Disqualification Under the Childcare Act
KCSiE 2018 removed the requirement for school staff to make a declaration Disqualification by Association but some some staff remain covered by Disqualification under the Childcare Act.
Disqualification Under the Childcare Act 2018 (Notes)
When the new version of the Statutory Guidance for the above legislation was issued during the summer, it was widely reported that Disqualification by Association was abolished and there was no longer a requirement to ask this question.
This is true to a certain extent, but the only significant change in the requirements under this legislation, is that, schools can no longer ask if a person living with the applicant or member of staff is disqualified (unless the provision is on domestic residential premises).
It is still a requirement to ask all staff who are covered by this legislation, to self-declare that they are not disqualified.
This is achieved by the applicant signing a self-declaration form, which must be kept in their principal file and recorded on the SCR. Any reference to asking the applicant or member of staff to declare information about a person living in their household, must be removed from the self-declaration form.
In most cases it is likely that someone who is disqualified under this legislation will have some information regarding this on a DBS Certificate. However, it is possible that someone can be disqualified under this legislation and this information may not appear on a DBS Certificate. For example, they may have had a Care Order imposed in respect of their Children, they may have been refused application for Registration as a Childminder, Children’s Home provider or prohibited from being a Private Foster Carer.
Asking for a self-declaration in these circumstances is a safeguarding check and although it is reliant on the applicant being honest, it does act as a deterrent in making the applicant answer this question. Because it is a self-declaration, it is important that all other pre-employment checks are completed, including an Enhanced DBS check with Barred list check and a robust and comprehensive check of their employment history, to do everything you can to try to ensure they are not hiding a previous employment working with Children.
If an applicant or member of staff declares that they are disqualified, it does not necessarily mean that they cannot carry out a role in school. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible for them to apply to Ofsted for a waiver. If you are considering supporting the applicant with a waiver request, it is important that you seek advice from your HR advisor, designated officer or safeguarding lead.
The fact that a member of staff is disqualified under this legislation does not infer that they are prevented from working in other settings within the school. But a risk assessment of any information disclosed, by whatever means it is received, must be risk assessed.
There is no requirement for self-declaration to be repeated periodically, but schools could consider using the DBS Update Service to supplement the employee self-declaration.
Single Central Record
It is essential that the Single Central Record is statutorily compliant as this is often the first safeguarding document that Ofsted inspect as it indicates how robust the safeguarding culture is within the school. It also helps to demonstrate that the school is ensuring that all staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors are safe to be on the school site.
Single central record – advice for Devon schools
- It is important that this advice is read in conjunction with the current version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 3).
- It is intended for
- Governing bodies and proprietors
- Headteachers / Principals
- staff in schools with delegated responsibility for maintaining the Single Central Record (SCR)
- It focuses on the maintenance of the SCR and is not intended to be comprehensive guidance on safer recruitment practice. It does not describe in detail how to undertake the statutory checks.
Background and legislative basis
- The 2004 Bichard Inquiry into the abuse and murders committed in Soham in 2002 highlighted deficiencies in recruitment and vetting processes at the school which employed Ian Huntley. Of note were issues regarding his ID (he was then known as Ian Nixon) and the Inquiry was ‘unable to ascertain what checks were done or who checked his identity’.
- There have been many improvements to practice since then, including a requirement for schools to maintain a Single Central Record of recruitment and vetting checks. This was originally described in the 2007 statutory guidance ‘Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education’ which has been superseded by ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’.
- The requirements on governing bodies / proprietors to keep a register of recruitment checks are set out in the School staffing (England) Regulations 2009 (for maintained schools) and the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 (for independent schools including academies).
- The SCR is not just a bureaucratic exercise or to do well in inspections, it is important evidence that the school has done all it can in terms of checking to ensure that people working in the school are safe to do so. It is an integral part of the school’s recruitment and selection procedures. ‘For those agencies whose job it is to protect children and vulnerable people, the harsh reality is that if a sufficiently devious person is determined to seek out opportunities to work their evil, no one can guarantee that they will be stopped. Our task is to make it as difficult as possible for them to succeed’ The Bichard Inquiry Report, 2004
- Most schools delegate the process of updating the record to a member of the Admin support team but it is in fact up to each setting to decide who is best placed to do this. Overall responsibility lies with governors (or equivalent) and delegated to Headteachers.
- There is no defined format for the SCR. Most schools hold it electronically as a password protected Excel document. Records should all be on one Excel spread sheet although they may be held across worksheets on different ‘tabs’ such as employees, volunteers and agency/contractors.
- The Headteacher should have the password.
- It is intended to be a single record, so the same columns should be used for everyone, regardless of role.
- It should also be a live record and in some schools it requires updating regularly; staff maintaining it can ‘make it work for them’ such as by highlighting rows or using colour codes whilst waiting for checks to be returned, for example.
- Do not leave columns blank. Write ‘N/A’ or ‘Pre 2002’, for example.
- There is no need to print out the SCR; this should not be requested by inspectors.
- Leavers should be deleted no longer than 6 months after leaving in accordance with Data Protection principles
Who should be included?
- The SCR should include everyone who works (including agency/contractors) or volunteers in the school.
This would normally include (not an exhaustive list):
- All staff who are employed directly by the school
- Any volunteer who is in regulated activity* (RA).
- People brought into the school to provide regular* additional teaching or instruction but who are employed by another organisation, such as peripatetic music teachers, sports coaches etc.
- Supply teachers
- Contract staff such as cleaners or caterers
- Members of the proprietor body (trustees or directors) in independent schools including academies
* See Part three of current KCSiE for definition.
Who should not be included?
- You do not need to include on your SCR:
- Ad hoc visitors
- Parents attending occasional events such as sports days
- Work experience students if under 16 years of age
- Contractors with no contact with children, or when children are not attending such as during holidays
- Those using the school as a venue before or after school hours such as defined in lettings
What information should be recorded?
- ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ Part three lists what information must be recorded.
- For supply and third party staff, schools should also include whether written confirmation has been supplied that the employer/agency has:
- carried out the relevant checks
- obtained the appropriate certificates
- seen the DBS disclosure certificate in respect of the individual
The school should record the date this confirmation was received, by whom and keep a copy of the e-mail/letter.
- The checks described in KCSiE are mandatory minimum requirements for inclusion on the SCR. Some schools include other information about essential recruitment checks such as about references or Early Years checks (including before and after school clubs for under 8s) in respect of Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2018. If this information is not recorded on the SCR, evidence that these checks were done should be held elsewhere, often within a personnel file.
- It is good practice to record, where appropriate:
- what has been seen
- when it was seen
- by whom
Independent schools (including academies) Trustees/Board members
- ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ states that the SCR must include all members of the proprietor body. In the case of academies and free schools, this means the members and trustees of the academy trust. Very often the relevant checks (such as DBS and, from September 2016 the s128 checks) are carried out at the Trust’s (or equivalent) head office. The details of the checks do not need to be on each school’s record, but it should confirm they have been done and note where the information is held.
SCR Advice Devon/JG/Jan 21