Police organisation teams up with NAHT to beat recruitment fraud

The NAHT union is teaming up with a Metropolitan Police website to tackle recruitment fraud.

Schools will be told about an organisation providing free advice about job scams to which leaders can report any fraud problems.

A Schools Week investigation last march found hundreds of schools are using apps to employ supply teachers, but union leaders warned that ineffective safety checks could see fake teachers enter the classroom.

SAFERjobs, a non-profit created by the police, publishes a list of verified organisations which signpost jobseekers and employers to reputable companies. It is free to check the site, and free to sign up as a recognised body once you can show you meet the necessary standards.

The website works across several sectors, and recently partnered with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to combat fraudsters who coerce jobseekers and employers to pay for certificates that never materialise.

There are lots of illegitimate and bogus recruitment companies taking cash from schools

Ian Hartwright, senior policy adviser for the NAHT, told Schools Week that in a “massive recruitment and retention crisis”, working with SAFERjobs was “a really good opportunity to help protect our members”.

An NAHT report from November 2017 found school leaders were struggling to fill 63 per cent of their open posts.

Hartwright said the shortage of suitable recruits is forcing schools to pay additional fees just to fill their vacancies, and that there are “lots of illegitimate and bogus recruitment companies” taking cash from schools.

“Leadership time is getting limited in some schools, particularly smaller schools where budget cuts have really started to bite,” he said. “If leaders are under pressure a service like this is really useful.”

Keith Rosser, the chair of SAFERjobs, said he regularly sees cases of workers charged for police checks or training they do not need.

“We also see staff provided to schools without police checks and other relevant documentation,” he added.

“Our mission is to raise awareness amongst schools, workers, and the recruitment sector. We urge all schools to ensure any recruitment organisations they currently work with are partnered with SAFERjobs,” he said.

Schools Week recently revealed that one online training company had published a job advert on The Guardian’s jobs site untruthfully telling teaching assistants that they “required” a non-regulated qualification in order to take on the role. It offered to provide a course leading to the certification for “as little as £40 per week”.