Agenda Item No. 4
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING): 12 JANUARY 2015
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 1 DECEMBER 2014
C2560 CORPORATE SAFEGUARDING (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEES – SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH, LIFELONG LEARNING AND CORPORATE RESOURCES) -
Cabinet was updated on the work that had been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults that required specific Council services.
The Corporate Safeguarding Group continued to monitor the safeguarding arrangements within the local authority, including recruitment within the council and schools. Monitoring the Safer Recruitment Policy in respect of new and existing employees was undertaken by Transact and Human Resources on a scheduled basis and by Internal Audit as part of their ongoing audit programme.
As requested by members, Human Resources conducted a further audit of new appointments to the council and schools during the period between March and June 2014. The focus of the audit was to identify any areas of non-compliance with the Safer Recruitment policy and to implement any measures to improve consistent application.
The audit showed an overall 18.6% of those posts subject to the Safer Recruitment policy had started work where documentation remained outstanding. This represented an average of 6.5 employees per month, compared to 6.3 per month as reported in the last audit report. Over half of the posts had a signed risk assessment form in place prior to the employee starting employment as required under the policy.
The audit also showed an average of 5 new starters per month in schools with documentation still outstanding on commencement of employment over the four month period. This was an improvement on the previous audit report, where an average of 6 employees per month had started work with documentation outstanding over the three month period. Appendix B attached to the report identified the positions and the outstanding documentation as at 1 July, 2014 over the preceding four month audit period and the actions/changes that had taken place during and since the audit was conducted.
The report outlined that a greater percentage of new starters started work without full checks in place, in comparison to the last report. However, this could be attributed in part to the changes that had occurred to the DBS administrative procedures, and in particular, recent delays in administering disclosure applications by the DBS - alongside the need to rely on the employee to produce their DBS disclosure for validation by the council.
The changes to the DBS arrangements had made necessary the proposed changes to the Safer Recruitment policy as set out below:
- reference to the DBS Update Service process and procedure;
- recent updated guidance from the Welsh Government in relation to the additional pre-employment checks necessary to cover mid career changes and changes from permanent to temporary or supply/relief work;
- note the withdrawal of the management advice legal matrix on DBS disclosure outcomes and actions as determined by the category of offence pending ongoing review (interim arrangements have been implemented to cover the review period);
- a number of administrative changes, for example to reflect changes to Directorate Safeguarding representatives.
An internal consultation process in respect of revised Disclosure & Barring Service policy and supporting guidance was nearing completion. The revised document would be referred to the Cabinet for determination. Recent changes to the DBS arrangements had been incorporated within the revised Safer Recruitment policy which was appended at Appendix A to the report.
This was a matter for Executive decision
(1) T H A T the work that had been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults who, by accessing certain services, may be defined as vulnerable be noted.
(2) T H A T the essential changes to the Safer Recruitment Policy as set out in Appendix A as attached to the report be approved.
(3) T H A T Cabinet continue to receive six-monthly reports on work carried out to improve corporate safeguarding arrangements and the effectiveness of relevant policies.
(4) T H A T the report and supporting attachments be referred to the Scrutiny Committees (Corporate Resources, Lifelong Learning and Social Care & Health) for information.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To note the recent developments in corporate arrangements for safeguarding.
(2) To ensure that the Council and its schools adopt good practice in their arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults, including maintaining policies and procedures for carrying out safeguarding checks on workers, volunteers, agency staff and contractors with unsupervised access to children and vulnerable people in accordance with Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) and legal obligations.
(3) To allow Cabinet to exercise effective oversight of this key area of corporate working.
(4) To provide the Scrutiny Committees (Corporate Resources, Lifelong Learning and Social Care & Health) with update reports on the Safer Recruitment policy.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 1 DECEMBER 2014