Safe Recruitment of Staff Policy

At Willow Den Scotland we are vigilant in our recruitment procedures aiming to ensure all people working with children are qualified and suitable to do so. We follow this procedure each and every time we recruit a new member to join our team.  

Legal requirements  

  • We abide by all legal requirements relating to safe recruitment set out in the Health and Social Care Standards and accompanying regulations.  
  • We also follow any requirements or guidance given by the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) in relation to carrying out checks and The Scottish Social Service Council (SSSC) professional register or other relevant professional register 
  • We abide by the employer’s responsibilities relating to informing the PVG of any changes to the suitability of their staff, whether this member of staff has left the nursery or is still under investigation. Please refer to the child protection policy for further information.   


  • We use reputable websites, our networks and social media to advertise for any vacancies  
  • We ensure that all recruitment literature includes details of our equal opportunities policy and our safe recruitment procedures, including PVG registration and at least two independent written references for each new employee. We also include the requirement for an additional criminal records check (or checks if more than one country) for anyone who has lived or worked abroad. 

Interview stage 

  • We shortlist all suitable candidates against a pre-set specification and ensure all applicants receive correspondence regardless of whether they are successful in reaching the interview stage or not. 
  • All shortlisted candidates will receive a job description outlining the key responsibilities prior to arranging an interview 
  • The CEO/Operations Manager and/or member of the Senior Management Team will form part of the interview panel and are involved in the overall decision making. Depending on the role, middle managers and skilled associates maybe invited to join the panel 
  • Candidates are invited to complete a short pre-interview questionnaire, this confirms that they have read and understood which job they are applying for and asks applicants if they are eligible to work in the UK. 
  • At the start of each interview all candidates’ identities will be checked using, for example, their passport and/or photocard driving licence. All candidates will be required to prove they are eligible to work in the UK   
  • All candidates reaching the interview stage for all jobs are questioned using the same set criteria and questions for that specific job. 

Early Learning and Childcare roles 

  • The questions for Early Learning and Childcare roles cover specific areas of ELC, including safeguarding the children in their care, planning suitable experiences to enhance the child’s development, and questions confirming their understanding of the legal frameworks applied to childcare and required in the nursery. The questions are value based and will ensure the candidate has the same values as the nursery with regards to the safety and welfare of the children in their care 
  • Candidates will be given a score for their answers, their individual knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications and values will be taken into account.  
  • Where practicable shortlisted candidates will be asked to take part in a supervised practical exercise or scenario relating to working in the nursery, e.g. interacting with the children, staff and where appropriate parents. This could be an online exercise where restrictions or logistics do not allow for an on site experience. 
  • The manager and second interviewer will then select the most suitable person for this position based on these scores, their knowledge and understanding relating to the role, and the needs of the nursery 
  • Each candidate will receive communication from the nursery stating whether they have been successful or not. Unsuccessful candidates are offered feedback.  

Non Childcare facing roles 

  • Senior leadership, management, ancillary and non-childcare facing roles are recruited using the same process. At least one reference from the current/previous employer is preferred.  

Starting work 

  • The successful candidate will be offered the position subject to at least two references, one must be from the previous employer, or in the case of a newly qualified student, their tutor and a personal or professional reference (e.g. their GP). These references will be taken up BEFORE employment commences.  
  • All new starts employees working directly with children are required join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme 
  • All new ELC staff shall be subject to a check of The Scottish Social Service Council (SSSC) professional register or other relevant professional register 
  • All qualifications will be checked and copies taken for their personnel files 
  • All new members of staff will receive an Induction Welcome Pack which includes a checklist to be completed, this is done with the employees own line manager. Information on the ELC National Induction Resource is provided for ELC staff. All records that need to be completed are shared and stored securely using our online HR management tool.  
  • During their induction period all new staff will receive online training relevant to their role via Atlas, for ELC staff this includes basic Child Protection and Food safety training at a level relevant to their role . A skills assessment will be carried out to assess skills gaps or to renew lapsed training certificates. 
  • Each new member of staff will attend regular meetings with the manager and their mentor during their induction period to discuss their progress.  

Ongoing support and checks 

  • We will seek updates on staff requiring PVG membership every 3 years 
  • All staff are responsible for notifying the manager in person should any circumstances arise that may affect their suitability to work with children. This will include any incidents occurring outside the nursery. Staff could face disciplinary action should they fail to notify the manager within a reasonable timescale  
  • All ELC staff are required to be registered with the SSSC: 
  • Managers  
  • Early learning and childcare practitioners  
  • Support workers. 
  • All members of staff are expected to notify their manager if they experience any issue that affects their ability to carry out their role. The manager will endeavour to  support the employee with any additional resources that may aid them in carrying out their day-to-day duties  
  • Each member of staff will attend at least two Performance Review meetings per year with the manager. This will provide an opportunity for the manager and member of staff to discuss training needs for the following six months as well as discuss their performance in the previous six months. Records are stored securely on online within the HR software. 
  • The relevant Manager, Lead Practitioner or Senior will be responsible for any support the staff team may have between these reviews. This includes mentor support, one-to-one training sessions, ongoing supervision, work-based observations and constructive feedback.