Recruitment policy

Policy overview

Our employees are fundamental to our success. We aim to recruit a diverse and consistently high performing workforce. We recruit people with the knowledge and skills needed to help us achieve our goals, in line with our vision and values.  

We ensure that our recruitment processes are:  

  • fair  
  • consistent  
  • transparent  
  • cost-effective  
  • in line with equality and diversity practices   


We will manage confidential information, carefully and in line with our information governance policy. This applies during and after the process. 

There is no requirement for a recruitment process if:   

  • a person is progressing through a bar. For example, social worker level 1 moving to a level 2 post following a career progression panel
  • we offer employment-based training to support employees to qualify in a chosen discipline. For example, training to become a social worker  
  • a person will be doing the same job at the same grade, but moving to a different location  
  • a person is having their hours of work increased or decreased  

Internal candidates should notify their manager if applying for secondment opportunities. Managers may provide support and discuss arrangements concerning this.   

A minimum of one member of a selection panel must have attended recruitment and selection training.   

All involved in recruitment and selection to safer recruitment posts must attend safer recruitment training.   

We will carry out pre-employment checks before a successful candidate can commence their employment with us. Successful candidates cannot commence employment with us until we have carried out all the relevant pre-employment checks.

The hiring manager will follow the current resource approval process before advertising a vacancy. 

Ensuring fair and legal recruitment  

Anyone involved in recruitment must be aware of their responsibilities under UK legislation. We provide training and additional resources to managers to ensure we comply with all statutory requirements. These include:    

  • Data Protection Act 2018, which incorporates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013. For further information, please see the Recruitment and Vetting Checks – Criminal Records Policy  
  • Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 
  • Children Act, Section 11 (2004) 
  • Equality Act 2010 
  • Protection of Freedom Act 2012 
  • Fluency Duty  

We are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all. We prohibit discrimination throughout all stages of recruitment. We will always undertake shortlisting, interviewing and selection without regard to:  

  • gender 
  • trans status 
  • sexual orientation 
  • marital or civil partnership status 
  • colour, race, nationality 
  • ethnic or national origins 
  • religion or belief 
  • age 
  • pregnancy or maternity leave  
  • trade union membership.  

Read this policy in line with our diversity and inclusion policy.  

We recognise and value the diversity of our workforce and communities. We seek to ensure that all the attributes, talents and skills available throughout the community is recognised when employment opportunities arise.  

We are also committed to the development of our employees. We encourage internal applications for opportunities available.  

We embed health and wellbeing within our recruitment processes. We provide an environment which supports staff to maintain and enhance their health and wellbeing at work. This includes mental health as well as physical health. We embed this approach at all stages, including: 

  • job design 
  • selection 
  • recruitment 
  • training 
  • development 
  • appraisal 

Disabled applicants are guaranteed an interview if they meet the minimum requirements of the job description and person specification.

We will offer an interview to care leavers who meet the minimum criteria for the post. They must inform us of their care leaver status at the time of their application.  

For the purpose of this policy a care leaver is a young person aged between 16 and 25 who has left our care after being previously looked after. A care leaver must have been looked after by children services for: 

  • at least 13 weeks between the ages of 14-16 
  • or, has spent 13 weeks cumulatively after their 16th birthday under the care of the local authority 
  • have been the subject of a Special Guardianship Order and was in care before the Order was made

An applicant's gender identity is irrelevant other than in defined circumstances. There is no requirement for a trans person to disclose their status. If revealed, it will be kept confidential by all those involved. 

If documentation reveals a previous name and thereby gender history, we will keep this confidential. We will store all information securely with the permission of the individual.  

The same approach applies to qualification certificates presented before confirmation of a job offer. The certificates may be in an applicant's previous name. 

During interviews, we will not ask applicants about their gender identity or gender history. If an individual chooses to mention this, we will inform them that we support trans employees. We will assure them that the disclosure will have no bearing on the outcome of the interview. The information will remain confidential.  

Trans people may have to disclose their previous identity for us to obtain references from past employers. If this applies, we will keep such information confidential.  

Selection criteria

We aim to recruit the most suitable person for the job. We will base this on ability and individual merit, measured against the job criteria. We will assess qualifications, experience and skills at the level that is relevant to the job.  

