Shortage of People not just Skills Ahead

All employers are likely to be affected by the change in the UK’s workforce profile which will lead to a large gap in the numbers of available employees because:

  • By 2022, 14.5 million more jobs will be created, but only 7 million younger workers will enter the workforce – a gap of 7.5 million.
  • By 2020, the over 50s will comprise almost one third of the working age population and almost half of the adult population.

Employers will have to adjust their attitudes and no longer maintain a bias against older workers.  More important, is how employers will nurture the advantages of a higher proportion of older individuals in their employment and use their experience and skills to the benefit of the organisation and the development of young workers.

Dispelling the Myths about the Unreliability of Older Workers

Lower sickness rates are not often associated with older individuals but that is the evidence from insurers and other sources.  Older workers also bring a maturer outlook and set of skills to the organisation.

There are also significant advantages to employing more older individuals as they are part of the corporate glue that leads to more effective engagement with employees and managers.

You can read more about the advantages and sources of help to enable employers to prepare for the changes ahead in our blog article, ‘ Older Employees – Organisational Asset or Liability?’

Would you like to discuss the above issues in the context of your organisation
on recruiting and managing older workers,if so contact, the author by writing to him or calling him on 07808 765588.

© 2017 HR Management Dimensions Ltd.

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Changes to Spent Periods for Declaring Fines, Convictions etc. *

Although many roles in a school are covered by an exception order requiring individuals to declare any convictions, there are still a few roles that may fall within the Rehabilitation of Offenders regulations. There are over 1 million convictions per year so it is likely, at some point, that managers will come across applicants or existing staff who have convictions. Are your managers aware of the changes to spent offences including those for which the periods have been reduced significantly?

For a summary of when offences become spent for the purposes of applying for employment or insurance or similar, there is:

Both can be shared with your managers provided the full source is acknowledged.

Primary Schools – Non Disclosure Protection for Others in the Same Household

There is a further point that schools need to bear in mind. Staff who are looking after children (i.e. in a childcare role) do not have to declare spent convictions or cautions etc. of other individuals who live or work in the same household as the member of staff. The proviso is that those convictions are actually spent in which case the Rehabilitation of Offenders regulations apply and disclosure is not required by the member of staff.

This provision is sometimes known as ‘disqualification by association’. The DfE amended its guidance in February of this year [1] to emphasise that disclosure should not be required.

Child Care Staff Covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Regulations

The following roles are protected by the above regulations re non disclosure of spent offences:

  • Early years provision up to and including reception class whether during or outside of school hours;
  • Child care up to the age of 8 provided out of school hours ;
  • Senior leaders or managers directly involved in the management of early or later years child care provision and that includes volunteers or casual workers concerned with the above.

Staff are still required to disclose any one living or working in their household whose conviction is not spent or whose name appears on the DBS Children’s Barred List.

Heads and Governors should note that schools should not retain information about convictions that is not relevant to an individual’s employment or for an offence that has been spent.

Sources: [1] Disqualification Under the Childcare Act 2006 – DfE Statutory Guidance, Feb 2015.

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© 2015 HR Management Dimensions

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Loophole Closed on Gaining Access to Criminal Records of Employees

Some employers try to circumvent the Disclosure and Barring route to assess whether an employee is suitable for a job by requiring the employee or volunteer to submit a subject access request and give the results about his/her criminal record to the employer. Some employers view this method as more advantageous as it is both cheaper (£10 maximum) and fuller details are revealed compared to a Disclosure and Barring return.

Illegal Pressure

From 10th March 2015, using that route is likely to result in a conviction and fine as it will be in breach of section 56 of the Data Protection Act. It will be illegal to require an individual or a third party to supply you with a relevant record or to produce a relevant record to you if that is in connection with the following:

  • the recruitment of another person as an employee;
  • the continued employment of another person:
  • any contract for the provision of services to him by
    another person.

The regulation is cast wide in that if you encourage or incentivize an individual to use his subject access right to obtain such information that will be an offence. For example, making a tentative offer of a job but first requiring to see the results of a subject access request will be illegal. The exception will be if another regulation permits the use of subject access information for such purposes.

Beware False Assumptions

While reading the above, you may have been thinking, “We don’t do that in any case”. Are you sure that none of your managers resort to such measures during recruitment? Do not assume but make it explicit to all your managers that such action is not acceptable. Explain what the acceptable way is to obtain such information.

This article may be shared with colleagues provided the full source is acknowledged as below and copies are not used for competitive, commercial purposes.

© 2014 HR Management Dimensions

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The Price Tag of Continuous Service

You are sitting with colleagues about to offer a job to an interviewee.  The latter has been advised well as he asks you directly, ” I would like to be assured that you will recognise my previous continuous service in the offer for this role?”  The candidate is very experienced for the role and you are keen to seal the offer.  So you answer, “Yes, once it has been verified”.  What have you recognised and at what cost?

