We wrote to SDC asking them if it was a necessary for SDC Cllrs to have a Disclosure and Barring Service -(DBS) – previously known as a Criminal Record Check done.
This was their first response: “I would advise that there is no legal requirement for Councillors to be subject to DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks. DBS checks should be carried out as a matter of good practice, if Councillors come into contact with adult/child social care issues or come into contact with vulnerable adults.“
We replied: “So the question is have all Cllrs had a DBS done?”
SDC’s response: ” ‘Have all Cllrs had a DBS done?’ No. To confirm, there is no need to carry out a DRB check for our current councillors.“
Councillors have a wide range of responsibilities and take decisions in relation to core services relating to children and adults, for Health, Housing, Communities, Benefits etc. These responsibilities may require Councillors to access sensitive information about, or have contact with, children and adults. Some Councillors do have surgeries, whereby people can attend and discuss matters with their Councillor in person; who may well be “vulnerable”.
Although the duties and responsibilities of Councillors do not fall under the scope of “regulated activity” and Councillors are no longer required to be checked if not undertaking such activity, the Council can still request that DBS checks (excluding a check of the barred lists) be carried out.
We ask the Council to make a request as soon as possible to all Cllrs.
We would ask SDC to consider that in light of the changes to the law and the redefined scope of “regulated activity”, it propose that the Council carries out enhanced DBS checks for all Councillors in order to respond proportionately to the risk and reassure the public. We would further propose checks are also proposed for any co-opted member serving on a committee which discharges functions of the Council.
In 2004 Robert Richdale a Conservative was elected to the Folkestone Town Council. Mr Richdale told the Folkestone Herald that he received a caution for the most recent sexual crime, which involved a girl of 14 who visited his home in 1997. Mr Richdale, an unemployed chef, had eventually admitted his sexual offences to a Shepway Conservatives committee meeting, and been expelled immediately on July 5. A spokesman of the Folkestone and Hythe Conservative Association said:
“We are not allowed to do criminal record checks on prospective candidates. We had to take him on trust.”
“Nominations papers do ask people to declare recent convictions, but only if they received more than a certain jail sentence,” he said.
Do you think that Political Parties shout carry out DBS checks on Candidates who are going to Stand as Cllrs at Parish, Town, District, County, or MP Parliamentary Level?
Surely it would make sense to err on the side of caution?
That’s what we think. What are your thoughts?
Once is a mistake, twice is a pattern, three times is a habit.
If you wish to request that SDC Cllrs undertake a DBS Check write to:
Solicitor to the Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
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