The government has recently launched a discussion into the heavily debated ‘disqualification by association’ guidance.
Currently anyone in a childcare role, working with children under the age of 8, including teachers and teacher’s assistants, could face automatic disqualification from these roles, if someone they live with has a previous conviction for an offence that would bar them from working with children. In these cases, the applicant must then apply for a waiver to work with children.
It has been argued that Disqualification by Association is unfair for many people and there has been some cases in which the guidance seems unreasonable as it may not have been applied correctly and requires more clarity.
High numbers of staff working in childcare have been caught in confusion as it was originally believed that the guidance only applied to early years and childcare providers however, the Department for Education (DfE) released clarification of the rules by stating the guidance also applied to schools. This has led to the watchdog receiving more than 3,000 applications for waivers, none of which were turned down and over half of them were not needed in the first place.
Ofsted have released figures which reveal that of 3,056 applications received since the guidance was implemented in 2014, 1,827 disqualifications were not required due to the role being ‘non-relevant’ or the offence committed was ‘spent or non-disqualifiable’.
Therefore the Government has proposed 3 options to help rectify the confusion:
1. Remove Disqualification by Association for all childcare workers in schools and non-domestic registered settings
2. Retain Disqualification by Association but introduce a new right to make representations to Ofsted before the disqualification takes effect
3. Retain Disqualification by Association, but reduce its scope and also introduce the right to make representations to Ofsted before the disqualification takes effect
To view the full Government consultation document click here.
The government are seeking views on the proposals to make changes to the childcare disqualification arrangements in England. To give your views click here. The consultation closes on 1st July 2016.
To speak to a Personnel Checks advisor regarding these changes please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01254 355688.