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The Non-reference


Guest jenpercy
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Guest jenpercy

We took on a new member of staff to help us in the holidays. We gave her a trial and loved her and I didn't actively chase up her references because the end of holidays came round. Next holidays OFSTED came and blasted me for not having references. I wrote to her other place of work and they wrote back confirming that she worked there and stating that it was against their policy to give references. I showed this to OFSTED next time they came and they weren't impressed. I have an action to get a prpoer reference - which I can from Superdrug. What use is that.

 

I am somewhat at a loss as to how a setting can refuse a reference to another setting. Previously I have been told that it good practice to get references from EVERY setting where the applicant has worked with children. What do you do if you can only get references from shops etc.

 

This is one of my favourite members of staff. She is very dependable, firm, fair experienced, done loads of training with special needs etc.

 

Will be writing to OFSTED for clarification but wondered if any of you had come across this

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You are under no obligation to provide a reference for an ex employee, and I think that's a good thing. I think that knowing that the reference you provide may be shown to the employee may be a barrier, and perhaps the time taken to do the paperwork might be another. There's not a lot you can do really. Superdrug may well be able to provide good information about a candidate in a reference - after all if you are interviewing someone with no childcare experience that may be the only kind of reference you are offered.

 

Maz

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We were told that references must be sought but that we shouldnt rely on them alone, phone the referee too as they could have been written by anyone. I dont think you have to give a reference but at least say why you wont. You need to knwo from them why she left not just her version, good as she is, she could have a past that isnt what you'd want, maybe suspicions, concerns that never went further.

Its harsh if you like this person so much and shes been with you for a long time. Would they give you a verbal one?

Edited by Rea
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used to ask about things which relate to any job when asking for references, not just childcare related ones.. particularly when they are starting out in childcare, and when asking from friends of prospective employees where it was a mum who had not worked for many years.. so there was no previous employee to ask!

 

I had a list of questions for them to answer on things like, timekeeping, reliability, working on own initiative, etc... anything which could relate to any employment situation. I sent them with a SAE to make it easier and so cost nothing for them to return it..did nto always work and had to chase several of them, but they did usually come back..

 

I was wary of verbal ones as they could be anyone answering and no written evidence. although I was often rung about them from others.

 

I have just done reference myself with start date and end date and confirmation they worked at the setting... the only reason being I felt unable to recommend her for the job she was applying for.. they did not ask any questions, so would rather not give a reference when I know I would not re employ them.

 

Inge

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~I had this, last year with a new employee her last place of work only clarified dates of employment and stated that it wasn't policy to give references. She managed to get her line manager to do a reference for her without their personnel team knowing! Not ideal though as said earlier they could've been really good friends.

Before this job I worked for a multi-national company (nothing to do with childcare) who also do not give references and they were the only company I'd ever worked for, so I didn't have anything of any use either, hope Ofsted never ask to see our references! :o

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Guest jenpercy

i rang the school today and spoke to the person that wrote the letter. I asked her (she knew what was coming) whether theyasked for references on anyone they employed. She told me that she herself had problems with this policy that was laid down by Autism UK, and that when she was in this position, she rang and asked for verbal clarificatin. She aws therefore happy to confirm that X was a good worker, very reliable, good at her job and that they had never taken disciplinary procedings against her.

 

Now I know that references can be unreliable, written by a friend, or someone who really wants to get rid of a member of staff (sometimes I amuse myself writing fantasy references for staff I've had enough of!)

 

however, there are certain facts, such as sickness record, discipline record that you need to know. I am about to redesign my reference requests along the lines of, if it is your policy not to give references, please confirm that you have never taken disciplinary procedings against this person etc.

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well said Inge

 

and Catma is right you should have references prior to interview, difficult i know but i guess its about being organised and getting the letters sent off

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I've completed the safer recruitment training on the cwdc website and this goes thru how to get references and even gives samples which are very thorough and something that I am now using. It recommends strongly that you should get a reference from their current or most recent employer but it doesnt say what you should do or if it does i cant rem regarding if they refuse the reference. Very inetersting tho considering the alliance seem to be against giving references to, whom then what are we to do, to assess a candidates ability, just tie ourselves in nots.

