A focused but comprehensive application form or online process can make a strong statement on rigour and commitment to safety and can deter those who know their practice is unsafe whilst encouraging those who wish to work for a quality employer.
Application forms allow an employer to obtain a common set of core data from all applicants.
An application form should seek:
- full identifying details
- a full employment history in chronological order including part time and voluntary employment, including start/end dates, reason for ceasing and explanations for periods not in employment or education/training
- a statement of academic and/or vocational qualifications relevant to the position
- any involvement in of disciplinary or grievance procedures and any ‘live’ formal warnings
- details of current or former registration with the SSSC or any other relevant regulatory body, declaration of any finding by a regulatory body and any conditions that apply to current registration
- details of any PVG scheme membership
- a declaration of any family or close relationship to existing employees and relatives of people using the service
- details of referees: one referee should be the applicant’s current or most recent employer and minimum of two references should be sought, making clear that references will not be accepted from relatives or friends
- a statement of the personal qualities and experience the person believes are relevant to his/her suitability for the post and how he/she meets the person specification.
The form, if paper based, requires to be signed by the applicant.
Be clear that as a prospective employer you may contact any former employer in addition to the referees nominated by the applicant.
- Applicants should be warned that if employed, failure to disclose important information may lead to dismissal if discovered at a later date.
Links to further guidance and practice examples
ACAS –recruitment guidance
Disclosure Scotland- guidance on spent/unspent convictions
Practice example 1 Applicant profile – Availability and work history (care assistant)
Practice example 2 Application form (care assistant)
Practice example 3 Application form
Practice example 4 Declaration
Serious consideration should be given to developing post-specific application forms where contact with vulnerable people is important. At the very least, the additional information regarding convictions needed for certain posts should be sought in an addendum to an organisation-wide form.
The law requires the following always to be disclosed
- any unspent convictions, and
- any spent convictions contained in a list of offences that must always be disclosed.
Make clear on the application form that Disclosure Scotland/ PVG scheme membership checks or regulatory body registration checks will be carried out.
Ensure application forms are not discriminatory. For example, to require a form to be filled out ‘in your own handwriting’, where written English is not relevant to the post, may discriminate against applicants whose first language is not English or applicants with disabilities that affect writing ability – an issue which may be avoided by making an electronic version of the form available.