 and 2020)) provide that when applying for certain jobs and activities, certain spent convictions and cautions are ‘protected’, so they do not need to be disclosed to employers, and if they are disclosed, employers cannot take them into account. The MOJ’s guidance on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Exceptions Order 1975, provides information about which convictions must be declared during job applications and related exceptions and further information about filtering offences can be found in the DBS filtering guide.
- A link to school’s or college’s child protection policy and practices and policy on employment of ex-offenders.
- Where applicable, confirmation that an ‘Online Search’ will be conducted on shortlisted candidates, to ensure accuracy of information provided and protect the school or college against potential reputational damage (see below).
Jobs should normally be advertised on a spot salary depending on:
- the salary band (the advertised salary should normally be equal to or above the bottom of the salary band as determined by Catch22’s job evaluation scheme)
- the salaries of existing team members performing a similar role
- market conditions
External job boards
Many roles which are open to external applicants will require the use of external job boards in order to provide sufficient promotion to attract the volume and quality of applicants needed. All jobs posted on SmartRecruiters are automatically sent to a number of job boards, where basic job adverts are published, and are searchable by its users.
Additional paid advertising on job boards is recommended to boost the reach and impact of advertising. Information on the advertising options available, their specialisms or when they should be used, and costs, is available on the Recruitment SharePoint page.
All requests for external advertising made to the Recruitment team are administered by the Recruitment team, with costs recovered from the cost code linked to the vacancy. It is the responsibility of the Hiring Manager to ensure that the necessary budget is available for external advertising.
Using recruitment agencies
If a vacancy requires specialist skills that are hard to recruit, or where a role has previously proved hard to fill, a Hiring Manager may consider using an external recruitment agent to supply candidates.
Recruitment agency services can be expensive, as they typically charge 10%-20% of the role’s annual salary, so they should only be used as a last resort.
Before agreeing to receive candidates via a recruitment agent, Hiring Managers must ensure that they fully understand all associated costs, and that they have the required budget.
Temporary post of more than 6 months (e.g. 12 month maternity cover) should normally be advertised internally on SmartRecruiters and follow our usual recruitment procedures.
Redeploying existing staff
In accordance with our Security of Employment (Redundancy) policy, we will aim, wherever possible, to find the employee suitable alternative employment.
A register of at risk staff is held and maintained by the Recruitment team. Prior to advertising a vacancy, it is recommended that Hiring Managers contact the Recruitment team to discuss the potential to appoint from this register.
Diversity and Equal Opportunity in recruitment
We will ensure that people are treated solely on the basis of their abilities and potential, regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religious or political belief or affiliation, trade union membership, age, gender, gender reassignment, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic background, or any other inappropriate distinction.
Many of our roles are ‘exempt’ from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, this means we can ask about an applicant’s criminal history – including details of convictions and cautions – that are not protected. We undertake not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a criminal record check on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed.
Catch22 are signed up to the Ban the Box initiative. As a Ban the Box employer, we have committed to fairly assessing criminal convictions; so candidates are not asked about offence history during the application process and are assessed first and foremost on the basis of their skills and suitability for a role, rather than their past mistakes. The only exception to this is within our schools and colleges, where KCSIE requires us to ask candidates to declare criminal convictions at shortlist stage, prior to interview.
Catch22 is a ‘Disability Confident Committed’ employer, which means that we have agreed to five commitments: inclusive and accessible recruitment, communicating vacancies, offering an interview to disabled people, providing reasonable adjustments, and supporting existing employees. Full details on these commitments and their practical application are covered in the ‘Recruitment and Selection Skills’ training. Hiring Managers should contact the recruitment team if they have any questions about adapting their recruitment process to support applicants with disabilities.
It is our policy that all recruitment advertisements carry our equal opportunities statement and candidates who apply for roles declaring that they have a disability on their application, should be automatically shortlisted if they meet the minimum essential criteria for the role.
Where minority sections of the community are under-represented in the relevant part of our workforce, a Positive Action Statement may be used to encourage applicants from certain sectors of the community. The advice of the Recruitment team must always be sought prior to using a Positive Action Statement as where used incorrectly, it may breach discrimination law.
For some posts there may be a Genuine Occupational Requirement (GOR) and/or policy objective that dictates that appointees must be of a certain gender, nationality etc and that this requirement must be set out in advertisement/person specification etc. Genuine GORs/policy objectives are quite rare and must be objectively justified to ensure they do not amount to unlawful discrimination. For this reason the use of a GOR/legitimate policy objective must be agreed in advance with a member of the Recruitment team.
It is a legal requirement to offer adjustments to your recruitment process, should these be requested by a candidate, which will help reduce or remove disadvantages faced by disabled candidates. These may include accessible documentation, extra time to complete assessments, or advanced notification of interview questions.
All requests for adjustments in the recruitment process must be taken seriously, and Hiring Managers should not ask for details or proof of the candidate’s disability.
If a candidate makes a request which you feel you cannot deliver, or which puts them at an unfair advantage against other candidates, you should contact the Recruitment team.
The Hiring Panel will use the criteria laid out in the person specification to make a decision on which candidates to shortlist for the vacancy. Shortlisting decisions should be made on the content of the application against these criteria alone, free of any bias or pre-judgement, and applied equally to all applicants.
Where possible, Hiring Managers should publish a closing date for applications, and make a shortlisting decision once all applications are received.