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Guest jenpercy
through recent safer recruitment training we have been advised that we are not allowed to offer a post without having written/signed references before interviewing.

Cx

 

QUITE

 

And if you can't get them!!!. it could be if you follow this advice, you will end up taking the only person who could get references!!!!!

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This maybe the best and safest route to follow but it's hardly practical is it? Most people if they are already working would not give permission for a reference to be sought if they have not even got an interview yet, would they? As jempercy says you could then end up taking on not the most suitable for the job but just the one who can get references prior to interview. Most job offers in any walk of life will state #subject to references'. If I was to offer a job to someone who didn't want references taken up I would then withdraw my offer. However if I was to ask prior to interview and get a refusal, I would just assume it was because they didn't want their current employer to know they were going for alternative jobs, which surely isn't unreasonable and is something many, many people do.

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through recent safer recruitment training we have been advised that we are not allowed to offer a post without having written/signed references before interviewing.

However what do you say to a candidate who would rather not disclose to their employer that she is looking for a job?

 

I've been pondering this - the Safer Recruitment guidance says you must get a reference from an applicant's most recent employer, but there is no obligation to provide a reference. So we need to know what to do in this situation - I feel another email to my LA development worker coming on!

 

Maz

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If you've had anyone leave and go onto claim job seeker's you'll have seen the form that they send out asking you to confirm the perosn worked for you and why they left & whether you'd employ them again - could we now refuse to fill these in if we're advised not to give references!? (Don't think so...)

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Guest jenpercy

isn't it the case that if you sacked them cos they wre useless, they get paid, but NOT if they decided they weren't right for the job and left you!

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isn't it the case that if you sacked them cos they wre useless, they get paid, but NOT if they decided they weren't right for the job and left you!

 

LOL I think so... We only had it once, for someone who'd been in on a temporary job that ended. Having said that, if she'd have been good, we'd have tried to find her some hours...

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I recently had this conversation with my hubby who informed me that the very large international company he works for will NOT give references at all! That's company policy.

 

One problem I have found when asking for references is that people are happy to give verbal refs over the phone, but fail to back them up in writing - this is a real pain!

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Guest jenpercy

My hhusband tells me that any reference he would be given would be from his HR department who don't know him from Adam - but as we don't have HR departments - surely it is a matter of responsibility to give references for safeguarding purposes.

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Interestingly I know of a childcare company who do not give references but ask for them....

 

We ask for references- if they have worked for a company who do not give them we ask them to give us personal references instead- but lets face it to be honest as many of you have already said... any Tom, Dick or Harry could have written them!

 

Bit like the CRB's only as good as the day they are issued and cannot guarantee anything.

 

My thoughts are that as far as safe recruitment is concerned in truth we are doing our best to protect the children AND ourselves but in reality they are fairly insufficient.

 

I rely VERY heavily on my induction and probation period and my staff whistleblowing policy and my disciplinary procedures once they've passed probation- so I can get rid of them quickly if I need to...!

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  • 1 month later...

We are in a similar predicament. We have interviewed and provisionally offered the post of manger to someone who on paper seems fantastic. however her present and last employers wont give her a reference. She says that the reason her present one wont give her a reference is because she is upset and feels betrayed that she is leaving. any advice on where to go from here will be very gratefully received.

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Guest jenpercy
We are in a similar predicament. We have interviewed and provisionally offered the post of manger to someone who on paper seems fantastic. however her present and last employers wont give her a reference. She says that the reason her present one wont give her a reference is because she is upset and feels betrayed that she is leaving. any advice on where to go from here will be very gratefully received.

 

Have you rung them and asked why they won't give a reference. we employed someone under similar circumstances. Her current employer told me that it was her company policy, but was happy to confirm that our applicant was suitable. Hwever, the previous employer, after first telling me that the timeperiod was too long ago, then went on to tell me that our lady was on weekly report when she worked for them. Actually we are more than happy with this person, she is one of our better workers - so the personality clash there was real.

