Ukip councillor issues fresh call for mandatory DBS checks to ‘protect integrity’

Cllr John Perry
Cllr John Perry
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A FRESH call has been made for mandatory DBS checks for councillors.

Ukip councillor John Perry said compulsory checks should be introduced among Havant Borough Council’s representatives to ‘protect’ the authority’s ‘integrity’.

The plea came at a meeting of full council held yesterday, where Cllr Perry referred to a leaked document alleging inappropriate behaviour among a list of MPs.

Cllr Perry, of Hayling East ward, said: ‘There is no evidence any of these allegations are true at all, but we should protect the integrity of the council and carry out these checks.

‘We as councillors visit schools, the elderly and vulnerable people.

‘I have no reason to believe anybody would fail a DBS check, I believe everybody would pass – but it’s important that we have those checks in place.’

A call for mandatory DBS checks for council members was initially made by Conservative councillor David Keast at a meeting on September 20.

However, council policy did not change, after it was outlined in council leader Tony Briggs’ report on November 1, 2017 that the checks are not legally required based on the role that councillors in the borough perform.

Addressing Cllr Perry’s concerns yesterday, Cllr Briggs said: ‘If members believe DBS checks should be mandatory, it is up to the council to decide so.

‘If a member feels that way, they can put a motion before council and the council will give it consideration.’

Cllr Perry said: ‘I believe it’s essential.

‘At the next council meeting I will be raising a motion to request DBS checks on all councillors and I will offer to pay the cost of the DBS check for myself out of my council allowance.

‘I would hope the others do the same.’

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

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

As part of its policy, Hampshire County Council requires all members to undergo DBS checks.

Changes made in 2009 also saw mandatory CRB checks introduced among members of Portsmouth City Council.