This is Annex 2 from the reissued (August 2012) “Inspecting Safeguarding” guidance to Ofsted inspectors. Download the complete document here (word): Inspecting safeguarding briefing
It is within the new (for September 2012) Section 5 briefing notes which can be downloaded as a full set here.
(See also Myths and Facts about CRBs)
There are widespread misunderstandings about the portability of enhanced CRB disclosure certificates that have led to schools carrying out unnecessary routine requests for renewed checks. The following guidance from Ofsted sets out the current position in relation to schools and colleges, and outlines the differences in social care settings as to when checks need to be in place before an employee can start work.
CRB checks were strongly recommended for all employees who have regular contact with children if they were employed after March 2002. However, the only requirement for those appointed before this date is that they must have been List 99 checked. (From 12 October 2009, the three barred lists (List 99, PoCA and PoVA) have been replaced by two new barred lists administered by the ISA, the Children’s List and the Vulnerable Adults’ List.)
CRB checks became mandatory for the entire maintained schools’ workforce from 12 May 2006 (September 2003 for independent schools, including academies). Employees who took up post from this date must have an enhanced CRB disclosure.
- No further checks are required for any staff unless the person has a break in service of more than three months. (Please note that extended sickness/maternity leave does not constitute a break of service.)
- There is no requirement for staff employed before March 2002 to have retrospective CRB checks as long as they have been in continuous service. In this context, continuity means no break of service of longer than three months. However, prior to 2002, there was a requirement for all staff who work with children and young people to have to been checked against List 99, and evidence of this should be checked.
Staff such as educational psychologists, supply teachers, trainee teachers, nurses, sports coaches and inspectors should be CRB checked by their ‘providing’ organisation, for example the supply agency, the university, primary care trust, local authority, and so on.
It is sufficient, for schools and colleges to seek written confirmation that appropriate checks, including CRB checks, have been carried out (most commonly on appointment) and by whom (most commonly the relevant human resources department), and to confirm the identify of these visitors. Written confirmation may take the form of a public statement on the providing organisation’s website, a practice adopted by Ofsted.
Part-time staff may use the same CRB check for two or more posts as long as they are at a similar level and the school/college have satisfied themselves about their veracity and appropriateness. This level of ‘portability’ is currently available to employers at their own risk.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 has removed the requirement for schools to carry out a CRB check on governors simply because of their office. Governors who volunteer to work with children are also exempt from the requirement to hold an enhanced CRB disclosure certificate as long as they are appropriately supervised by a member of staff who has undergone such checks.
Moving between schools/colleges and local authorities
Since September 2006 supply agencies have been able to pass CRB checks between other school/college supply agencies and between individual schools and colleges.
If an employee has been CRB checked, there is no statutory requirement that another CRB check is carried out before taking up a job in a different school or even in a different local authority, provided they have continuous service and the check is at the correct level for the new post.
The same applies to someone who may not have a CRB check due to being in post before 2002, that is, there is no statutory requirement for further checks to be carried out.
It is up to the receiving organisation to carry out a risk assessment to assess whether the check is at the correct level for the current role, whether it is accurate and whether they trust the previous organisation to have carried out the check efficiently.
The school or local authority should ask for evidence, from the previous school or local authority, that the check was undertaken. Some schools and local authorities are reluctant to accept transferring staff without requesting a fresh CRB disclosure certificate because they believe that Ofsted would be critical of such arrangements. Inspectors should avoid giving any impression that Ofsted considers it good practice to request fresh CRB disclosure certificates routinely whenever a member of staff is recruited directly from another school without a break in service. Schools should be encouraged to risk assess each case individually and be prepared to demonstrate the basis for their decisions.
In all-day educational establishments, new members of staff can take up their posts prior to a full CRB check as long as they work under the close supervision of a colleague who has such clearance.
The regulations above apply to all schools, including pupil referral units and further education colleges. Social care and residential settings are subject to the national minimum standards which require more stringent requirements in respect of safeguarding checks. In such settings, staff can take up their posts before CRB clearance has been received, but it must have been applied for and the member of staff awaiting clearance must be supervised when in contact with young people.
In the case of trainees on initial teacher education courses, it is the initial teacher education provider’s responsibility, not the school’s, to ensure that appropriate recruitment checks are made. In the event of a delay in receiving disclosures from the CRB, the former Department for Children, Schools and Families guidance gave headteachers discretion to allow trainees to start working in a school subject to a satisfactory check of Independent Safeguarding Authority Children’s List (or List 99) check and completion of other normal recruitment procedures. Training providers should keep headteachers fully informed of the progress of applications for disclosures, since schools will want to maintain closer supervision of trainees who have not yet received enhanced clearance. Schools must be satisfied that checks have indeed been done.
The situation is different for trainees on an employment based teacher training route. They are employed by the school and should therefore be cleared by the school and recorded on the SCR in the same way as other directly employed staff.
A new online registration service is being introduced by the Disclosure Barring Service in late Spring 2013 that will facilitate portability of CRB checks for individuals who choose to register. By providing a new employer with an existing disclosure certificate and their online registration number, prospective employees will be able to use the same certificate for any post of a similar nature. The prospective employer will be able to log on to the service and check whether there has been a change to the printed certificate. If there has been a change, the employer will have to decide whether or not they wish to apply for a new certificate in order to show the updated details. Although this service is not yet in place, schools may be aware of the development and may wish to discuss it with inspectors.
Further Section 5 briefing notes can be downloaded here. They include new documents which have been updated in line with the new framework (ie for September 2012) and cover the following topics:
- Additional provision to manage behaviour briefing
- Concerns identified
- Coordinated inspection of hard federations and shared 6th forms
- English as an additional language
- Exploring the schools actions to prevent homophobic bullying
- Guidance for school self-evaluation
- Guide to Ofsted’s house style
- Inspecting children’s centres briefing
- Inspecting equalities briefing
- Inspecting e-safety
- Inspecting extended school provision
- Inspecting faith schools
- Inspecting registered EY provision managed by GB
- Inspecting safeguarding briefing
- Inspecting the effectiveness of partnerships
- Learner Achievement Tracker – guidance for viewing the LAT
- Pupils with medical needs briefing