The Isle of Wight’s first Green Party councillor has put forward a motion calling on all councillors who make decisions affecting children and vulnerable adults to be CRB checked. The motion also calls for every councillor to have a DBS check at the very least. Councillor Michael Lilley, who was elected to the Ryde East Ward in 2007, believes that it is important that residents of the island are aware that council members have been checked to ensure they meet safeguarding requirements.
Greens seeing Red
The motion was discussed at a full council meeting on Wednesday. While the Council’s current policy already includes the need for advanced checks for council workers and representatives in cases involving children and vulnerable adults, there is no requirement for all councillors to have a DBS check.
This proposal comes as the council recently voted to allow Hampshire County Council to retain control of the Island’s children’s services. Hampshire was ordered to take over children’s services on the Isle of Wight five years ago after a devastating Ofsted report identified serious failings and a strong risk of children being harmed. The now-voluntary partnership with Hampshire shows the need for Councils to make the best decisions possible when it comes to ensuring safeguarding measures are in place.
To make matters worse, last month, the Daily Telegraph rated the Isle of Wight, alongside Durham and Cornwall, one of the ten worst counties in which to raise a child. Surrey topped the poll for the best place.
Any company working with children or vulnerable adults may wish to follow Councillor Lilley’s suggestion and ensure that all of their workers have a basic DBS check, regardless of whether they regularly work with children. Many companies, such as carecheck.co.uk, offer a fast and cost-effective service. Smaller companies in particular are advised to find a reliable provider, as the Disability and Barring Service will only create direct relationships with employers who expect to carry out more than 99 DBS checks a year.
Whether the motion will pass is still uncertain. However, by admitting it’s not yet feeling ready to even try to take back control of its own children’s services, the Council seems to be suggesting that it knows it has much more work to do.