School staff 'without evidence of CRB checks'

People are working at some schools in Somerset without evidence of criminal record checks or references, a council report has said.

Inspectors went into 10 county council-run schools and found there were issues with Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance at half of them.

The internal audit said six people got jobs at five unidentified schools before getting CRB clearance.

Somerset County Council said an action plan had been drawn up in response.

The report also said: "The lack of evidence of pre-appointment checks including proof of identification and the obtaining of two references."

Auditors also found that the five schools did not have evidence of CRB checks for seven other people working there.

It found that one member of staff was not checked because they had been known to a school for 15 years.

School records

Two schools did not have evidence of CRB checks for supply teachers. There were also issues with seven of the schools not having evidence of the right to work in the UK for 36 new employees.

Some teachers were given jobs based on verbal references, including the post of one head teacher, the inspectors found.

School records are inspected by council auditors every year.

Somerset County Council said that where references were not obtained, new employees were already known to the school as parents, voluntary helpers or people who had previously worked there.

Regarding working without a completed CRB check, the council said staff were allowed to start work pending a CRB check, at the head teacher's discretion.

A council spokeswoman said: "In all cases where non-compliance was identified remedial action has been taken and the local authority has obtained confirmation from the schools concerned that they understand what is required, have taken action to ensure compliance and amended their procedures to ensure compliance.

"In addition, the issues highlighted have been raised with head teachers and school administrators in briefing sessions.

"An action plan in response to the audit report has been drawn up by the local authority to ensure schools are absolutely clear about best practice and Somerset policy and procedures."

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