In order to proceed at pace through the recruitment process, particularly where there is urgency to fill the vacancy, Hiring Managers can adopt a flexible approach to shortlisting, reviewing applications while the advert is still live. When taking this approach, it is important to ensure that all candidates are treated fairly, and all unsuccessful applications are rejected prior to any offer is made to successful candidates.
If the field of applicants is felt to be weak the post may be re-advertised, but it is recommended that the Hiring Manager speak with a member of the Recruitment team prior to re-advertisement so that alternative approaches can be explored.
KCSIE process for shortlisted candidates
For roles subject to KCSIE, additional steps must be taken to gather further information on candidates invited to interview.
- Candidates should be asked to complete a self-declaration of their criminal record or information that would make them unsuitable to work with children.
- Two professional references should be collected for each candidate, one should be from their most recent employer / one should be from their last employer where the candidate worked with children (if the candidate is not working with children in their current role).
- The school or college should consider carrying out an online search as part of their due diligence on the shortlisted candidates. This may help identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publicly available online, which the school or college might want to explore with the applicant at interview.
Where any of the above steps are taken, they should be completed prior to the candidate’s interview, so that any issues raised in these steps can be discussed with the candidate.
The format and style of the selection process are matters for the Hiring Manager to decide and will depend on role. It is recommended that a range of selection methods are used as this will support and enhance objective decision making, which can be difficult through interview alone.
The selection process may include:
- Service user panels
- Case studies
- In-tray exercises
- Work samples
- Group discussions
The selection process should always include a panel interview.
Before the interviews the Hiring Panel will agree on the interview format. The questions asked will be aimed at obtaining evidence of how each candidate meets the requirement of the job description and the person specification and each candidate will be assessed against all of the criteria for the post. The same areas of questioning will be covered for each applicant and no questions which would discriminate directly or indirectly on protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 will be asked.
Questions will include:
- Finding out what attracted the candidate to the post, and why they want to work for Catch22.
- Exploring their skills and experience, and asking for examples of experience which are relevant to the role.
- The candidate’s understanding of and alignment to Catch22’s values.
- Where applicable, questions to test and explore the candidate’s knowledge of safeguarding procedure.
At the end of each interview, the Hiring Panel should allow the candidate the opportunity to ask questions that they may have, and inform the candidate of the estimated timeline for feedback.
Safeguarding and recruitment
The interview stage is an important opportunity to take steps to screen out individuals who might pose a risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Hiring Panel should take the widest possible view of those who may be in a position to abuse a position of trust and therefore not limit safeguarding questions to frontline workers, but all those who have access to children, young people and vulnerable adults. For this reason:
- Questions must be included directed at understanding the motivation for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults in particular and personal values which candidates believe make their appropriate persons for this type of work.
- All gaps in an individual’s career history must be identified and explored.
- Reasons for leaving previous employment must be established where the application form is unclear.
- Any anomalies in the candidate’s CV, application or supporting statement should be drawn out and explored.
Please see the Recruitment pages on SharePoint site for further guidance and example interview questions.
Conditional offer of employment
As soon as a hiring decision is made, the Hiring Manager should verbally offer the role to the preferred candidate and make clear that this is a conditional offer. Should the preferred candidate not accept the role, the Hiring Manager can offer the role to any other shortlisted candidate deemed to be appointable at interview.
Formal offers must be submitted via SmartRecruiters so that they can be reviewed and processed by the People Services team.
Once a conditional offer has been accepted, the Hiring Manager should ensure that all unsuccessful candidates are informed of the outcome of their interview. Candidates who attended an interview should be offered the opportunity to discuss their feedback with a member of the Hiring Panel.
Pay on appointment will normally depend on:
- the knowledge, skills and experience the new employee brings in comparison to existing team members performing a similar role
- equal pay considerations
An offer of employment at Catch22 is subject to the following pre-employment checks:
- Verification of identity
- Verification of right to work in the UK
- Two satisfactory professional references – one of which must be the candidate’s most recent employer
- Evidence of qualifications where detailed in the person specification
- Confirmation of mental and physical fitness to carry out work responsibilities
- Evidence of driving licence, MOT certificate and insurance where detailed in the person specification
- Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check at the appropriate level where detailed in the person specification
- Other any other vetting (e.g. Police) where detailed in the person specification
In addition, offers of employment within our schools and colleagues are also be subject to the following pre-employment checks:
- Any additional check needed for time spent living or working overseas
- Verification of professional qualifications. The Teaching Regulation Agency’s (TRA) Employer Access Service should be used to verify any award of qualified teacher status (QTS), and the completion of teacher induction or probation
- Section 128 check (management posts only)
- Probation from teaching check (where the post involves teaching work)
- Childcare disqualification check (where the post holder will be working with children aged 5 and under, including reception classes, or in wraparound care for children up to the age of 8, such as breakfast clubs and after school care).
Under KCSIE schools and colleges must maintain a single central record of pre-appointment checks, referred to in the Regulations8 as “the register” and more commonly known as “the single central record”.
All pre-employment checks must be completed before the employee starts work. Exceptions will only be made in circumstances where a risk assessment has been undertaken.
Start of employment
Induction is the final stage of the recruitment process. Once the successful candidate has accepted the offer of employment and a start date has been agreed the Hiring Manager is responsible for preparing a comprehensive induction programme for the new employee.
- DBS Checks Policy
- Code of Conduct
- Data Protection Policy
- Equality & Diversity Policy
- Induction Policy
- DBS Barring & Referral Policy
- Probation Policy
- Redundancy and Security of Employment Policy
- References Policy
- Reward & Remuneration Policy