Havant councillors reject motion to undergo mandatory DBS checks

COUNCILLORS quashed a motion calling for them to undergo mandatory DBS checks.

Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 10:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 10:15 pm

Havant Borough Council members voted against taking on Disclosure and Barring Service checks as standard in a meeting of full council last night.

Calls to introduce the measure among all borough councillors were launched by Conservative Cllr David Keast in September.

But in a U-turn at yesterday’s meeting, the Cowplain representative was among the majority which voted against its implementation in a recognised motion.

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Cllr Keast, who is also a member of Hampshire County Council, said: ‘The county council carries out these checks as standard and I have been checked and cleared at the highest level.

‘The reason for that is because I come into contact with a lot of children’s services.

‘But at Havant Borough Council, we don’t have this same sort of contact.

‘Officers have now checked and they are quite convinced, by what authorities have told them, it is not necessary at Havant Borough Council.

‘It’s down to individuals to seek the checks if they want them themselves.’

Yesterday’s motion was proposed by Ukip councillor for Hayling East, John Perry, in a bid to demonstrate HBC can be seen to take ‘all reasonable precautions to protect the vulnerable’.

After HBC cast its vote, Cllr Perry said: ‘I believe this motion should have passed. As a councillor I am called to visit residents – I don’t know how old, elderly or vulnerable they are and I have never been accompanied on any visit.

‘My intention of the motion was the get a result that demonstrated to the public they could be assured all of us at least had the checks, offering an appropriate degree of protection to residents.

‘I would even be willing to pay for my DBS check.’

Formerly known as a CRB check, the Disclosure and Barring Service enables employers to avoid taking on unsuitable candidates for roles including work with vulnerable people, including children and the elderly.

The check allows them to examine any potential employee’s criminal record.

As part of their role, HBC members occasionally carry out visits to schools and vulnerable adults.

Conservative Cllr Gary Hughes – who voted against the motion – said: ‘We’ve gone through the legal process and guidance says we do not require DBS checks.

‘I believe parties and associations are responsible for vetting their candidates prior to any election.’