One of the longest running dilemmas when you outsource any of your services to a third party is managing the risk. Whether you’re delegating to an internal colleague or an external partner there will always be some element of risk, but there are ways of making sure this is kept to a minimum.

With any third party recruitment partner, you should be taking a close look at their affiliations and accreditations. Do they work to a code of practice? Do they belong to an organisation that scrutinises quality? Have they gone through the relevant checks? Do they have an independent audit or are they associated with a recognised accreditation?

Within the corporate world, the level of risk is generally aligned to a cost to the client’s business. For example, if a recruitment firm working in the financial sector places the wrong candidate, the biggest risk is loss of money or additional cost to the client firm. However, in other sectors of recruitment, such as social work or education, the key risk is to the public. In these arenas, every individual working with children, young people or vulnerable adults has to be checked at the very highest level. Not only does a recruitment firm have to consider the skills of the individual and check whether or not they appear on the barred list, but they also have to interview more thoroughly to understand a candidate’s drive to work with these vulnerable groups. Get it wrong in these sectors, and the human collateral consequences are a whole lot more important than the material loss to a blue chip client. It is every stakeholder’s responsibility to make it as hard as possible for those with malevolent intentions to gain any position of trust within any institution that has access to these vulnerable groups.

When APSCo was asked to move into the education and social work recruitment sectors, we were truly shocked to find out that there was a very low level of safeguarding when a client engaged a recruitment partner in these arenas. Only a criminal element hiding behind a recruitment business purposely puts in a bad candidate. However, unless there is an independent review of a recruitment firm’s day-to-day practice, there is always a possibility that even a firm with the best intentions will have  someone slip through the net.

This was a key driver for APSCo to develop Compliance+, an independent best practice standard that reaches across both education and social work recruitment. In fact, the social work edition was launched earlier this month. We have been encouraged by the high level of stakeholder engagement, which includes leading unions, associations, schools and local authorities. Indeed, end clients are now starting to demand that their suppliers in these sectors either hold these new standards or are working towards them.

Compliance+ does exactly what any best practice in quality standard should – it gives a client confidence when selecting a recruitment partner that they are doing their utmost to protect not only the client, but also, and surely more importantly, the children and the vulnerable adults that depend on the sector’s recruitment.

For more information on Compliance+, visit the APSCo website.