Following the Council meeting on 29 January 2020 when a Notice of Motion proposed by the Green Party to introduce background checks for all elected members was rejected, here are the facts around who needs to be background checked, confirmation that council is compliant with the DBS framework and that the issue is not related to cost.
What DBS checks are undertaken?
Knowsley Council takes its safeguarding duties extremely seriously. The council is required to adhere to the DBS Code of Practice which includes that it can only apply for Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks for individuals whose roles satisfy a prescribed framework.
All organisations that administer DBS checks are required to meet prescribed criteria, set out in Part V of the Police Act 1997. In 2019, the DBS undertook a comprehensive inspection of Knowsley Council and concluded that the council was compliant in all areas, did not identify any safeguarding risks and recognised that Knowsley exceeded the national average for compliance with its DBS applications.
Councillors are not required to undertake DBS checks by virtue of being a councillor alone, but only where they are eligible to be checked in line with the legislation, including working with vulnerable groups (view eligibility for DBS checks).
In Knowsley, all councillors who carry out prescribed functions are all already DBS checked.
Checks are undertaken where they are appropriate, we are complying with the legislation in terms of who does / doesn’t need to have a DBS check and for these reasons the Notice of Motion was rejected.