Judges Rule on Checking Criminal Records
In January, Judges at the Court of Appeal (Queens Bench Division) handed down a judgement that stated that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 infringes Article 8 of the Convention for Human Rights. The Home Office is seeking leave to appeal against this judgement and the law will not change until the outcome of the appeal is known.
So, as the law currently stands, schools can continue to ask staff and volunteers to reveal their conviction history through applying for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check. We have never recommended blanket checks of governors who do not, in their governor role, have regular unsupervised access to children. However, some governing bodies have a policy of asking all new governors to apply for a disclosure (DBS check) and headteachers have the right to ask individuals for a disclosure where they have specific concerns. A governor who refuses to apply for a disclosure or share the results with the school, is still disqualified from office. In view of the judgement, governing bodies who have agreed a blanket policy will want to keep a close eye on developments and be ready to review their practice if necessary. We'll keep you informed.