Thames Reach
Sunday 19 November 2017
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Structural review

Thames Reach's constitution, funding contracts, legal position and insurance polices did not impose any procedural or structural restrictions relating to the employment of service users.


No constitutional obstacles were identified after a thorough review of all documentation relating to the governance of Thames Reach.  

Funding contracts

No restrictions were imposed by funders of Thames Reach’s services.

Funders’ concerns focused mainly on:

  • equality of opportunity
  • maintaining high professional standards, throughout the recruitment and selection process and during the employee’s working hours

Thames Reach maintained the same standards for service user candidates in the recruitment and selection process as are applied to non-service user candidates, and thus funders’ concerns around this issue were allayed.

Funders such as Supporting People viewed the employment of service user trainees as:

  • enhancing service delivery

  • being consistent with their ethos of promoting service user independence

Supporting People wanted to make sure that service user trainees meet the same standards expected of any other staff working with vulnerable adults. 

If the level of service provided to service users was negatively affected by, for example, a high turnover of trainees, this would be a cause for concern for Supporting People.

Legal issues

Legal advice confirmed that there were no barriers to advertising exclusively for ex-service users, both for the traineeships and other salaried posts. Legal advice included the need to monitor the demographics of new employees in order to ensure that the organisations are not indirectly discriminating against particular groups.


Under the Professional Indemnity Insurance policy, the key issues affecting service-user employment are:

Thames Reach has been able to demonstrate good practice in these areas.  This assiduous approach reduces risk and therefore keeps insurance premiums to a minimum. 

This good practice extends to the taking up of non-employment references in the case of service users who are not able to demonstrate a recent history of employment.