Reehan: Can you tell me a little bit more about GB Recruitment and your role within the organisation?
Becky: GB Recruitment is a teacher supply agency working in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and areas in and around East Cheshire. We were established in 2000 and have umbrella body status with the DBS. We also support organisations in the healthcare sector such as GP surgeries as well as the financial sector. We’ve been working with GBG for around 5 years now who support us with their online DBS checking service.
I head up our compliance function at GB Recruitment ensuring that we meet all regulatory requirements as set by the DBS. I also work closely with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), ensuring that we meet their standards too.
Reehan: We all know recruitment is a challenging sector at the best of times, how has the on-boarding and vetting of candidates changed for you since social distancing was introduced?
Becky: Well, the education sector has come to a complete standstill (for now!), but other sectors that employ key workers are still recruiting. Clearly a lot of the work we do as part of the recruitment process is to view candidates face-to-face, particularly for the DBS ID verification. Now that the rules have been relaxed temporarily around this, we still need to run checks whilst also being confident in knowing that we have seen candidate IDs electronically before-hand. We’re viewing candidate IDs electronically for now and will double check the IDs face to face at a later date in line with the current government guidance.
Having an online solution for DBS checks makes the situation that much easier though!
Reehan: How has social distancing impacted your own customers and how are you supporting them?
Becky: A lot of our customers are obviously either working from home, and in some instances are operating a skeleton staff structure. Different customers have varying requirements so we’ve had to adapt how and when we support our client base. Some of the queries come in at 9 o’clock at night (!) but we just have to do what we can to support them during these challenging times.
Some customers are mainly running renewed checks on existing staff, which means that they already have the valid ID documents on file so that bit is easier I suppose. Having online access to the actual DBS checks does make it easier for everyone concerned!
Reehan: Thanks Becky. It sounds like a challenging time, and am pleased to hear our technology is supporting both you and your customers. What advice would you give to others that run a similar recruitment operation such as yourself?
Becky: I think the first thing is to appreciate that everyone has varying requirements. For example the healthcare and education sectors are a lot more stringent in terms of the types of vetting that is required than other perhaps more commercial organisations. More generally though I would say that it’s important to focus on striking a balance between social distancing rules and compliance – we mustn’t let one compromise the other, and I think we’ve found that balance ourselves through the temporary relaxation of the rules and being able to use GBG’s technology for the actual vetting.
Some of the questions we get from customers relate to young people’s ID – they struggle with knowing what they can use particularly if they have just left school or college and might not possess the more traditional forms of ID that we all might possess. These questions might come from staff that normally work from regional offices or others that are based at a head office, which means that the questions can be quite varied and (as I mentioned before) come in out of hours. At the end of the day everyone is being impacted by working from home, and home schooling their children etc so we just have to be as flexible as we can.
Reehan: Thanks Becky, that’s some really beneficial advice I think we can all take on board. What’s your outlook on the future post-COVID?
Becky: That’s a really good question. We’re seeing a lot of organisations starting to consider how they will operate in a phased return. Social distancing is going to be something we will all have to manage very carefully whilst still maintaining compliant processes for the on-boarding and vetting of candidates. It will undoubtedly be a phased return to what might be a ‘new normal’, and we should continue to support each other with the best advice possible.
Reehan: Thank you Becky for your insights and advice. We look forward to supporting you and your clients further over the coming weeks and months.