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Single Central Record - guidance for schools

Single Central Record - guidance for schools

The Single Central Record (SCR) is a key element of safer recruitment. During an Ofsted Inspection, the inspector will ask to view the record.   The DfE Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, requires all schools to produce and maintain a Single Central Record of Recruitment and Vetting Checks (SCR).  This requirement has been in place since 2007.

The following guidance has been produced to assist Headteachers, Governing Bodies and staff in schools who have responsibility for maintaining a Single Central Record (SCR). 

This guidance is not comprehensive and should be read in conjunction with the document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education – September 2020’ (KCSIE) and the more detailed information contained in the Safeguarding in Employment and Proof of Right to Work information pages.

 

Who should be included on the SCR?

  • All staff employed by the school – e.g. teachers, teaching assistants, cleaners, administrative staff etc
  • Trainee teachers on salaried routes
  • Supply teachers / casual workers – either employed through the school or through an agency
  • All those in regular contact with children including volunteers
  • All Governors
  • Contractors who visit the school frequently or intensively**
  • All people brought into school to provide additional teaching / training / instruction e.g. sports coaches and music teachers

** Definition of frequent and intensive:

  • Frequently is defined as once a week or more often
  • Intensively is defined as four or more times in a month or overnight

All the above should be included in the same record: separate SCRs should not be held for different categories of employees/volunteers.  Leavers however can be moved to a separate ‘archive SCR’ on an optional basis. 

All fields on the SCR must be completed.  Where any information is not relevant to that individual/role this should be indicated as ‘N/A’ eg qualifications for a Midday Supervisor.   All information inserted in each field/column should be consistent.

Each school needs to keep a SCR in place at all times, but it does not need to be a ‘physical’ record i.e. it could be an electronic record.  Buckinghamshire Council has been advised that it is acceptable to hold the SCR electronically as long as a printed copy is available for inspection. 

Where a person has multiple roles in a school, s/he only needs to appear on the SCR once showing the role which gives them the most contact with/responsibility for children.  For example if a Learning Support Assistant is also a volunteer in an additional capacity, then they would only need to be included on the SCR as an LSA.

The name of the person checking information/documents and completing the SCR, along with the date checked, should always be included.  This can be in the form of initials although where initials are used a key should added to the SCR for ease of reference.

 

Volunteers

Volunteers who are wholly supervised and who do not work frequently i.e. more than 3 times a month with children do not need to be added to the SCR e.g. a parent accompanying children on a school visit. 

Volunteers who are unsupervised and work frequently or intensively and are therefore working in Regulated Activity must have an Enhanced DBS Check with a Children’s Barred List Check in place and must be added to the SCR in the same way as other members of staff.

For volunteers not engaged in “regulated activity” a written risk assessment should be undertaken to determine whether an Enhanced DBS Check (excluding a Barred List Check) should be obtained.  (KCSiE 186 - 187) The completed Risk Assessment should be kept in a school’s local personnel records.

 

Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) 

MATs must maintain a SCR detailing checks carried out in each academy within a MAT.

There is not a requirement for MATs to have separate SCRs for each academy. However, the information should be recorded in such a way that allows for details for each individual academy to be provided separately and without delay to those entitled to inspect that information. (KCSiE 169)

 

Confidentiality

A school’s SCR should be kept securely on a confidential basis with access limited solely to those staff and Governors who need to have access.

 

The Single Central Record

It is a statutory requirement (KCSiE 164 – 165) for all schools and academies to keep and maintain a SCR of recruitment and vetting checks for all staff (including relevant volunteers, supply teachers, agency and third-party staff and teacher trainees on salaried routes).  Academies will also need to keep the same information for all members of the proprietor body. 

A model ‘template’ SCR has been developed by the Safeguarding in Employment Team as guidance for schools indicating information which is mandatory for inclusion and information which is recommended for inclusion.  Further information on the template headings is detailed below.

Please note that this template does not replace the format of the SIMS version. 

Schools can formulate and devise their own SCR template format.

The following fields are required (mandatory) for inclusion on a school’s SCR:

  1. Identity

You must record:

  • the full name of the individual
  • the current home address
  • date of birth
  • The documents seen for evidence of ID must be originals – photocopies should never be accepted. The documents should confirm the name, date of birth, address and be in a photographic form of identity such as a passport.  If photographic evidence is not available, you should try to seek more than one additional form of ID along the lines required for a DBS Check.   The evidence seen e.g. passport plus the date and name of the person who checked it must be recorded on the SCR.