Statutory Continuous Service

Such service builds an individual’s entitlement to rights such as notice periods, eligibility to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy pay.  When you agree to recognise continuous service, you may inherit a long period of unbroken service which could, for example, result in up to 20 years of service being taken into account for redundancy pay.  Thus it pays to be aware of what costs you may inherit.

As it is a statutory principle, most employers have to recognise such service. However, some organisations go further and recognise a wider definition of previous service that will count for benefits etc.

Strict Reckoning of What Service Counts

Statutory continuous service is based on a strict principle. To be reckonable, service must be unbroken. A gap of just one week will break the service record. A week is measured from a Sunday but will count even if less than an hour of work was performed or if no work was performed in a week if the following applies:

  • A contract was in existence even if no work was carried out that week
  • The week by arrangement or custom is deemed to be a period of employment such as a term time worker who is not required to work during the school holidays or a woman on ordinary maternity leave.

Other situations can also arise leading to the recognition of continuous service if an individual is:

  • Incapable of carrying out his work due to sickness or injury for up to 26 weeks and is then re-employed – those weeks will be treated as continuous service.
  • Absent from work due to a temporary cessation of work even if the contract does not continue.

A Break in Service

If none of the above apply and an individual has a ‘gap’ of one week in his employment, he will be treated as having broken his statutory continuous service.

In most cases that means the service before the break will not be reckoned as statutory continuous service. However, there are some situations in which the service will not be broken but certain weeks will not be counted e.g. strikes – those weeks will not count but do not break continuous service.

In many cases, continuous service only with the current employer will count. For example, schools are not regarded as associated organisations and service with another school even within the same LA is not regarded as statutory continuous service but note the points below.

The Hidden Cost

[Author’s update] If the employer is the local authority, then any continuous service with that authority will count which will include working at other schools of the same authority whether in support and/or teaching roles.

An expensive mistake can be made if you contract to recognise service that is not continuous as you will be liable under the contract to recognise such service. Verbal or written offers of employment should make it clear that recognition of service is subject to verification of reckonable statutory continuous service and relevant previous service for particular rights and benefits.

Before answering the interviewee’s question, you should consider the real cost as you may inherit longer service because of an industry wide agreement. For example, if the interviewee has been working for a local authority type of employer, his service may count under what is known as the Modification Order.  The service must be continuous but may have been built up across several employers.  The last employer will inherit the liability for the whole continuous service of the individual

As individuals move between maintained schools and academies, you will need to have a policy on whether or not you will recognise their previous service.  Service with an academy counts for redundancy purposes but it does not have to be counted for some benefits.  In deciding your policy, you may need to take account of the thoughts below.

A Beneficial Price Tag

Some managers will be tempted to engineer a break in service to keep costs down or delay an individual accruing the right to claim unfair dismissal.  A more effective mindset is to consider the value of the experience and transferable skills that an individual will bring to the school.  Yes, that will have a price tag if things go wrong but as managers we have to nurture a culture that makes expectations explicit and provides a work environment for individuals to apply their skills to the benefit of the school as well as their own development and satisfaction from the exercise of their skills.

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© 2014 HR Management Dimensions

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Employment of Teachers – Qualified Rather than Registered Teaching Status *

Provisional or full registration  with the General Teaching Council is no longer a condition for the employment of a teacher. However, the demise of the General Teaching Council has created uncertainty amongst employers about the criteria to check to see if a teacher is approved to practice in the UK.

The focus now is upon whether the individual has:

  • A recognised qualification to teach
  • Qualified teaching status (QTS) or QTLS
  • Completed satisfactorily any required induction or probation period (not applicable to holders of QTLS)
  • Not been placed on a list kept by the Secretary of State of individuals who are:
    • prohibited from teaching or
    • placed on an interim list pending the outcome of an investigation or
    • the subject of a suspension or conditional order imposed by the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) which has not expired.

Both QTS and QTLS holders should be able to give their DfE number also referred to as a Teacher Reference Number`.

Checking status on line

Schools are able to check the above via the Teaching Agency which operates an on line service for employer checks. The Teaching Agency does not keep details of individuals who hold qualified teacher learning and skills (QTLS). The latter can be checked via the Institute for Learning (IfL) but schools should note that QTLS holders must be current members of the IfL to retain qualified teacher status. See our earlier article on employment of QTLS teachers.

Practical Implications

Offer letters and contracts should be revised to remove references to the requirement to be provisionally or fully registered.

Checklists for staff should also be revised to ensure the above checks are carried out as well as the eligibility of the individual to work in the uk in the particular teaching role..

Although, the status of a teacher can be checked on line as noted above, it is wise to request to see the original qualification certificate of the individual.

© 2010 HR Management Dimensions

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