Workers sacked after criminal checks

NINE people working with children and vulnerable adults have been sacked by Suffolk County Council after checks showed they had criminal convictions.And a further 29 people had job offers withdrawn as a result of convictions which showed up when they were subjected to Criminal Record Bureau checks.

NINE people working with children and vulnerable adults have been sacked by Suffolk County Council after checks showed they had criminal convictions.

And a further 29 people had job offers withdrawn as a result of convictions which showed up when they were subjected to Criminal Record Bureau checks.

The figures were released by Suffolk County Council under Freedom of Information legislation which came into force earlier this year.

Of the nine people who lost their jobs, five worked in the council's social care department with children or vulnerable adults.

Three worked in the council's education department - and are thought to have had jobs at schools in the county - and one worked in the chief executive's department in the social inclusion unit.

Suffolk County Council executive member Tony Lewis said: "It is vital that these checks are carried out on people that are working with children, young people and vulnerable adults, as their safety is paramount.

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"The CRB check is in addition to standard pre-employment checks, and I am pleased that only a handful of checks each year show anything that we need to discuss further with a potential employee."

Criminal Record Bureau checks were introduced in 2002 to ensure vulnerable people were not put at risk by people who were known to have been in trouble.

The checks show all convictions - and it is up to the council to decide whether these convictions should prevent that person from having a job.

If someone has been convicted of theft, it would almost certainly disqualify him or her from working as a home-help because there would be a risk of theft from the client.

Anyone with a conviction for violence would similarly be stopped from working directly with children or vulnerable adults.

For people working with children there are two levels of checks:

n An "enhanced disclosure" is required for posts that regularly care for, supervise, or have sole charge of children when newly appointed.

This includes teachers, classroom assistants, residential care staff, child protection workers, family support staff, technicians, caretakers, midday supervisors, community education officers.

n A "standard disclosure" is for other employees who work on school premises and community education centres when newly appointed, which includes cleaners, catering staff and administrative staff (in a small school, this may be an enhanced check).

Volunteers should also be subject to the same checks as paid employees in similar positions.

Since CRB checks were introduced in 2002, Suffolk County Council has requested 17,653.

Once a CRB check has been run, this is normally run for as long as a person is in post.

However if someone moves to another job within the county council, then it might be necessary to run a further CRB check.

If someone leaves the council and then returns to their old job after more than three months' away, then a further CRB check would be necessary.

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