Safeguarding considerations for Schools: Safer Recruitment and DBS checks

Safer recruitment

When recruiting, schools must continue to follow the legal requirements for pre-appointment checks, as set out in KCSIE. This includes keeping the Single Central Register up to date.

There has been a difference in approach for checks during the summer holidays:

  • During the summer holidays, safeguarding checks can be carried out remotely as set out in its previous guidance (here – although this guidance was withdrawn on 31 July 2020, the current reopening guidance recommends that schools follow this approach). The DfE reopening guidance includes various links to guide staff / candidates on remote recruitment;
  • From the start of the autumn term, safeguarding checks should be carried out in person, as would usually be the case.
How can schools ensure that their staff and volunteers are appropriately DBS checked?

Safer recruitment processes are still essential, despite the challenging circumstances.

In light of the restrictions on travel and social interaction, the DBS made temporary changes to the ID checking guidelines to minimise the need for face-to-face contact. This note from the DBS shows the changes that came into effect on 24 March 2020.

These changes mean that in some circumstances ID documents can be viewed over video link and scanned images can be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted. However, it is important to note that this approach should only be implemented for urgent cases where it is not possible to follow the normal identity checking guidelines. The applicant must present the original versions of these documents when they first attend their employment or volunteering role.

On 9 July 2020, the DBS published a further update allowing expired UK passports to be used for ID checking purposes, if within 6 months of their expiry date. This is because it is taking longer than usual to process UK passport applications.

The government advice (here) regarding checking identity documents for indicators of fraud still applies at the time of writing.

Note: Schools must continue to follow their legal duty to refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child and consider and make referrals to the TRA where appropriate.

The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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