Despite 140 individual referrals taking place every week, many Adult and Child Care Establishments are not aware of the legal process surrounding referring. This is often because there has never been the need to know within their establishment.
Understanding who to refer too, how to refer, when you should refer, what information you need to be able to refer and the time scale for referring is crucial to avoid serious penalties.
So let’s look at each aspect separately.
Who do you refer someone to?
Some managers are under the impression that they should refer a person to their Local Authority and CQC or Ofsted. They rely on these bodies to advise them on what to do.
You cannot depend on your Local Authority, Ofsted or CQC offering you advice but you can rely on them contacting the DBS to see if you have referred to them. If fourteen days have elapsed and you have not referred to the DBS, this is an offence under the Welfare Regulations.
So, you refer directly to the DBS and then to the Local Authority and Ofsted or CQC (whichever is appropriate for your business).
When are you allowed to refer a person?
You cannot refer a member of staff in your employment, you can only refer a person when you have dismissed them or they have resigned before you had the opportunity to dismiss them. The staff at the DBS are often very pleasant and your call will be recorded. They will ask if the person works for you and if they are still working for you, you will be told to call back once they have left your employment.
What information do you need to refer a person?
There is an awful lot of information required to be able to refer an individual. But remember, at the point of referral, the individual no longer works for you. You have dismissed them or they have resigned - do you think they would be willing to provide you with information so that you can refer them? Perhaps not. So, from day one of their employment, you need to be gathering the required information. (Click here for the list).
How do you refer a person?
To refer a person, you complete a 7 page DBS referral form. We recommend that the procedure is in your Policies and Procedures Document. Because managers and deputy managers spend a lot of time in close proximity to each other, they are often ill at the same time so it is good idea to include in your Policy the necessity of the next senior person being aware of the referring procedure. They should be able to locate the referral form in the appendix of your Policies and Procedures document. It will be possible to refer online in 2017. (Click here to download the referral form).
What is a referral to the DBS?
A referral is when you have knowledge, suspicion or evidence about an individual who is causing concern about their suitability to work in care.
When should you refer a person?
There are three reasons for referring a person. This sounds simple, but it is far from it.
The reasons are when you think a person has either;
- Engaged in relevant conduct by their actions or inaction,
- Satisfied the Harm Test, or
- Received a caution, reprimand or conviction for a relevant offence.
1. What is relevant conduct?
There are a number of offences which constitute relevant conduct. (Click here for DBS LIST OF OFFENCES).
2. What is the Harm Test?
The Harm Test is when a person May:-
- Harm a child or vulnerable adult
- Cause a child or vulnerable adult to be harmed by their actions or inaction
- Put a child or vulnerable adult at risk of harm
- Attempt to harm a child or vulnerable adult
- Incite another to harm a child or vulnerable adult
3. What is a police caution?
This is when the police say “on this occasion we are not going to prosecute you, we are going to caution you”. The majority of people would be grateful and accept the caution. Accepting a caution is an admission of guilt. If it is classed as relevant conduct, you qualify to be referred & barred.
What is the time scale for referring a person?
You have 14 days to refer. Failure to refer or a delay in referring is an offence under the Welfare Regulations.