COVID 19: Safe and rapid recruitment


In these unprecedented times, it’s important that the safety and wellbeing of people using our care services remains a priority. Employers of all sizes may find these guiding principles useful to address their additional workforce recruitment challenges

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We are committed to reviewing this information on a regular basis. Please email any questions which have not been addressed to randr@skillsforcare.org.uk and we will publish responses to frequently asked questions.

Values are at the heart of good quality care and support, so it’s crucial to recruit people with the right values to work in care. Missing out this vital step could expose vulnerable people and place even more pressure on existing staff.

Resources to help you

  • If you don’t already have workplace values, you can use this example values framework as a basis. It includes example behaviours you might want to look for in new staff

  • This practical ‘What values do I need to work in social care?’ worksheet identifies people’s values and any transferrable skills they have from other life experiences. You could ask candidates to complete it as part of their application or prior to interview for further discussion.

  • A Question of Care is an online, interactive quiz that uses scenario-based videos and questions to assess people’s values and behaviours. Download our guidance on how to use it as part of your recruitment process.
  • We're developing a new series of interactive workshops taking HR professionals and hiring managers through the whole values-based recruitment and retention journey. Register your interest here.

There are people from other sectors facing job uncertainty who could now be recruited into the care sector as staff or volunteers to help maintain safe staffing levels.

Resources to help you

  • Link with Skills for Care locality managers in your area who can tell you about local initiatives and support.
  • Share our refreshed work in social care leaflet on your website or in recruitment emails to help people new to the sector understand the job roles available and why they should choose social care
  • To help you promote your vacancies, download free digital recruitment resources including posters, leaflets and social media templates.

  • Advertise your job roles for free on the government’s ‘Find a job’ service. By adding your job roles to Find a job, they will also be searchable via the Department of Health and Social Care’s national Care for others. Make a difference. job search tool.

  • I Care...Ambassadors in your workforce can support your recruitment process by sharing what it’s like to work for you. These videos can be shared with potential candidates.

  • Encourage staff to recommend friends and relatives. The Care Friends app has been designed to help employers with their recruitment and retention challenges by using existing staff to attract high-quality employees to the sector. Find out more.

Safeguarding people who need care and support remains as important as ever. Government agencies have responded to the pandemic by developing emergency processes which support faster recruitment of staff to the sector.

Resources to help you

  • Skills for Care has developed a COVID-19 supplement to our Safe and fair recruitment guide to help employers follow a clear process when recruiting for COVID-19 eligible roles. It contains downloadable resources, including COVID-19 safer recruitment checklist, criminal record self-declaration form and risk assessment templates.
  • See our 30 minute COVID-19 webinars: An introduction to DBS checks in the social care sector and Safe recruitment.
  • CQC COVID-19 interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks is for providers recruiting staff and volunteers to health and social care services in response to COVID-19. You may also find the CQC Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page contains further useful information.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) factsheets, updated guidelines and news stories related to DBS and coronavirus. Keep up-to-date with the latest  arrangements to provide fast-track DBS checks and temporary ID checking guidelines.
  • Continue to complete the correct level of DBS check for your vacant roles. The DBS has confirmed the COVID-related free-of-charge and emergency fast-track Barred List check services will remain in place throughout the winter months and has produced supplementary guidance restating the types of roles that may be eligible for free-of-charge checks and fast-track Barred List check. It explains what the legislation does and does not cover and includes example scenarios for care workers. This new supplementary guidance can be found alongside the existing advice. Contact DBS customer services or the DBS helpline (0300 0200 190) directly with any additional questions.
  • Temporary adjustments to Right to work checks due to COVID-19 end soon. From 1 September 2021, employers must either check the applicant’s original documents or check the applicant’s right to work online (if they’ve given their share code).

    Employers will not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 (inclusive). This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports business during this difficult time.

    The Gov.uk right to work checks page contains up to date guidance. 

  • Continue to complete the correct level of DBS check for your vacant roles. Refer to this DBS checks for adult social care roles guidance.

  • Our Safe and fair recruitment guide contains downloadable resources in the appendices, including criminal record self-declaration forms and risk assessment templates.

You can also take a look at our HR and recruitment and retention guide from other agencies.

It’s crucial to support the resilience and wellbeing of new and existing staff. If you correctly induct and support new staff they will feel valued, deliver better and safer care and are more likely to stay with you beyond the pandemic.

Resources to help you

  • COVID-19: essential training. Skills for Care and the Care Quality Commission have identified relevant, essential training for a range of care staff and volunteers. This is a fully-funded virtual training package.

  • This handy self- support tool has been developed with social care employers, to support staff when encountering difficult situations. Use in the workplace as a noticeboard poster , cut out the handy pocket sized reminder to give out to staff or suggest staff can photograph the tips using their phone, as an easy way to carry with them at all times.

  • Our quick guide to mentoring and buddying shows ways to support new and existing staff. Peer support is understood to help with staff retention.

  • The Greater resilience, better care resource includes examples of things that employers can do to reduce the risk of workplace stress and help staff to develop resilient behaviours (pages 13-15).

  • This quick guide to supervisions and one-to-ones will help with essential and regular communications to support staff, address concerns and maintain their wellbeing. Find out more on managing people.

  • Download 'Supporting staff that regularly work alone' which provides information about what works well for employers who employ lone workers.

In order to support the safe and rapid recruitment of staff, interviews can take place virtually. When carrying out interviews this way there are different things which you and potential candidates can do to prepare.

Resources to help you

  • Our Distance recruitment tips resource outlines useful guidance around the technology needed for virtual interviewing, the preparation you can do, the support you can give to a potential candidate to help them prepare, how the interview can run, and the steps that you can take after an interview to support a new recruit. 

    Contact your local JobCentre Plus which may be able to support candidates by providing access to onsite computers. Alternatively, they may be able to signpost you to partners linked with digital inclusion initiatives. 

  • Our Snapshot of communication and collaboration tools provides more insight into the different digital products such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom you can use to support distance recruitment activities.