Virtual Schoolbag (VSB)

07 Jan 2019
Business managers, bursars and secretaries, governors, headteachers of all schools
Priority / Statutory requirement
Action
31 Jan 2019
2019/009
Safeguarding - Section 128 Checks for Governors, an updated Single Central Record, updated Guidance on the Single Central Record and a revised Model Safer Recruitment Policy

This circular sets out the information that will support schools and governing bodies to comply with the requirements for Section 128 checks for existing and new governors in your school. 

 

Background

The requirements in relation to the section 128 checks which need to be undertaken in relation to maintained school governors are different from those for independent schools and academies.

Whilst a section 128 action cannot be taken in relation to a person employed at a maintained school, when a person is barred by a section 128 direction from taking part in the management and governance of an independent school, including an academy or free school, the section 128 direction also prohibits that person from taking up a position as governor of a maintained school.

This is not a new requirement and was introduced by The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012, as amended by The School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. 

Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) September 2018

Governors in maintained schools are only required to have an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check without the barred list DBS (unless in addition to their governance duties they also engage in regulated activity).  It is the responsibility of the governing body to apply for a DBS for any of their members who do not already have one. 

PLEASE NOTE: We are aware that many governors attend school to assist with day to day operational and supportive roles not associated with governance. Those responsible for checks should be mindful that board members attending in these circumstances are not undertaking governor activity and should be considered as a new volunteer with the proposed activity reviewed to consider the level of checks required including in the case of a governor, additional checks if engaging in regulated activity. 

“A section 128 direction will also be disclosed where an enhanced DBS check with barred list information is requested, provided that ‘children’s workforce independent schools’ is specified in the parameters for the barred list check”.  (Para 131)

“A section 128 direction disqualifies a person from holding or continuing to hold office as a governor of a maintained school”. (Para 128)

Current practice for DBS checks for school governors in ESCC maintained schools

Schools undertake their own DBS check for governors.  It is strongly advised that all East Sussex maintained schools undertake retrospective section 128 checks or all existing governors and any new governors joining the governing body. The process to do this is set out in the guidance below:

Department for Education (DfE) and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The DfE approached the DBS and asked if they could accommodate the processing of a Section 128 check for School Governors within maintained schools as part of a DBS check for governors. Because the DBS do not consider this to be a mandatory part of their checks, they were able to accommodate, but not in a straightforward way.

It is possible to get the Section 128 when processing an enhanced DBS check for a School Governor; the DBS will do the check if the job title stated on the application is INDEPENDENT SCHOOL, they will then include the Section 128 check. This means that the certificate received by the applicant, instead of stating School Governor as the job title, has “Independent School” as the job title.

Once the check is processed, the DBS do not list the result on the DBS certificate, unless it is a positive result, therefore the school do not have a record of the check actually being carried out as such, as opposed to a barred list check, for example, where this would be noted as carried out on the DBS certificate (not that Governors necessarily need a barred list), this is just an example.

For this reason it is not recommended that maintained schools use the DBS process to undertake the Section 128 check retrospectively for existing governors or for new governors.

Completing Section 128 checks

It is recommended that all maintained schools process the check retrospectively for all existing members of their governing body via Teacher Services. 

Checks can be made by logging onto the Secure Access Portal via the Teaching Regulations Agency, Teacher Services’ webpage: https://teacherservices.education.gov.uk/ .

The process for using the Secure Access Portal to make this check is set out in paragraph 130 within the “Keeping Children Safe in Education” statutory guidance. Your school is likely to have secure login details.

Secure access is a free service available to all schools and colleges.  Registration is required for first time users and can be requested from Teacher Services.

Action required:

  • complete retrospective Section 128 checks on existing governors in your school - process to be completed by the end of January 2019;
  • complete Section 128 checks for all prospective new members of the governing body - process to be completed  as part of the recruitment process;
  • adopt the revised Safer Recruitment Model Policy for schools and make this available for staff to read.

Single Central Record

The school based Single Central Record should be amended on the Governor’s tab to include the Section 128 check and the date of the check recorded.

Please note that an amended version of the Model Single Central Record has been uploaded to Webshop. The guidance document on the Single Central Record has also been updated to include the information on Section 128 checks for governors.

Safer Recruitment Policy

The model Safer Recruitment Model Policy for schools has been updated  on Webshop to reflect this additional advice on Section 128 checks for Governors, please ensure that your governing body adopts the revised version of the policy and make this available for staff to read.

https://www.services2schools.co.uk/resources/personnel/recruiting-safeguarding/safeguarding-dbs

 

Janet Bowen
Janet Bowen
Lead HR Consultant - Schools

Phone: 01273 482087
Email: janet.bowen@eastsussex.gov.uk