Safeguarding – John Smith, St Joseph’s Safeguarding Representative (18.6.15)

 

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (previously CRB checks)

  • The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.
  • A DBS check may be needed for:
  •    certain jobs or voluntary work, eg working with children or in healthcare
  •    applying to foster or adopt a child

 

How long is a DBS check valid for?

  • A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It is up to an employer to decide if and when a new check is needed.
  • Applicants and employers can use the DBS update service to keep a certificate up to date or carry out checks on a potential employee’s certificate.

 

Types of criminal records check

  • There are 3 types of check. The employer or organisation running the check should provide the applicant with more information about the level of check required.
  • Criminal record check applicants must be 16 or over.
  • Standard
  • This checks for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings, and will take about 2 weeks.
  • Enhanced
  • This includes the same as the standard check plus any additional information held by local police that’s reasonably considered relevant to the workforce being applied for (adult, child or ‘other’ workforce). It usually takes about 4 weeks.
  • ‘Other’ workforce means those who don’t work with children or adults specifically, but potentially both, eg taxi drivers. In this case, the police will only release information that’s relevant to the post being applied for.
  • Enhanced with list checks
  • This is like the enhanced check, but includes a check of the DBS barred lists. It usually takes about 4 weeks

 

Volunteers

  • Checks for eligible volunteers are free of charge. This includes anyone who spends time helping people and is:
  • not being paid (apart from for travel and other approved out of pocket expenses)
  • not only looking after a close relative
  • An employer can only apply for a check if the job or role is eligible for one. They must tell the applicant why they’re being checked and where they can get independent advice.

 

DBS barred lists

  • The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.
  • Jobs that involve carrying out certain activities for children and adults may require an enhanced DBS check with a check of the barred lists.
  • This will check whether someone’s included in the 2 DBS ‘barred lists’ (previously called ISA barred lists) of individuals who are unsuitable for working with:
    • children
    • adults
  • People on the barred lists can’t do certain types of work.
  • There are specific rules for working with children – known as working in a regulated activity with children.
  • These are different than the rules for regulated activities for adults.

 

Refer someone to DBS

  • Contact the barring helpline for help referring someone to DBS.
  • DBS barring helpline:
    • Tel: 01325 953795
  • Find out about call charges
  • Employers must refer someone to DBS if they:
    •    sacked them because they harmed someone
    •    sacked them or removed them from working in regulated activity because they might have harmed someone
    •    were planning to sack them for either of these reasons, but they resigned first
  • You’re breaking the law if you don’t refer someone to DBS when you should.

 

Taking photographs

  • Schools often invoke the Data Protection Act 1998, or the Children Act 2004 as the reason for photography bans. “But there is nothing in the Children Act that says ‘Thou shalt not photograph children’,“.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office has taken to putting out bi-annual statements refuting the myth that the Data Protection Act prohibits photography. “We call it the ‘data protection duckout’,”
  • “If there is something people don’t want to do, but they can’t explain it easily, they say it’s because of the Data Protection Act.”
  • In fact, photography bans cannot be traced to any single event or law. Rather, it seems that there was a shift from the early 2000s, when similar regulations diffused throughout schools and sports organisations.

 

So, what can you photograph?

  • It may surprise you to learn that with a few very specific exceptions, there is no law in the UK against taking photographs. That said, there are a range of quite specific exceptions to this rule.
  • There is no law against taking photographs on private property.
  • You may not take photographs (for commercial gain) in certain specified public spaces: Trafalgar Square and the Royal Parks
  • According to the Official Secrets Act 1911, you may not take photographs in “prohibited” places (defence locations and munitions factories spring to mind). Further, s.58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 makes it an offence to “possess a document or record containing information”… “of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”
  • When it comes to individuals, there is no specific law on privacy. At least not in a public place or where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy
  • Far too many petty officials – and newspapers – have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret the DPA in the most unfavourable light possible. This is why the Information Commissioner now produces an occasional guide, to matters that are really NOT covered by the DPA.

 

The law

  • Protection of Children act 1978 s1
  • An act to prevent the exploitation of children by making indecent photographs of them and to penalise the distribution, showing and advertisement of such indecent images
  • Take
  • Permit to be taken
  • Make
  • Distribute
  • Have in possession with a view to distribute
  • Publish or cause to be published
  • Max 10 yrs sentence
  • Criminal Justice Act 1988 s160
  • Offence of Possession of Indecent Images of Children
  • Max 5 yrs custodial
  • Coroners and Justice Act 2009
  • Offence of Possession of Prohibited Images of Children
  • Non photographic images of children
  • Similar definitions of Copine Scale
  • Max 3 yrs custodial

 

FACEBOOK

  • What do people share and how are they passing along the information that matters most?
  • A look at 7 billion sharing signals generated by 300 million users across a million domains and turned up some stats that blew us away.
  • Sharing generates more than 10 percent of all internet traffic and 31 percent of referral traffic – half the volume of search – and while Facebook is the largest sharing channel, making up more than a third of the pie, it’s by no means the only one. And people are sharing about everything, from arts and entertainment to health and science.
  • Using social media – such as social networking sites Facebook and Twitter – can be a great way to interact and communicate with others. But it’s worth remembering that we’re potentially sharing our thoughts and views with the whole world.
  • Even if you’ve secured your account so that only a select few can view it, there’s always a risk that something you share could be reposted elsewhere.
  • And if what you share on social media sites is ‘defamatory’ (meaning that it could be damaging to someone’s reputation), then you could land yourself in hot water, legally speaking

 

Think before you post

  • Consider the following scenario and think about the possible consequences.
  • You’re watching a TV show and a famous guest is being really obnoxious. You grab your phone and tweet some very cutting remarks about that person.
  • In the eyes of the law, you’re allowed to express honestly-held opinions. However, if your comments go beyond cutting remarks and become serious allegations, then you could face legal repercussions – especially if what you are saying is based on unfounded claims

The legal viewpoint

  • An online comment, such as a tweet, is potentially libellous in England and Wales if it damages someone’s reputation “in the estimation of right-thinking members of society”. It can do this by exposing them to “hatred, ridicule or contempt”.
  • It is a civil offence (rather than a criminal one) so you won’t go to prison, but you could end up with a large damages bill. These rules also apply to a ‘retweet’ – which is when you share or forward someone else’s message on Twitter.
  • You may not have made the original allegation, but retweeting it could be seen as an endorsement. You could be accused of making a defamatory statement, and you could be sued.
  • You can also be sued even if you do not name a person in a defamatory statement. Basically, if the person you are talking about can be identified from what you have said, then you can be sued.
  • Scotland has a different legal system to England and Wales, but the same principles broadly apply when it comes to defamation.

 

What is the Restricted list?

  • Putting someone on the Restricted list means that you’re still friends, but that you only share your posts with them when you choose Public as the audience, or when you tag them in the post.
  • For example, if you’re friends with your boss and you put them on your Restricted list, then post a photo and choose Friends as the audience, you aren’t sharing that photo with your boss, or anyone else on your Restricted list. However, if you tag your boss in the photo, or chose Public as the audience, they’ll be able to see the photo.

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