We base all employment decisions solely on job-related objective criteria, including: 

  • recruitment 
  • selection 
  • promotion 
  • training  
  • career development 

We will produce an up-to-date job description and person specification for all posts. The job description describes: 

  • duties 
  • responsibilities 
  • level of seniority 

The person specification describes: 

  • the qualities of the person required 
  • experience 
  • capability 
  • type of qualifications 
  • knowledge 
  • aptitudes 
  • competencies 
  • values 
  • other relevant factors to ensure adequate performance 

It is unlawful for an employer to specify that they require a person with particular characteristics for a role. The exception is where there is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR). We have to objectively justify this as a 'proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim'. Any manager wishing to apply this exemption must first seek HR advice. 

Fluency duty 

Fluency duty applies to people working in a public-facing role. We must ensure they speak a sufficient level of English to carry out their role effectively. This applies to face-to-face or telephone communication. It must be a regular and intrinsic part of their role to do this.

The duty applies to: 

  • employees 
  • workers 
  • apprentices 
  • agency workers  

It applies to both existing and new staff.  

We do not consider employees who occasionally speak to the public as working in a public-facing role. In these cases, discussions with the public are not a regular or intrinsic part of their role.  

For a worker who uses sign language, we must provide an interpreter who speaks English to the necessary standard for the role. We will apply the same standard of spoken English to agency workers as employees working in an equivalent role.  

Selection panel  

The hiring manager will establish a selection panel consisting of two or more people. The same selection panel, where possible, will carry out all shortlisting and interviewing. We will pre-book dates for this. 

Disclosure of personal relationships  

All applicants must disclose on the application form if they are related to any councillors or employees of the authority. We ask applicants to state the name of the person and the relationship.  

Any employee who is related to, or has a close personal relationship with the candidate, cannot be involved in the appointment process.  


Managers will ensure that the interview questions are not in any way discriminatory or unnecessarily intrusive. The interview will focus on the needs of the job and skills needed for the role.    

As a 'disability confident' employer, we will put in place any reasonable adjustments for candidates. We ask candidates to confirm if they require special arrangements at the 'invite to interview' stage. 

Arrangements may include, but are not limited to:  

  • allowing deaf or speech impaired people to bring a signer or interpreter with them 
  • alerting employees to be prepared to show visually-impaired people to the place of interview 
  • ensuring the interview is accessible to all candidates, or that assistance is available 
  • allocating extra time for interviews or assessments 
  • contacting occupational health for advice on additional adjustments 

In accordance with safer recruiting requirements, hiring managers must complete the candidate interview assessment form for all candidates. Candidates must explain any gaps in employment and training history. Managers should record this. 


We will ask for references after making a conditional offer.

  • Standard recruitment
    External candidates who have three years or more continuous service with their current employer must supply one satisfactory reference.

    External candidates with less than three years’ service must supply two references.  The hiring manager will confirm if the references are satisfactory.
  • Safer recruitment
    All external appointments are subject to two satisfactory work references.  One reference must be the applicant's present or most recent employer. One referee should be able to refer to their most recent work with children or vulnerable adults.

In exceptional cases, either one or both references do not need to be work references. This may apply to school-leavers, or returners to work after a long career break. Where this is the case, we will seek character references instead. 

Under safer recruitment if a candidate has lived, studied or worked overseas for a period of more than three months in the previous five years, they must provide a statement of good conduct. This is sometimes referred to as a certificate of good repute. It must relate to the time they resided in that country.

The exception is if they are serving, or living with someone who is serving, in the armed forces during that time. We would only expect an applicant to apply for this after we make an offer of employment.  

Internal candidates will be expected to provide one reference from their current line manager

If the candidate has applied for a position in a children's residential care home:

  • if a candidate has previously worked with children or adults, the manager must verify why the employment or position ended, where practical. Residential homes are audited against this requirement. 
  • both external and internal candidates must provide two references

Outcomes after interview

Unsuccessful - the candidate is not suitable for the position

We will inform unsuccessful candidates of the outcome of their interview, as soon as possible. The hiring manager will provide feedback to candidates if requested. The hiring manager will, where possible, provide some information about where the candidate did not meet the required criteria.

Unsuccessful - placed in the talent pool  

The selection panel may consider placing unsuccessful candidates in the talent pool. This applies to candidates who have met all the selection criteria in the recruitment process.  

We retain talent pool candidates for: 

  • three months following the date of the interview. We may offer automatically offer candidates an equal position  
  • three to six months following the date of the interview. We may invite candidates to interview for an equal position. They do not need to re-apply 

Candidates in the talent pool can request to update their CV or profile. We will remove the candidate's details after six months. If a suitable position becomes available, candidates will have to submit a new application. 

