Clamping down on at-risk workers
AN investigation has found that 54 people regarded by a local authority as unsuitable to work with children were cleared by the Government to get jobs in schools. Between December 1992 and December 2005, Hertfordshire County Council referred 68 people to
AN investigation has found that 54 people regarded by a local authority as unsuitable to work with children were cleared by the Government to get jobs in schools.
Between December 1992 and December 2005, Hertfordshire County Council referred 68 people to the education department (DfES).
The council refers people who had been dismissed or had resigned when they would have been dismissed for misconduct including bullying, falsifying qualifications and sexual misconduct.
Out of the 68 referred, only 11 were placed on List 99, which bars them from working in schools.
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Three more were given restrictions on their work.
John Harris, director of HCC's children schools and families department, was critical of the Government's barring thresholds.
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He said: "The DfES operates quite a high threshold for being listed and it's probably higher than Hertfordshire and other local authorities are comfortable with.
"We would want a lower threshold for restricting people we believe would pose a risk from working in schools or with children and it has been a concern for local councils for some years."
The investigation by BBC Look East found that in Bedfordshire, the county council has referred seven people to the DfES since 2004 and has a further three cases pending.
Hertfordshire's John Harris greeted plans to create a single barring list and a special 'central barring unit', announced recently by the Government, with caution.
He said: "The proposal to introduce a single list is to be welcomed, as is the proposed establishment of the central barring unit to take responsibility for vetting and banning.
"That ministers will no longer be responsible for banning individuals is also welcome.
"Whether these changes improve the situation will depend on the detail of implementations.
"Will the proposed CBU have the capacity for the volume of work?
"Will applications be resolved speedily, particularly given that barred individuals will have rights of appeal?
"Most crucially, will individuals be prevented from starting work until their vetting status is resolved?