Disqualification by Association – September 2018

This information replaces previous guidance and came into force on 3rd September 2018

In this video, specialist safeguarding consultant, Andrew Hall, explains what the change to the Disqualification by Association legislation in September 2018 means for schools.

The outcome of the government consultation about ‘Disqualification by Association’ was published towards the end of the summer term. The guidance was updated again on the 31st August 2018 and comes into force on 3rd September 2018. A change in the law means that Disqualification by Association will only apply on domestic premises. However, Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006, still applies to staff themselves.

Schools must no longer ask about the cautions or convictions of someone living or working in their household. (It should be noted that other statutory guidance may be relevant where the third party lives on the school premises, such as in boarding schools.)

Main Points

Disqualification by Association now only applies in domestic settings, not schools.

Disqualification under the Child Care Act still applies to  staff themselves who work in a child care capacity, whether paid, volunteer or are on work placements.

Relevant staff are those working in child care, or in a management role because they are: working with reception age children at any time; or working with children older than reception until age eight, outside school hours.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2018) paragraph 116 also refers to disqualification: “For staff who work in childcare provision or who are directly concerned with the management of such provision, the school needs to ensure that appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that individuals are not disqualified under the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009”.

Schools are free to decide how to bring these requirements to the attention of their staff. As a means of making staff aware of their duty to provide such information, they may, for example, choose to include a section in the school’s safeguarding policy, or another policy document, or by means of an addition to new staff members’ contracts of employment. Schools should draw this guidance to the attention of their staff and the information provided by Ofsted referenced in this guidance.

Schools will need to review any historic data collected and destroy any information which is no longer required.

Ofsted and the Independent School Inspectorates will check the management of Disqualification under the Childcare Act as part of their routine school inspection process.

What should schools do

  1. Inform staff of the changes, and record the date that they were informed; a letter, or email might be best.
  2. Ensure that this information is included in the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy; and in the Safer Recruitment Policy
  3. Identify and record which staff are covered by  Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 (including volunteers and people on work placements).
  4. Ask relevant staff to self-declare that they are not Disqualified under the Childcare Act 2006. (A form is not necessary). [An Enhanced DBS Certificate will confirm this for new staff; for existing employees schools could consider using the DBS Update Service to supplement any employee self-declaration.]
  5. Remind all staff about the expectation to inform the school where their relationships and associations, both within and outside of the workplace (including online), may have implications for the safeguarding of children in the school.
  6. Remind all staff that if their circumstances change they must inform the school. (Decide where to put this in writing: Staff Code of Conduct and/or in staff contracts.)
  7. Decide whether these self-declarations will be kept on the Single Central Register, or elsewhere.
  8. Review any historic data collected and destroy any information which is no longer required.

The government guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disqualification-under-the-childcare-act-2006

This document has been prepared by Andrew Hall, a specialist safeguarding consultant. It has been written in good faith and is a summary of the relevant statutory guidance at the time of writing and is no replacement for reading the document in full. This summary does not constitute legal advice.

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