POLICY STATEMENT ON THE SECURE STORAGE, HANDLING, USE, RETENTION & DISPOSAL OF DISCLOSURES & DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Background: All individuals or organizations using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure service to help assess the suitability of applicants for positions of trust and who are recipients of Disclosure information must comply fully with the DBS Code of Practice. Amongst other things, this obliges them to have a written policy on the correct handling and safekeeping of Disclosure information. It also obliges them to ensure that a body or individual, on whose behalf they are countersigning Disclosure applications, has such a written policy.
General Principles: As an organisation the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure service helps assess the suitability of applicants for positions of trust, the organisation complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Disclosures and Disclosure information. It also complies fully with its obligations under the Data Protection Act and other relevant legislation pertaining to the safe handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Disclosure information and has a written policy on these matters, which is available to those who wish to see it on request.
Storage & Access: Disclosure information is never kept on an applicant’s personnel file and is always kept separately and securely, in lockable, non-portable, storage containers with access strictly controlled and limited to those who are entitled to see it as part of their duties.
Handling: In accordance with section 124 of the Police Act 1997, Disclosure information is only passed to those who are authorized to receive it in the course of their duties. We maintain a record of all those to whom Disclosures or Disclosure information has been revealed and we recognize that it is a criminal offence to pass this information to anyone who is not entitled to receive it.
Usage: Disclosure information is only for the specific purpose for which it was requested and for which the applicant’s full consent has been given.
Retention: Once a recruitment (or other relevant) decision has been made, we do not keep Disclosure information for any longer than is absolutely necessary. This is generally for a period of up to six months, to allow for the consideration and resolution of any disputes or complaints. If, in very exceptional circumstances, it is considered necessary to keep Disclosure information for longer than six-months, we will consult the DBS about this and will give full consideration to the Data Protection and Human Rights of the individual subject before doing so. Throughout this time, the usual conditions regarding safe storage and strictly controlled access will prevail.
Disposal: Once the retention period has elapsed, we will ensure that any Disclosure information is immediately suitably destroyed by secure means, i.e. by shredding or burning. While awaiting destruction, Disclosure information will not be kept in any insecure receptacle (e.g. waste bin or confidential waste sack). We will not keep any photocopy or other image of the Disclosure or any copy or representation of the contents of a Disclosure. However, notwithstanding the above, we may keep a record of the date of issue of a Disclosure, the name of the subject, the type of Disclosure requested, the position for which the Disclosure was requested, the unique reference number of the Disclosure and the details of the recruitment decision taken.
The Registered Umbrella Body: Astor Care & Nursing Agency is the Umbrella Body, which countersigns applications and receives Disclosure information on behalf of the organisation. We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that we can comply fully with the DBS Code of Practice. We will also take all reasonable steps to satisfy ourselves that the organisation will handle, use, store, retain and dispose of Disclosure information in full compliance with the DBS Code and in full accordance with this policy. We will also ensure that any body or individual, at whose request applications for Disclosure are countersigned, has in place a written policy such as this.
POLICY IN THE RECRUITMENT OF EX-OFFENDERS
As an organisation using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure service to assess applicants’ suitability for positions of trust Astor Care complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes to treat all applicants for positions fairly. It undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of Disclosure on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed.
Astor Care is committed to the fair treatment of its staff, potential staff or users of its services, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.
We have a written policy on the recruitment of ex–offenders, which is made available to all Disclosure applicants at the outset of the recruitment process.
We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records. We select all candidates for interview based on their skills, qualifications and experience.
A Disclosure is only requested after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those positions where a Disclosure is required, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that a Disclosure will be requested in the event of the individual being offered the position.
Where Disclosure is to form part of the recruitment process, we encourage all applicants called for interview to provide details of their criminal record at an early stage in the application process. We request that this information is sent under separate, confidential cover, to a designated person within Astor Care and we guarantee this information will only be seen by those who need to see it as part of the recruitment process.
Unless the nature of the position allows Astor Care to ask questions about your entire criminal record, we will only ask about ‘unspent’ convictions as defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
We ensure that all those in Astor Care who are involved in the recruitment process have been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences. We also ensure that they have received appropriate guidance and training in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders, e.g. the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
At interview, or in a separate discussion, we ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment.
We make every subject of a DBS Disclosure aware of the existence of the DBS Code of Practice and make a copy available on request.
We undertake to discuss any matter revealed in a Disclosure with the person seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment.
Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us. This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of your offences.