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DBS checks and the Single Central Record – FAQs

We have new ‘School-centred initial teacher training’ (SCITT) trainees starting in September, when is the earliest we should do a DBS check? Would three months be correct?

​As long as the check is returned before the person starts work in the school, there is no statutory timescale. However, a break in service of more than three months would trigger a new DBS, so within three months would be sensible (see Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), page 30)

If a SCITT trainee finishes the course at a different School and has a DBS, should we do another DBS for our School?

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), page 30, says that as long as there has been no break in service greater than 3 months and the person was in the same workforce category, there is no requirement to do a new DBS.

New staff starting in more than 3 months time, when should I do the DBS check on them?

​As long as the check is returned before the person starts work in the school, there is no statutory timescale. However, if there has been a break in service of more than three months then a new DBS is needed, so within three months would be best. (see Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), page 30)

If a teacher is coming without a break in service do we need to do a new DBS check?

​Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), page 30, says that as long as there has been no break in service greater than 3 months and the person was in the same workforce category, there is no requirement to do a new DBS.

How often should we be reapplying for DBS checks for staff, example if a member of staff joined three years ago should we be renewing, should we do a renewal every year?

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), paragraph 119, says that there is no reason to redo a DBS unless ‘a school or college has concerns about an existing staff member’s suitability to work with children [or] if a person working at the school or college moves from a post that was not regulated activity into work which is regulated activity, then relevant checks for the regulated activity must be carried out’.

Governors who become Trustees – should we recheck the DBS when they transfer to new role?

​If the role is the same, just with a different title, there would be no requirement to redo the DBS. However, if these are maintained school governors, and become academy trustees, then they must also have a prohibition from management check. (see How to do a s128 check)

Agency staff who come have had their DBS checked by the recruitment Agency – what checks should we do ourselves for best practice? For example should we still see the original DBS certificate and should we also request photo ID?

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), paragraph 116 says, ‘Schools and colleges must obtain written notification from any agency, or third-party organisation they use that the organisation has carried out the checks on an individual who will be working at the school or college…The school must also check that the person presenting themselves for work is the same person on whom the checks have been made.’

The responsibility for the safe recruitment of a person lies with the agency, not the school. Staff at the school only have to check that the agency has confirmed that the checks have been received from the agency; and that the person arriving, is the same person that the agency checked. One way to do that is to ask to see the current DBS certificate (or access the DBS Update service), and to check photo ID. Reviewing the DBS checks two things, firstly that the DBS is the same one that the agency saw (otherwise the worker could provide an older one – perhaps one that is clear where the newer one isn’t); and secondly that it is clear, or if there are issues showing, that the school makes the decision about suitability (not all agencies are transparent and speak to the school first).

Should we add Agency staff to our single central record?

​Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), paragraph 112 says, ‘Schools and colleges must keep a single central record [which] must cover the following people:
• all staff (including supply staff, and teacher trainees on salaried routes) who work at the school. In colleges, this means those providing education to children; and
• for independent schools, including academies and free schools, all members of the proprietor body.’

Should peripatetic staff be added to our single central record?

Peripatetic staff maybe staff of the school, third-party employees (eg. employees of the local authority), or contractors, so they need entering in the relevant place in the Single Central Record bearing in mind the checks that you have done.

What is good practice when contractors come into school during school open times and closures if they do not have a DBS?

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), paragraph 135 says, ‘Under no circumstances should a contractor in respect of whom no checks have been obtained be allowed to work unsupervised, or engage in regulated activity. Schools and colleges are responsible for determining the appropriate level of supervision depending on the circumstances.’

For most schools, if there is no possible contact with children (eg. closure periods), then there is no requirement to supervise the contactor. If there is a possibility of contact with children (eg. when the school is open), the contractor without a DBS must be supervised by someone who is in regulated activity themselves and has had the appropriate checks. (see also paragraph 134)

Further information

The Safeguarding Handbook has a section about the Single Central Record that you can download here: Safeguarding Handbook for Schools January 2018 SCR Extract

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