 

equally, i emplyed someone else who told me she had isues with her previous employer. She then came too work for me. one month she was sick all but 8 days, taking time off from the afternoon job for blood tests, that I discovered are always in the morning to be ready for the courier in the afternoon. After she left me, she obviously did not give my name to her next employer (a school), and i heard through the grapevine that actually, she had had more jobs than she had told me about and she was openly admitting that all of the employers had a grudge against her.

 

What I am saying is that although a good reference is usually real, a bad reference or no reference may not be bad. I have been told by safer recruitment that the purpose of taking references is to check the employment history, although how that relates to those who admit periods of unemployment, or time off looking after family I don't know.

 

Contact previous employers and ask if they can confirm whether they had to discipline her formally, although heaven knows it is possible to be virtually useless without going as far as disciplining over misconduct.

 

All jobs sohould carry a 6 month probationary perio, and you can sack within first year. Good luck

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However what do you say to a candidate who would rather not disclose to their employer that she is looking for a job? Maz

 

It becomes a matter of the safeguarding of children over the possible employees sensibilities. It is another hurdle that could dissuade abusers from trying to access employment with children.

 

The references are part of the interview process. Our LA will not interview anyone for a post within Children's Services without them up front now.

 

Cx

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It becomes a matter of the safeguarding of children over the possible employees sensibilities. It is another hurdle that could dissuade abusers from trying to access employment with children.

I fully understand the need to place hurdles in front of professional abusers and when my deputy supervisor was looking for a new job she did tell me up front and so providing her with a reference was no problem. However if our relationship had been different and she hadn't felt able to tell me she was ready to move on, needing to get a reference up front would have been an issue.

 

Mind you, in the event she got the job on Monday, resigned on Tuesday and left on Thursday. So my reference may well have been very different had I been asked after the interview and not before.

 

Maz

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We are in a similar predicament. We have interviewed and provisionally offered the post of manger to someone who on paper seems fantastic. however her present and last employers wont give her a reference. She says that the reason her present one wont give her a reference is because she is upset and feels betrayed that she is leaving. any advice on where to go from here will be very gratefully received.

 

Is she currently employed in the same LEA as your setting? Is there anyone, like a liaison teacher, who knows her professionally and can confirm she actully works at the present setting? Or a chair of a committee? They may not be able to comment on how she actually perfoms on a day to day basis, but that could give you a start.

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I find this subject so difficult for so many reasons. I understand the need for them but to be honest the lack of guidance surrounding what you are and are not allowed to say does not help matters - what is often read on paper and seen in reality can be two different people!! You read a poor reference and see a good practitioner or vice versa.

 

And to be fair to the employee, it could just be they haven't find the right setting that fits their ethos or embraces them within the team rather than an ineptitude for childcare. I've seen it across rooms let alone settings!!

 

I like to judge as I find, rightly or wrongly

 

I can understand some settings refusing to write a reference, particularly if a long period has elapsed since they left but surely they could comment on factual information such as absence, time keeping, disciplinary stages,

 

Would it help if OFSTED/CRB made a sector decision within the EYFS Statutory requirements maybe as to what must be sought and commented on. (Not that I suppose it would ever happen)

 

It's harsh that we are to be judged on something that offers very little regulation and guidance.

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I find this subject so difficult for so many reasons. I understand the need for them but to be honest the lack of guidance surrounding what you are and are not allowed to say does not help matters - what is often read on paper and seen in reality can be two different people!! You read a poor reference and see a good practitioner or vice versa.

 

And to be fair to the employee, it could just be they haven't find the right setting that fits their ethos or embraces them within the team rather than an ineptitude for childcare. I've seen it across rooms let alone settings!!

 

I like to judge as I find, rightly or wrongly

 

I can understand some settings refusing to write a reference, particularly if a long period has elapsed since they left but surely they could comment on factual information such as absence, time keeping, disciplinary stages,

 

Would it help if OFSTED/CRB made a sector decision within the EYFS Statutory requirements maybe as to what must be sought and commented on. (Not that I suppose it would ever happen)

 

It's harsh that we are to be judged on something that offers very little regulation and guidance.

I soooooooooooooooooooo agree with what you have said

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