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25/05/2010
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Learning and skills providers (education and training beyond age 16)

When the guidance refers to Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for under 18s, does this refer to all staff or just teaching staff?

Are 16–18 children and young people resident in land-based colleges covered in the boarding inspection arrangements?

How does the safeguarding guidance fit in with the complaints process where Ofsted does not take action on complaints about individuals, and if parents do not give sufficient details the issue is not referred to social services?

Where contracts – that is New Deal 18–24 – may contain vulnerable young people/previously looked after children, should CRB checks be in place?

What about situations where providers do not know their population because of confidentiality/safeguarding precautions for potential vulnerable learners?

What are the consequences for a provider of being judged inadequate as regards safeguarding – apart from having the inspection judgement published in their inspection report? What is the required speed of their response to this judgement? Who checks that they have responded effectively?

The Ofsted guidance on training for staff refers to Local Safeguarding Children Board level 1 and level 2 training. What do these levels mean and does it imply that the training has to come from the Local Safeguarding Children Board?

How does Ofsted inspect safeguarding when a provider subcontracts all its provision to other colleges or providers? Does Ofsted inspect how a provider checks the colleges’/providers’ arrangements, or does Ofsted inspect how each college/provider checks its arrangements?

How will an inspector know that the provider has checked the identity of staff as they start work? How can an inspector check that the provider does this correctly and that all the provider’s staff are who they claim to be?

Would inspectors expect to see that providers working with vulnerable adults have undertaken Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme training as part of safeguarding arrangements – even though providers do not have to CRB check staff?

Is a CRB check required for a tutor from overseas who works with vulnerable adults and under 18s? What should inspectors expect to find in a language college employing staff from overseas with a visa working with vulnerable adults and under 18s. Learning and Skills Council contract 7.3 line 10 of Annex A says that overseas applicants for employment will be CRB checked; other countries do not have the same CRB requirements nor allow access to records if they are kept.

What requirement is there on a work-based learning provider for 16–18 year olds to ensure that work-based learning supervisors have been CRB checked?

For safeguarding, where does a provider’s jurisdiction start and finish; for example, outside the college campus or travelling to a work placement?

Are prisoners over the age of 18 classed as vulnerable adults/learners?

What are the legal implications for lead inspectors if a safeguarding issue comes to light after an inspection has judged a setting to be satisfactory or better?

The grade characteristic for outstanding in safeguarding uses the words 'frequent' and 'intensive' to describe the people who need to be CRB checked and trained. What does this mean?

Is Ofsted asking for employers with apprentices to be CRB checked?

Are there safeguarding courses that Ofsted approves of?

An Ofsted inspection service provider is charging for safeguarding training? What is Ofsted’s view on this?

What is the difference between a health and safety issue and a safeguarding issue?

Can Ofsted describe why a limitation might be made on the overall effectiveness grade if a college is graded as adequate in safeguarding?

How can a college get a grade one for safeguarding?

 

 

Q. When the guidance refers to Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for under 18s, does this refer to all staff or just teaching staff?

A. The requirement for enhanced CRB checks in further education applies only to staff who are regularly caring for, training, supervising or being solely in charge of under 18-year-olds. The definition of ‘regularly’ was clarified in December 2009 by Sir Roger Singleton and the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

Exceptions are made for staff in this category who have been in uninterrupted employment – defined as ‘with no break in employment of longer than three months’ – since before April 2002 when CRB came into being. These staff should have been subject to a List 99* check.

There is no requirement for governors to have been CRB checked, unless they regularly take on such a role.

While colleges may consider it good practice to CRB-check all staff, this is in fact counter to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, since it requires disclosure of offences that are not relevant to posts not classified as above. This does not apply to schools, where all staff are subject to the same checks.

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Q. Are 1618 children and young people resident in land-based colleges covered in the boarding inspection arrangements?

A. Land-based provision with residential accommodation should already be covered by social care inspection. In future, the intention is to cover land-based provision through a single inspection event.

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Q. How does the safeguarding guidance fit in with the complaints process where Ofsted does not take action on complaints about individuals, and if parents do not give sufficient details the issue is not referred to social services?

A. If Ofsted receives a complaint relating to an individual child that indicates safeguarding issues, or about a possible abuser, this will be referred immediately to Ofsted’s national compliance, investigation and enforcement section; the section will work to ensure that these details are provided for the relevant authorities – the local authority designate officer or the police.

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Q. Where contracts – that is New Deal 18–24 – may contain vulnerable young people/previously looked after children, should CRB checks be in place?

A. There is no requirement for this until the Vetting and Barring Scheme comes into force, but inspectors should expect to see evidence of a risk assessment and policies/procedures to safeguard learners as outlined in National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and Department for Education Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education guidance. Most local learning and skills councils will have inserted a section in provider contracts requiring providers adopt the same approaches for vulnerable adults as for children – that is, under 18-year-olds.