Conditional offer  

Where a candidate is successful, we will make a conditional offer of employment. We then undertake all necessary pre-employment recruitment and vetting checks before making a final offer. Pre-employment checks include, but are not limited to: 

  • identity checks 
  • qualifications and certificates 
  • asylum and immigration (right to work) checks 
  • (enhanced) DBS or criminal records checks 
  • pre-employment medical or health screening 
  • employment and character references  
  • professional registration checks 

We may withdraw a conditional offer of employment where any of the above checks are not satisfactory. We deem what is satisfactory. If candidates fail to complete their pre-employment checks within 15 days of the process commencing, we may withdraw the offer.  

Right to work in the UK  

We carry out a right to work in the UK check.  The check is part of the interview process, before any applicant is permitted to start work. Checks will be undertaken via a digital app.  The process is centrally administered and the hiring manager will be notified of the outcome.

If a candidate cannot provide valid digital documents, the hiring manager will be notified.  We will then need to conduct a right to work document check face to face.

The hiring manager must see the applicant's original documents, with the applicant present, and check that:  

  • the documents are genuine, original and unchanged. The documents belong to the person who has provided them 
  • the dates for the applicant's right to work in the UK have not expired 
  • photos are the same across all documents and look like the applicant 
  • dates of birth are the same across all documents 
  • the applicant has permission to do the type of work we are offering. This includes any limit on the number of hours they can work 
  • students must provide evidence of their study and vacation times 
  • if two documents give different names, the applicant has supporting documents showing why they are different. This can be a marriage certificate or divorce decree.  

For more information see the recruitment and vetting checks policy - Right to Work in the UK.

Additional checks at interview 

As well as Right to Work checks, hiring managers must check: 

  • identify
  • proof of qualifications, applicable to the role 
  • proof of professional registrations, applicable to the role 

The manager must copy the original documents then sign and date them.

Safer recruitment   

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. We expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.   

An offer of employment is conditional on satisfactory completion of DBS checks. This will be dependent on the post in question.  

A candidate may refuse to: 

  • an application to the DBS  
  • allow us to see a DBS certificate 

If they do so, will treat them as not having completed the DBS check satisfactorily. No candidate can start employment with us until they satisfy all our specified conditions.  

Not all criminal convictions are a bar to employment. We will consider the result of a DBS check on an individual basis. We will act proportionately when deciding whether or not to proceed with the appointment. However, the protection of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is our primary concern.  

We recognise that safer recruitment requires a robust, systematic, but sensitive approach. All those involved in the process of recruitment and selection to posts should strictly adhere to this policy.  Safer recruitment is just one part of our approach to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. In addition to safer recruitment, we ensure the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults by implementing: 

  • safe working practices 
  • effective training in recognising signs of abuse 
  • effective procedures for responding to concerns 

Appointing one point below

We have a collective agreement with recognised trade unions. This provides managers with the ability to appoint 'one point below' in exceptional circumstances. 

We usually appoint candidates on the grade relevant to the position. This grade will be included in job adverts, recruitment packs and confirmed in discussions with the hiring manager.  

In exceptional circumstances, where a candidate does not fully meet the criteria for the post, we may appoint them to a single salary point, one point below the incremental grade minimum. They can be on this salary point for a period of up to 12 months. 

We define 'one point below' as the spine column point below the lowest point of the appropriate grade. We will regard this as a single-point appointment and we will not award increments. 

This process cannot apply to Grade 1 posts. It is unlikely to apply to posts paid on a single spine column point. 

Where it does apply, we will advise candidates through the recruitment process. If not, as a minimum, we will inform them when we make them a conditional offer. We will confirm it in their offer pack. The relevant terms and conditions will be those applying to the grade appointed to, not the grade for the job.  

Criteria for appointing one point below 

It applies where the appointee does not fully meet the requirements usually expected for the role, including: 

  • skills and knowledge 
  • aptitude and conduct 
  • qualifications or suitable progress towards achieving required qualifications 

Time limit 

One point below appointments are time-limited to 12 months. At the end of 12 months, the employees should have acquired: 

  • the required skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications
  • or, be making suitable progress towards achieving the required qualification  

The probation policy gives information on how to support and review performance through the 12 months.  

Health clearance, data protection and Proper Officer process

All new employees must go through a health clearance before their appointment. Our occupational health provider carries this out.  

