Safety checking for local authorities

A child’s safety is paramount.

For some time now many local authorities have been voluntarily ensuring that their children’s workers are safe to work with children.

From 1 September 2016 local authorities are legally required to ensure core children’s workers starting a new job are safety checked (including a police vet).

Phased Implementation

The safety checking requirements for local authorities and the organisations they fund to provide children’s services include all people who work with and around children. The requirements are being phased in, as follows:

  • From 1 September 2016 for core children’s workers starting a new job
  • From 1 September 2017 for non-core children’s workers starting a new job
  • From 1 September 2019 for core children’s workers already employed
  • From 1 September 2020 for non-core children’s workers already employed.

Find out more about how to conduct a safety check.

Find out definitions of core and non-core children’s workers.

New Regulated Services

Schedule 1 of the Vulnerable Children’s Act has been updated to include local authority services, (brought forward from 1 July 2017) to include children’s workers in the following types of services:

Local authority services:

  1. social and support services, including (but not limited to) mentoring and counselling services, and community outreach, advocacy and engagement services
  2. education services, including (but not limited to) learn-to-swim programmes and digital literacy programmes
  3. services provided at community facilities, including (but not limited to) sports and recreation centres, libraries, swimming pools, galleries, and community centres
  4. services provided in public environments, including (but not limited to) surf and beach patrols, skate park guardians, and road safety coordinators

Core Worker Exemptions

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 includes the Workforce Restriction, which prohibits the employment of people with certain serious criminal convictions as core children’s workers, unless they hold a Core Worker Exemption (CWE).

The CWE implementation process for local authorities will be:

  • From 01 September 2016 all new core workers with a specified offence require an exemption
  • By 01 September 2017 all core workers with a specified offence will require an exemption

Find out more about the Core Worker Exemption process.

Local authority representatives helped compile the new regulated services for their organisations.