Calls launched to introduce mandatory DBS checks for Havant borough councillors

The Public Service Plaza, Havant Borough Council offices
Picture: Allan Hutchings (150078-158)
The Public Service Plaza, Havant Borough Council offices Picture: Allan Hutchings (150078-158)

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A CONSERVATIVE councillor has called for the introduction of mandatory DBS checks for Havant Borough Council members.

Councillor for Cowplain David Keast asked the cabinet to reconsider its stance at a meeting of full council on Wednesday.

Councillor David Keast. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Councillor David Keast. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Formerly known as a CRB check, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enables employers to prevent taking on unsuitable candidates for roles which involve working with vulnerable people, including children.

Havant Borough Council does not require councillors to undergo DBS checks – even when visiting schools.

Speaking on the matter, cllr Keast said: ‘Child protection is high on everbody’s list at the moment.

‘It is important that we consider making this change.

‘If you are dealing with children then it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

‘Just like anybody else from any other walk of life, councillors must have the right credentials to do their job.

‘From what I know, visiting schools is a part of that job.

‘While I’m sure all councillors would be clear, we need to know that the people letting them into schools can be confident they are reliable.’

Cllr Keast’s query was taken up by acting leader of Havant Borough Council Anthony Briggs.

Cllr Briggs – who is standing in for Michael Cheshire while he takes a sabbatical – said: ‘Now the matter has been raised, the cabinet will look at it and put forward a motion.

‘Needless to say child protection is very important.

‘While DBS checks are not currently mandatory as part of the council’s constitution, if this is what the members want and, of course this is a democracy, we will certainly look into it.’

Cllr Keast also represents Cowplain and Hart Plain at Hampshire County Council, which screens its members with DBS checks on a compulsory basis.

He said: ‘This is not the first time I have raised this question at Havant.

‘Since I became a county councillor I have undergone three checks.

‘The results come back quickly – within about a week in fact – so if anybody asks, you can say you have been given a certificate.

‘If this is a constitutional matter then we should think about changing it.’

Employers carry out DBS checks to examine a potential employee’s criminal record.

The check, which is completed by filling out a form, is often carried out in the fields of healthcare and childcare.