My Practice

    Recruitment and selection of staff can be complex and all staff
    involved require training to undertake it successfully. Service
    user involvement in this process is not a new concept but to
    involve them without being tokenistic and without training presents
    a real challenge to me.

    For many years my day service has had a service user panel
    conducting interviews for candidates before a main interview with
    the management team. Once each panel has made a decision the
    results are discussed. This is where the difficulties start. On
    many occasions I have found myself appointing a person who is not
    the service users’ first choice. This does not rest easy with my
    values.
    My fears about this matter were recently alleviated when it was
    discussed at a day service managers’ meeting. We found that each
    day service had a variety of methods to involve the users and we
    felt that a more consistent approach was required.

    From this meeting, a colleague, Teresa Brough from Moorlands day
    service, Staffordshire, set up a working group, consisting of
    representatives from two other day services, the day service
    modernisation co-ordinator and a personnel manager. The aim of the
    group was to produce a team of trained service users to assist in
    the recruitment and selection process. The terms of reference were:
    “To formulate a training package for service users in recruitment
    with the department’s human resource section, developing inclusive
    interview panels while highlighting and promoting best
    practice.”

    The group has produced a training package for service users, making
    it accessible, using pictures, symbols and other media. The package
    involves looking at the designations we interview for, what sort of
    person we would want, how we would find that person and what
    questions we need to ask. It then goes on to discuss policies and
    legislation which includes confidentiality, equal opportunities and
    various relevant acts.

    Finally, the course covers decision-making, choosing the right
    person, how to disagree and feelings after the interview is
    completed.
    To give the training the credence it deserves, it will be held at
    the department’s staff development training centre. The plan now is
    to run a pilot course for service users from three of the nine day
    services. It is envisaged that the service users who complete the
    training will have a presence on the main interview panel.

    If the pilot training proves successful it will probably be offered
    to the other day services and to people who are resident in the
    local authority care homes.

    Ultimately, we would like to pay service users who are involved.
    This forward-thinking project could provide meaningful service user
    involvement in the recruitment and selection process.

    Nichola Edge manages a day service in Staffordshire for
    people with learning difficulties

    More from Community Care

    Comments are closed.