On 1st September 2018 the Childcare Act 2006 was amended to remove the requirement for staff working in schools and with young people from being “disqualified by association” if they live with anyone who would otherwise be barred from working with children.
We understand this was because it was felt that the move was not proportionate for the risk. As persons living at a property would pose far greater risk towards the children than say family of Nursery staff or those in a Club. For this reason Childminders still need to comply.
This move does raise the question about whether relatives of staff should be in your setting?
From the perspective of safeguarding, confidentiality and other reasons allowing a staff member’s partner to wait in the staff room when coming to collect the staff member from work? Allowing partners to take part in parties, fundraisers etc where children of the setting will be around. It certainly makes us think.
Background to the change
The change was first suggested in 2016 during a consultation and took 2 years to be implemented. Prior to 31st August 2018, staff who worked with children needed to disclose if they lived with someone who would be disqualified from working with children.
In one case a Headteacher was suspended as her husband was previously convicted of domestic violence and in another case a primary Headteacher was deemed to have been fairly dismissed for failing to disclose to Governors that she was in a relationship with a convicted sex offender . See the case of Reilly v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.
In many cases teachers, and Early Years professionals have had to apply for waivers from Ofsted to enable them to continue working. Requests for waivers had quadrupled according to reports when schools were included in the requirement in 2014.
The way forward
With effect from 1st September 2018, schools, pre-schools, nurseries and out of hours clubs no longer have to “establish whether a member of staff providing, or employed to work in, childcare is disqualified by association”.
Disqualification by association rules are now only relevant where childcare is provided in domestic settings i.e. childminders.
So since 1st September we are no longer required to ask staff questions about cautions or convictions of someone living or working in their household. The reason being that we do not need this information and they do not need to complete a self declaration regarding it.
We understand that we should now record that we have asked staff to declare about their own convictions; whether they have children that have been taken into care; or whether they are on the barred list of if they have any overseas conviction. This record, in the form of a declaration should be saved on file to show to Ofsted if they wish to see it.