Eligibility requirements


Frontline has a duty to ensure the children and families we work with are kept safe. Due to the nature of social work, it’s imperative successful applicants undergo thorough checks including those relating to employment history. If successful at an assessment centre, every applicant will be required to submit at least two satisfactory references before receiving a formal offer for the Frontline programme.​ Please therefore ensure you’re being as accurate as possible when submitting your application form.

Before submitting your application, you should consider who can provide a reference on your behalf. We recommend, where possible, that you speak to your referees jn advance to avoid delays should you pass the assessment centre stage.


You must supply at least two references which cover the two years prior to the date of your assessment centre:

Assessment centre date Reference period start date Reference period end date
September – December 2020 1st September 2018 Applicant’s assessment centre date
January – April 2021 1st January 2019

All referees must have acted in a position of responsibility, for example as your line manager, supervisor or university tutor, and be able to comment on your suitability to work with vulnerable children and adults. For all references – including character referees unless retired – you must supply the referee’s professional (e.g. work or university) contact details. For safeguarding reasons, Frontline does not normally accept references sent from personal email accounts. ​​You may be asked to provide details of more than two referees where there are gaps within your references or where you have had employment or voluntary experience working with children within the last two years, or in some circumstances, within the last five years. This is a safeguarding requirement in order for you to be able to work with vulnerable children and families during your placement.

All applicants who are currently employed will be required to provide a reference from their current employer before they commence their shadowing days in their local authority.

For applicants in their final year of their undergraduate studies, one of their references must be from their personal tutor/lecturer who can comment on their academic ability.

​Frontline reserve the right to request additional information and/or references where required.​


I don’t want my employer to know yet that I will be leaving. Will I have to provide their details?

You will be unable to commence shadowing days in your local authority without a satisfactory reference from your current employer. Should you pass the assessment centre stage, we will request that you provide us with your employer’s details but you will be able to indicate that they are not to be contacted at that time. You will then need to sign a declaration indicating that, to the best of your knowledge, there will be no issues raised by your current employer in regard to performance, professionalism or safeguarding matters. This declaration will suffice until we obtain your current employer reference should you be allocated to a local authority. Your referee will not be contacted without your consent.

I’m a final year student and have limited work experience, which references will I need to provide?

Final year applicants will be required to submit details of their academic tutor who will be required to confirm that you’re route to obtain a 2.1 in your undergraduate degree. If you do not have any work or voluntary experience within the last two years, we will seek a character reference. 

Can a colleague provide a reference?

All employer/voluntary references will need to be submitted by your line manager/supervisor. A colleague can provide a character reference providing they meet the character reference requirements.

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