Please confirm if any schools in East Grinstead, West Sussex have any employees of any position on the sex offenders list or other similar list.
Please Note: This republished response was originally made in April 2006.
I am writing to advise you that the information you requested is not held by this Department. We do not hold records of all individuals who work in schools or other education establishments.Such records are held locally by employers such as governing bodies of schools and local authorities. Similarly, the Department does not hold records identifying all sex offenders who are required to register with the police: this is the jurisdiction of the police and details of those individuals are held by police forces.
It is a legal requirement that any prospective employer in the education service checks List 99 before appointing an individual.This is by virtue of section 142 of the Education Act 2002, which stipulates that an employer shall not use a person to carry out work in a school, or certain other types of work in the education sector, in contravention of any direction that has been issued by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. List 99 is the central record of those individuals whose employment is barred or restricted as a result of such a direction.
The purpose of List 99 is not only to prevent individuals who have committed sexual offences from working with children, but to safeguard children and young people from contact with people who are considered unsuitable because the individual presents a risk to their safety or welfare.This can include those convicted for crimes such as deception and those unsuitable for health reasons, as well as specified sex offences.
In addition to checking List 99 the Department’s guidance on pre-appointment checks strongly recommends that employers undertake a number of other checks including asking the individual to obtain a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure. CRB disclosures contain a broader and historical range of information and are, therefore, fundamental in ensuring that education employers only admit those individuals who are suitable to work with children.
As you may know, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills made statements to Parliament on 19 January and 1 March in which she outlined her plans to strengthen considerably the existing vetting and barring system.
In the 19 January statement, the Secretary of State announced her intention to put in place arrangements to make sure that more decisions are made by reference to mandatory criteria. For those remaining cases where judgements do need to be exercised, decisions will no longer be made by Ministers. In the short term, a panel of child protection experts, led by Roger Singleton, the former head of Barnardo's, has been established to advise Ministers on decisions. In the longer term, the Secretary of State intends to legislate to give independent experts, rather than Ministers, the final decision on who should be barred. She also announced that she intends to make it a legal requirement for all newly appointed staff to be subject to a CRB disclosure.
The List 99 review identified 10 cases since 1997 where, on the basis of advice, Ministers have made the decision not to include on List 99, an individual who has been placed on the Sex Offenders' Register. Officials and the police have examined each of these cases and have concluded that none of the individuals concerned is working in a school or poses a current risk to children.
The 19 January statement, the Secretary of State's letter to employers, and the List 99 review document can be viewed on the Department’s website.
The 1 March statement can be viewed on the Parliament website.
Ministers and the Department are fully committed to putting in place measures to make sure children are safe in our schools through implementing vetting and barring arrangements that are the toughest they have ever been and carry the full confidence of pupils and parents.I know that you must have found issues reported over the past few weeks of concern and hope that the information available via the above website will help reassure you that we intend to bring about the necessary changes to create a system where child protection comes first, above all other considerations.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.Please remember to quote the reference number below in any future communications.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, you should write to me.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you can apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our complaints procedure.
Written Ministerial Statement by Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, about arrangements for vetting adults working with children, and for barring those who are unsuitable.