Local authorities are having to work harder to provide best value across a range of vital front-line services at a time when budgets are diminishing.
According to the Institute for Government, local authority spending power – the level of funding councils have to spend because of government grants, council tax and business rates – fell by 17.5% between 2009/10 and 2019/20.
In a situation where it is vital to do more with less, the last thing local authorities need is to employ someone who is dishonest or unfit to conduct their role.
With the cost of fraud to local government across the UK estimated at £2.2bn, it is essential such people are kept out of public services. Making sure candidates are properly screened and vetted is vital to achieving this aim.
That’s why Reed Screening is proud to be involved in the production of a new toolkit that will make local authority hiring faster and safer than ever before.
The Better Hiring Toolkit for Local Authorities has been created by the Better Hiring Institute – whose advisory board I chair – with input from the government and other advisors, including Reed.
This toolkit is the most comprehensive ever produced, giving local authorities the ability to hire against best practice standards.
It aims to prevent the employment of staff who are not honest about their personal circumstances, achievements, or identities, and does so at the same time as blasting through legacy rules to move away from bureaucracy that isn't needed anymore.
Facilitating best practice in hiring
The Better Hiring Institute was set up between government and industry during the pandemic to modernise the way hiring takes place across the UK.
It has an overall goal of making hiring faster, fairer, and safer, leading the way on digital hiring and championing fair practices by identifying barriers that need to be removed to create a truly modern workforce.
Part of this work has been the introduction of best practice toolkits, with Better Hiring Toolkits already in place for social care, financial services, and education.
Reed Screening has been proud to collaborate on these projects. We were invited as one of several experts to give our opinions, thoughts, and knowledge to help shape the guides, including the new Better Hiring Toolkit for Local Authorities which consists of a wide variety of case studies, template documents and forms.
What’s even better is because it is a collaboration and due to the input from government, it also provides employers with advice on where they can get further help and where to report any issues that might crop up during the hiring process. For example, not only does the toolkit supply information on how to select and choose the right recruitment agency and which are accredited externally, it also gives information about the regulators to report agencies to if things do go wrong.
The toolkit also allows local authorities to spot the signs that workers may not be being treated properly, and where to send employees for further help and advice should they have issues.
Not only that, but it is also completely free to use and as an online document that can be downloaded via the Better Hiring Institute website, it can be used as a whole or section by section as it refers to different phases in the hiring process.
Making UK hiring the fastest in the world:
The information in the toolkit is based on the very latest industry knowledge. As well as the input and information provided by the UK government, you have the experience and expertise of The Better Hiring Institute, which works with thousands of employers. The Institute is constantly absorbing the latest best practice and news, thoughts, and trends – and all of this is passed into the toolkit alongside input from Reed Screening.
As an organisation, we are delighted to be able to contribute to a guide like this and to give something back to employers. This work has so many benefits in terms of innovating, safeguarding, and improving the hiring process, leading to a boost to the economy, and helping more people find jobs more quickly.
It means those bad actors that are out there are weeded out as they are seen more easily by councils which are using this best practice and advice.
Currently, there’s a real challenge in the UK. There are lots of cottage-industry style rules and systems across various hiring processes. Being close to this work has really highlighted to me how some of these legacy rules are preventing innovation. By standardising hiring practices, this toolkit means every local government body can have a proper digital process and can blast through out-of-date bureaucracy to take advantage of broad strategic principles.
Ultimately, this work will help make UK the fastest country in the world in terms of hiring. Once organisations can do fast digital hiring in a safe way, then they can start to think about their business models. This can be really transformative, and the more organisations which benefit, the faster the UK as a whole moves forward.