Disqualification by association

DfE Advice causes furore

The Department for Education issued ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education: childcare disqualification requirements – supplementary advice’ on 13th October 2014 ostensibly extending disqualification from childcare registration rules to primary schools from 1st September 2014.

The DfE advice is that schools should obtain additional information about certain staff members, volunteers and those who live or work in their households permanently or temporarily.

It is suggested that staff and volunteers be required to answer questions that relate to disqualifying criteria, not only in relation to themselves but also to other individuals who form part of their household. If a disqualifying criterion applies then the member of staff or volunteer in question is disqualified from working with early years or later years children (depending on the type of duties undertaken) until a waiver is applied for and granted.

Whilst calls for greater clarity regarding the rules are clamorous, schools whose staff or volunteers provide care or education to early years children have been left to figure it out on their own. New guidance is not expected until September 2015 at the earliest.

Reports in the media suggest as many as 300 employees have been suspended already following disclosure of information that suggests automatic disqualification.

We have designed a Suitability Toolkit to help new and existing clients deal with compliance and implementation challenges. We are happy to provide advice and assistance wherever it is needed.