Preventing abuse through pre-employment checks: An international review

Jill Manthorpe*, Valerie Lipman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to summarise the findings of a desk-based international review investigating the checking of staff and volunteers working with adults who are vulnerable or at risk (or similarly defined) receiving social care in their own homes, or in day centres or residential care. Design/methodology/approach " In England, as part of the government's attempts to prevent harm to vulnerable people, employers must check if their staff or volunteers are barred from working with vulnerable adults in the health and care sectors or if they have a relevant criminal record. This review sought to explore practices elsewhere, with a view to informing policy and practice debates. The review was undertaken in winter 2014-2015. It mainly involved a search of internet-based material and databases. This was further informed by communications with experts and practitioners from different countries. Findings " The review found a variety of practices, ranging from no checks to substantial checks involving fingerprinting. Reasons for checks identified in different national contexts extend from efforts to stop fraudulent use of government subsidies to minimising the risk of harm to vulnerable adults, and more positively to enhance user and public trust in care providers. A small number of countries place particular emphasis on the rights of individuals to privacy and rehabilitation and this moral imperative overrides other policy goals. This review highlighted a lack of clarity in publicly available documents about the potentially multiple policy goals of different schemes and suggests that there may be advantages to clarifying the options available from other countries. Research limitations/implications " This review was confined to English language material and to material located through internet searching. Some material may not have been updated on internet sites. Originality/value " The details of the processes have not previously been collated to the best of the author's knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adult Protection
Issue number6
Early online date14 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Learning/intellectual disabilities
  • Legal
  • Mental health
  • Older people
  • Police checks
  • Safeguarding


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