We will arrange for a health questionnaire to be sent to the candidate via our online portal. Occupational health will notify the employee's manager of: 

  • any reasonable adjustments required 
  • any other health concern that the manager needs to be aware of, in agreement with the employee

Compliance with data protection 

We process personal data collected during the recruitment process as per our data protection policy. This covers processing special categories of personal data and criminal records data.  

We hold data collected as part of the recruitment process securely. It is only accessed by, and disclosed to, individuals involved in managing the recruitment exercise. 

Inappropriate access or disclosure of job applicant data constitutes a data breach. It should be reported immediately as per our data protection policy. It may also constitute a disciplinary offence and would be dealt with under our disciplinary policy.

Proper Officer process

The proper officer process must be completed before a conditional offer is made, under the circumstances set out below.

Chief Officers are appointed by the appointments committee, which includes 12 councillors and at least one executive councillor. Chief Officers includes the roles of Head of Paid Service and Executive Directors.

Following an appointment, all executive councillors are asked whether they have a well-founded objection against the decision. An offer of employment as a Chief Officer can only be confirmed if no well-founded objection has been made by any member of the Executive.

This process is set out in Part 4 pages 97/98 of the Constitution and should be managed by the Proper Officer (Head of Paid Service), or the nominated Executive Director where the Head of Paid Service is being appointed to, once notified by the Chairman of the Appointments Committee.

Where the Head of Paid Service is being appointed, the full Council must approve that appointment before an offer of appointment is made.

The Proper Officer process is administered by the Head of HR. 

The Proper Officer process also applies to Assistant Director, Director appointments and all Officers (other than clerical and administrative staff) who report directly to the Head of Paid Service; this may on occasion refer to Heads of Service. The appointments committee process does not apply to these roles.

Once the preferred candidate has been identified, they are informed that they are the preferred candidate subject to the Proper Officer process. The candidate's references can be requested during the Proper Officer process with the candidate's consent. Once concluded, a conditional offer of employment can be made.

When all pre-employment checks have been completed the written final offer can be issued. 

Induction and probation

The probationary period and induction are part of the candidate's on-boarding process. Our induction programme is structured to support new employees to integrate into their role, service area and the authority. 

Where a new employee has personal circumstances or commitments which may impact them when at work, we encourage employees to use a personal support passport (PSP). This passport helps to start discussions between the line manager and the employee so that working arrangements, flexibility or reasonable adjustments can be put in place.

Employees will take part in an employee induction programme. They will also participate in their local service area induction. The individual's manager will provide full details as per our learning and development policy.

A risk assessment should be carried out before a new employee with a known disability or long term illness starts work. An example risk assessment can be found in Lincs2Learn. If the employee needs a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) to be able to evacuate the building in case of emergency, the manager should discuss this with the employee.  Further information is available on the Fire Safety Policy in the Health and Safety Manual.

Probation period  

All new employees are subject to a six-month probation period before we confirm their appointment. We will advise the employee of any exceptions to this. 

We refer to the probation policy when managing probation periods. We may end probation early or extend it following discussions with the managers and employees concerned.  

Probation periods allow us to assess a new employee's suitability in the role. It enables the employee to demonstrate their ability to perform their duties effectively. It provides them with the opportunity to become familiar with the primary duties and tasks of their post.  

They can demonstrate the standard of performance, attendance and conduct we expect of them. It is also an opportunity for the new employee to decide if the job is suitable for them.  

New employees will have an initial appraisal shortly after starting their employment. The manager will set objectives and targets appropriate for the role. This will assist the employee in reaching the level of performance we require to confirm their role.  

We may terminate an appointment if a new employee's performance against the following is not satisfactory during the probation period: 

  • targets and objectives set 
  • conduct 
  • timekeeping 
  • sickness absence 
  • attendance 

We will provide one month's notice of termination within the probation period. This is regardless of grade. The local terms of conditions of service confirm this.  

Sponsorship scheme for migrant workers 

The UK Government provides an assessment system for the appointment of foreign national (non-UK or Irish workers) into the UK.

The conditions upon which we can offer foreign national workers are strict. Failure to adhere to relevant rules and regulations can result in legal proceedings against the employee and us.  

Migrants need to meet certain criteria to work as a skilled worker within the UK with effect from 1 January 2021.

We are an appointed sponsor. This allows us, under restricted circumstances, to sponsor specifically-skilled workers, to work for us providing certain conditions are met. 

 For more details, read: