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The HR Forum

Hi Everyone,


I just wanted to know what everyones thoughts were on disclosing safeguarding concerns in an employment reference, especially if that person is joining another care provider. It has been a hot topic within my team the past week both providing a refernce and recieving one.


Does anyone know where we stand legally? I feel we have a duty of care to all vulnerable people not just the people we support. If someone has been dismissed or disciplined due to a safeguarding concern - can we disclose that in a refernce if it is factual? And what are the implications if an offer is then withdrawn becuase of a refence we provided?







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  • Hi Jess

    I work for a residential school so come across this all the time. I concur with you - we have a duty of care to provide safeguarding information and and I include disciplinary information including sanction for any staff and I include this on all references requested, and I provide. I count this as factual information, in the same way I would provide absence information. 

    To add to Paul's legal information, we have to work to KCSIE but this is for children only and if you work for an adult provision then isn't applicable for you, but perhaps they have an equivilent? 

    We have withdrawn offers based on reference information provided. It's not a nice conversation to have but I do state it's due to unsatisfactory references. Candidates can then, in line with GDPR, request to see the references via a subject access request, so be prepared for that conversation too. Ultimately you and managers have to make a decision that's best for your business and safeguarding your service users. 


  • if you don't provide correct and proper facts then your company could be held responsible for the actions of the ex-employee at another employer. If an employee has been sacked then you don't have to give a reference. If you do then you can just give the dates of employment and that they were dismissed for Gross Misconduct, you do not have to go into any other details. As long as you have followed proper disciplinary and dismissal procedures then there should not be any come back.

    If the new employer rings up asking for more details then refuse to go into details, as this can be a can of worms.



    References: workers' rights
    Getting a work reference from an employer either while in work or when applying for a new job - and what workers can do if they think it's unfair
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