Councillor CRB checks move a step closer
11:50am Saturday 9th March 2013 in County News
Plans to ensure all councillors have CRB checks will now go to another committee following discussions at full council last week.
Councillors had been asked to adopt a notice of motion, submitted by council leader Cllr Jamie Adams, which would make it mandatory for all members of the council to hold a current enhanced CRB certificate.
However, some councillors disagreed with the requirement being mandatory and questions were raised about what could actually be done if a member’s check showed up convictions.
Cllr Adams’ proposal states that a county councillor’s role included engaging with vulnerable children and adults and a CRB certificate would “ensure that constituents and the wider public are suitably assured and members are effectively in a position to demonstrate and ultimately lead an overtly responsible attitude towards safeguarding in its wider context”.
Cllr Jacob Williams said that there were “no powers”
to remove a councillor from office and asked questions about who would have access to the information, before joking that the ruling Independent Plus Group could be considered vulnerable adults.
Cllr Williams put forward an amendment to the motion but then withdrew it.
Cllr Rhys Sinnett added that he supported the notice but there were questions that needed answering, as did Cllr Paul Miller.
Cabinet member for safeguarding Cllr Sue Perkins said it was “absolutely horrendous”
that councillors were not agreeing to the motion when other authority staff members had been asked to do the same.
“Of course you can’t say a CRB reveals everything but it’s like a badge, they know they can trust you. I’m not against it coming back to corporate governance with more details, but I can’t believe that we as county councillors would not go forward with this,” added Cllr Perkins.
Privacy issues and the necessity of the checks were also concerns raised by some councillors, including Cllrs Mike and Viv Stoddart.
Cllr Mike Stoddart said: “I have never been alone with a child as a governor and in other roles I’ve not been in a situation that would require a CRB. It should remain voluntary and not mandatory.”
It was agreed that further information and details would be gathered before the motion is discussed at the next corporate governance committee.
Cllr Adams added: “Safeguarding and education are very much the priority of this council and to this end we required all staff and all governors to undertake CRB checks.
What we are simply saying is that we should be part of that package as well.”