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Q. What about situations where providers do not know their population because of confidentiality/safeguarding precautions for potential vulnerable learners?

A. See the above FAQ; inspectors also need to be aware of the guidance about who may be defined as a vulnerable adult, and in what circumstances they would not – for example, a person with a disability who is using a service that it not specifically targeted at disabled people.

However, we should expect that providers have taken all reasonable measures to identify those of their learners who may be vulnerable as part of the evidence about promoting safeguarding in the leadership and management inspection judgement.

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Q. What are the consequences for a provider of being judged inadequate as regards safeguarding – apart from having the inspection judgement published in their inspection report? What is the required speed of their response to this judgement? Who checks that they have responded effectively?

A. If a provider is judged inadequate for safeguarding, then it is most likely that they will be judged inadequate for overall effectiveness. In most instances, once the judgement is moderated, this would lead to a monitoring visit and reinspection, usually within 12–15 months – see the Ofsted inspection frameworks for more details:

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Q. The Ofsted guidance on training for staff refers to Local Safeguarding Children Board level 1 and level 2 training. What do these levels mean and does it imply that the training has to come from the Local Safeguarding Children Board?

A. We have changed the draft grade characteristics to remove the statement that all staff should have been trained to level 2 for the provider to be judged ’good’ for safeguarding, as we realised that this was confusing for a sector used to NVQ levels.

However, all staff in regular contact with children should have been trained to a basic level. The designated member of staff for safeguarding should have received further training, and had more frequent updates.

These levels refer to guidance on the content of training that was originally provided by the Department for Education and Skills in 2006 in relation to ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’. The level descriptor, and the source of the training, is less important than the content of the training. The key judgement is whether it meets the needs of the staff who have been through it.

Following a risk assessment, providers should assess what level of training is appropriate for different types of staff; providers can then use any suitable training provider to deliver this training for their staff. The reference to Local Safeguarding Children Board level 2 was intended as an example, but other courses are available.

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Q. How does Ofsted inspect safeguarding when a provider subcontracts all its provision to other colleges or providers? Does Ofsted inspect how a provider checks the colleges’/providers’ arrangements, or does Ofsted inspect how each college/provider checks its arrangements?

A. The provider is responsible for ensuring subcontractors are making the appropriate safeguarding arrangements; the provider should be able to demonstrate to inspectors that it is doing this rigorously. Inspectors can test this during discussions with subcontractor staff and learners and visits to subcontractor sites. It is also important to refer to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) or National Employer Service (NES) contract section on working with subcontractors.

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Q. How will an inspector know that the provider has checked the identity of staff as they start work? How can an inspector check that the provider does this correctly and that all the provider’s staff are who they claim to be?

A. The provider should be able show the inspector evidence that they do this; for example. a spreadsheet showing which documents the provider has seen and checked for all staff.

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Q. Would inspectors expect to see that providers working with vulnerable adults have undertaken Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme training as part of safeguarding arrangements – even though providers do not have to CRB check staff?

A. The Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) scheme*, now the Vulnerable Adults’ List, is a list of individuals barred from working with vulnerable adults. Like List 99* with children, the Vulnerable Adults’ List will act as a statutory ban on those individuals who have harmed vulnerable adults in their care. Access is restricted to regulated social care providers only. There is no training as such associated with the Vulnerable Adults’ List, but it would be good practice for providers to be aware of this.

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Q. Is a CRB check required for a tutor from overseas who works with vulnerable adults and under 18s? What should inspectors expect to find in a language college employing staff from overseas with a visa working with vulnerable adults and under 18s. Learning and Skills Council contract 7.3 line 10 of Annex A says that overseas applicants for employment will be CRB checked; other countries do not have the same CRB requirements nor allow access to records if they are kept.

A. The Department for Education guidance Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education makes the requirements very clear.

  • 3.49. List 99* and CRB Disclosures and where appropriate PoCA* [Protection of Children Act] List checks must be completed on overseas staff. In addition, criminal records information should be sought from countries where individuals have worked or lived.
  • 4.9. …in the case of CRB Disclosures, the certificate must be obtained before, or as soon as practicable after, appointment.
  • 4.66. In addition all staff who have lived outside the United Kingdom and were recruited since March 2002 should have CRB Disclosures undertaken where this has not been done, unless the individual had within the three months before his or her appointment worked in a school in England in a post which brought him or her into regular contact with children (or any post they were appointed to since 12 May 2006); or an FE college in England in a position which involved the provision of education and regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or young people under the age of 18.

