Online Search: Keeping Children Safe in Education a Pre-employment Check Update

October 21st, 2022 by Jake Waddingham

The new Government guidance for Keeping Children Safe in Education came into force on 1st September 2022. Amongst other changes and updates, schools and colleges are asked to consider an online search or social media check as part of their pre-employment screening process.

The statutory guidance now includes the following paragraph:

“In addition, as part of the shortlisting process schools and colleges should consider carrying out an online search as part of their due diligence on the shortlisted candidates. This may help identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publicly available online, which the school or college might want to explore with the applicant at interview.”

Page 54, Keeping children safe in education 2022 Statutory guidance for schools and colleges

What is an online search?

An online search also known as a social media check is a search of an individual’s online footprint by searching millions of webpages. A digital footprint includes much more than only the most recognised sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and includes numerous other websites on which an individual may have constructed a public profile. There are more than 180 social sites alone and this is before looking into all the other categories such as news and blog sites.

Social media checks for schools and colleges can highlight any concerning behaviour, incidents or issues that are publicly available online that do not align with school policy, standards and culture. Carrying out these checks allows you to address any concerns with the candidate, maintain high safeguarding standards and mitigate reputational risk.

As per any pre-employment check, employers must ensure that they carry out their due diligence with compliance and respect for all applicants, this includes ensuring checks are not discriminatory and are carried out with the individual’s consent.

How can DDC help?

DDC can perform social media checks for schools and colleges ensuring a compliant and legal online search. At DDC, we have a number of objective and comprehensive online media checks specifically designed for the education sector. DDC utilises powerful screening processes and sophisticated searching tools to accurately locate information compliantly. DDC does not just screen the most recognised sites, such as Facebook and Twitter – we go above and beyond to provide you with an extensive and unbiased final report. This protects you, from both unsuitable candidates and accusations of discrimination or bias.

Why use DDC for your online search checks?

Carrying out in-house online searches can be time consuming and may not reveal all available information. By using DDC’s screening service you can save time and ensure a reliable service and consistent approach to all checks. You would also be implementing a fair and legal online search into your decision-making process without the risk of breaching any UK legislation.

Although the DfE guidance does not yet mandate online screening, the value of these checks is clear. Utilising a third-party professional search can help mitigate risk and reduce the time of hiring and rehiring.

Read more about our social media screening services here

Mandatory safeguarding checks

If you are looking to complete all your pre-employment checks in one place then DDC can support you. DDC’s online platform enables you to request all your checks at once creating a streamlined and efficient onboarding process. Checks include:

If you have questions about the information above, please get in touch with one of the team via our contact us page.

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