The Home Address forms part of proof of identity and as such, evidence should be obtained that the address has been checked.  There is no requirement to evidence any change of address throughout employment.

Schools are expected to retain copies of documentation used to confirm ID and Proof of Right to Work in the UK.  Copies of this information should be kept on a secure, restricted and confidential basis in local personal files once the details have been entered onto the SCR (including the name of the person who witnessed the ID and date of the check).

  1. Role

The employment start date and the job title need to be recorded.  It may be helpful to standardise the job titles where possible to facilitate searching where necessary.  Job roles (and start dates of job roles) should be updated, where appropriate, as the range of vetting checks may need to be adjusted in line with any new job role.

You may also want to consider whether a volunteer should be listed as a “supervised volunteer” or as an “unsupervised volunteer” as that description will impact on the kind of vetting checks required.

  1. Qualifications

Only professional qualifications that are a requirement for a role need to be recorded e.g. Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for teachers in LA Schools.  All qualifications held by an individual can be checked but this is optional and is not a requirement.  Please note: a HLTA qualification should be verified where relevant.

Where qualifications are not required, each field should be completed with ‘N/A’

  1. Teaching Regulation Agency Checks

The full range of “prohibitions, directions, sanctions and orders for school staff and Governors” are at KCSiE paragraphs 142 – 151.

With effect from 2nd September 2013, it has been a statutory requirement that a Prohibition Order (PO) check must be made for any teaching staff employed by a school but is not applicable to other groups of staff.   

From 18 January 2016 any European Economic Area (EEA) authority that is responsible for regulating the teaching profession must share information about any restrictions imposed with all other EEA teacher regulators.  From 5th February 2016, there is now a requirement to undertake a further “Teachers sanctioned in other EEA member states list”.

With effect from 3 September 2018:

the Historic GTCE Sanctions & Restrictions list should also be checked by schools / Academies for any teaching staff. (KCSiE paragraph 154)

 the “Teachers who have failed induction or probation” list which is also at the Teacher Services website must also be  checked by schools / Academies to confirm that any teaching staff are not on the list.

The Prohibition Order check can be made via Teacher Services website and checks a teacher’s:

  • personal details
  • initial teacher training qualifications and any supplementary qualifications
  • QTS
  • Induction status
  • Any active sanctions, any suspension or conditional order
  • Prohibition from teaching

A PO Check may also be required for any other individuals who carry out ‘teaching work’ eg Higher Level Teaching Assistants and some Teaching Assistants.  ‘Teaching work’ is defined below:

  • Planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils
  • Delivering lessons to pupils
  • Assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils
  • Reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils

Buckinghamshire Council recommends that for LA Maintained Schools, PO Checks for Teaching Assistants are not required although PO Checks for HLTAs should be obtained.   For academies and free schools PO Checks for just those Teaching Assistants undertaking ‘teaching work’ as well as HLTAs are required and a record of each Check made should be recorded on the SCR.

All five lists can be checked via the Teacher Services website:

  • Teachers who have failed induction or probation
  • General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) Sanctions
  • Teachers and others prohibited from the profession
  • Teachers sanctioned in other EEA member states
  • Section 128 barring directions

We recommend that the first four lists above are checked for all teaching staff (not just new teaching staff) and recorded on a SCR.  (Details of the “section 128 barring directions” are provided below)

  1. Section 128 Barring Direction Check

With effect from 5th January 2015 it is mandatory for all Proprietor Governors and Members of the Senior Leadership Team, including Heads of Departments, in academies and free schools to be checked that they are not barred under the terms of Section 128 of the Education & Skills Act 2008.    This check is undertaken via Teacher Services website.  Please refer to the Safeguarding in Employment pages on Schoolsweb for more detailed information.

The requirement for section 128 checks covers individuals “taking part in the management of an independent school” which consequently covers:

  • Membership of an Academy’s proprietor body (which includes Governors if the Governor’s Body is the proprietor body for an Academy);
  • A Headteacher;
  • All teaching and non-teaching positions on a Senior Leadership Team;
  • Teaching positions which are deemed to be Heads of Department.

Section 128 checks are not required for current staff and members of a proprietor body of an Academy who were in position prior to 5th January 2015.  Section 128 checks only need to be undertaken for relevant new staff members and members of a proprietor body of an Academy appointed after that date.

With effect from 3 September 2018 (KCSiE) this check is now mandatory for all governors (new and existing) including those in LA Maintained Schools.