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Q. What requirement is there on a work-based learning provider for 16-18 year olds to ensure that work-based learning supervisors have been CRB checked?

A. Training organisations or employers taking responsibility for under 18s on a long-term placement – that is, lasting more than a month – should be asked to make a commitment to safeguarding their welfare by endorsing an agreed child protection policy or statement of principles. Staff in the workplace who teach, train, or are in sole charge of under 18s as part of their normal job role should be CRB checked.

A work-based learning provider will decide, after a robust risk assessment, who these individuals are likely to be. In most instances this is likely to be a very small number of staff.

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Q. For safeguarding, where does a provider’s jurisdiction start and finish; for example, outside the college campus or travelling to a work placement?

A. If a learner aged under 18 or a vulnerable adult is travelling from college/provider site to a workplace site during the college day then the college should take reasonable steps to ensure their safety; for example, making sure the workplace is expecting them and that the workplace lets the college know if the learner does not arrive.

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Q. Are prisoners over the age of 18 classed as vulnerable adults/learners?

A. The Vetting and Barring Scheme guidance published in October 2009 gives a full list of those who are defined as vulnerable adults. Under section 2.31, these include, among others, any person who is aged 18 or over and who is:

  • detained in lawful custody in a prison, remand centre, young offender institution, secure training centre or attendance centre, or under the powers of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • under the supervision of the probation services.

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Q. What are the legal implications for lead inspectors if a safeguarding issue comes to light after an inspection has judged a setting to be satisfactory or better?

A. As with other matters on inspection, inspectors need to show that they have made every effort to cover the inspection framework, gathered relevant evidence from a range of sources, kept accurate records of evidence and meetings, and made fair judgements as a team using the inspection criteria and grading guidance, within agreed inspection principles.

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Q. The grade characteristic for outstanding in safeguarding uses the words 'frequent' and 'intensive' to describe the people who need to be CRB checked and trained. What does this mean?

A. This has the same meaning as in the Vetting and Barring Scheme guidance in October 2009. The definition of ‘frequent’ and ‘intensive’ was clarified in December 2009 by Sir Roger Singleton and the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

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Q. Is Ofsted asking for employers with apprentices to be CRB checked?

A. It is not down to Ofsted to ask for something. The legislation is a matter for the Department for Education; our interpretation would be that CRB checks in an employer would only be required for anyone who is employed wholly or mainly in a training/assessing role.

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Q. Are there safeguarding courses that Ofsted approves of?

A. Unfortunately, this is not an area where Ofsted can give advice. This is a commercial decision and it would be inappropriate for us to comment. There may well be an opportunity for the Learning and Skills Improvement Service to provide suitable training for sector members.

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Q. An Ofsted inspection service provider is charging for safeguarding training? What is Ofsted’s view on this?

A. This is not a matter that Ofsted can comment on. Inspection service providers (ISPs) are commercial organisations that work in partnership with Ofsted. Some ISPs have training divisions that are kept totally separate from their inspection activities. However, ISPs should not provide training in areas where there is a conflict of interest with their inspection activity. If any college feels there is a conflict of interest, they should let us know with full details.

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Q. What is the difference between a health and safety issue and a safeguarding issue?

A. This very much depends on one’s definition of health and safety. In general, safeguarding is much more encompassing and concerns activities/issues that affect the welfare of children and young people. In the Common inspection framework for further education and skills 2009, judgements about health and safety will normally be made under A3 (How safe do learners feel) with broader safeguarding issues judged under C3.

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Q. Can Ofsted describe why a limitation might be made on the overall effectiveness grade if a college is graded as adequate in safeguarding?

A. Inspection is always a judgement call. There is no ready reckoner to explain all the circumstances that might affect such a judgement, but the illustrative grade characteristics are helpful in giving colleges a guide.

The safeguarding grades will contribute to and may limit the grade for overall effectiveness in the following ways:

  • if a provider is not meeting their legal duties this should prompt a judgement of inadequate for safeguarding
  • where a judgement of inadequate is awarded for either of the two safeguarding judgements (leadership and management or outcomes for learners) it is most unlikely that the overall effectiveness of the provider will be better than satisfactory. It is likely that the overall judgement will be inadequate
  • where a judgement of satisfactory is awarded for safeguarding it is most unlikely that the overall effectiveness of the provider will be better than good.

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Q. How can a college get a grade one for safeguarding?

A. In two out of 13 recent college inspections, an outstanding grade was awarded. Therefore there are several recently published reports that give a flavour of this and provide some illustration of outstanding safeguarding practice.

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*On 12 October 2009, the three current barred lists (List 99, Proceeds of Crime Act and Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme) were replaced by two new barred lists administered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority: the Children’s List and the Vulnerable Adults’ List.