  1. Vetting Checks

A Children’s Barred List check must be undertaken on all staff working in Regulated Activity.   Where an Enhanced DBS Check is undertaken, this should include a Children’s Barred List Check.  Where a member of staff commences work before a DBS Certificate is received, a Children’s Barred List check must be undertaken separately.  Please refer to Schoolsweb for further information on how to request a Children’s Barred List check and also about the Risk Assessment process.

Volunteers who are closely supervised would not usually be deemed to be undertaking Regulated Activity.  In those circumstances, a school has discretion about whether to obtain an Enhanced DBS check.  A Children’s Barred List Check must not be included in those circumstances.   (Refer to previous information on Risk Assessments for volunteers.)

Please note that with effect from 1st September 2016 it is mandatory for all Governors in schools to have an Enhanced DBS Check.  A Children’s Barred List Check should only be included if a Governor is also undertaking any other activity in the school which falls within the definition of Regulated Activity.

Some employees working in Special Secondary Schools may provide sensitive personal care to pupils aged 18 years’ of age and older.  Employees providing those kinds of services to older pupils may be regarded as undertaking “regulated activity” for adults and consequently may require an Enhanced DBS Check that includes not just a Children’s Barred List Check but also an Adults’ Barred List Check.  Further information about “regulated activity” for adults is at the following publication: Department of Health Regulated Activity (Adults).  Alternatively, please contact the HR Service Desk (01296 382233) which will then forward your query to the DBS Team which will provide further guidance and information in relation to your query.

The DBS Update Service was introduced in June 2013 and enables individuals to subscribe annually to the Service and allows a DBS Certificate to be portable.

Where individuals have lived or worked outside the UK for six months or more in the previous five years at the point of submitting a DBS Check application then a Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) – in effect a police check of criminal records – should be obtained, where possible, from each county where an individual has lived for six or more months.  Where a CGC cannot be obtained then after all reasonable efforts a self-declaration (see template Declaration at the Schoolsweb) may need to be completed. (KCSiE 172 – 173)

  1. Proof of Right to Work in the UK

Evidence of “proof of the right to work in the UK” must be seen and copies verified prior to an employee commencing work.  Please note we recommend this requirement should also be applied to volunteers who work frequently or intensively. School Governors do not need to have this check unless they also work or volunteer in another capacity on a regular basis at the school.

Please refer to the Asylum and Immigration pages on Schoolsweb for further information about the process and a list of acceptable documents.

Please note: a full copy of the evidence used to confirm the “right to work in the UK” (e.g. a passport) should be kept confidentially in a local personnel file for at least two years after an individual has left a school.

  1. Third party suppliers / contractors

Schools must obtain written notification from any agency, or third-party organisation they use that the organisation has carried out the checks on an individual who will be working at the school that the school would otherwise perform.   The written notification confirming the relevant vetting checks have been undertaken by the agency / contractor on the individual is often called a “letter of assurance.”   A template “letter of assurance” for use by BC schools is at the Schoolsweb.

Contractors / agency staff who work on an unsupervised basis at a school and have regular contact with children must have an Enhanced DBS Check (including a Children’s Barred List Check).  Other agency / contractors may need an Enhanced DBS Check depending upon the kind of work being undertaken and the level of supervision provided by a school.  (KCSiE 174 – 175)

Under no circumstances should a contractor in respect of whom no checks have been obtained be allowed to work unsupervised or engage in regulated activity. Schools and colleges are responsible for determining the appropriate level of supervision depending on the circumstances. 

If an individual working at a school or college is self-employed, the school or college should consider obtaining the DBS check, as self-employed people are not able to make an application directly to the DBS on their own account.  

Schools and colleges should always check the identity of contractors and their staff on arrival at the school or college. 

(KCSIE 196 – 199)

The following check is not mandatory for inclusion on a SCR but BC recommends the check is included.

  1. Childcare disqualification regulations

Please refer to the Safeguarding in Employment pages on Schoolsweb for more detailed information on the Childcare Disqualification Regulations and those staff and volunteers to whom the Regulations apply. (KCSiE 152)

The SCR template can be used to add discretionary sections where schools wish to do so.  Examples include:

  • recording of references received – whilst obtaining and checking references is a vital part of safer recruitment for staff and volunteers it is not mandatory to record this information on the SCR. However a column can be added if required.  There is no requirement to obtain references for Governors although may wish to do so as part of “good practice.”
  • evidence of safeguarding training undertaken.

View further guidance on Safeguarding in Employment.

 

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