Checks on staff working with children still inadequate

Recruitment procedures and arrangements for checking that staff are suitable to work with children are still inadequate, according to a new government report.

The joint inspectorate report on safeguarding children warns that the checking of recruitment agency staff, contractors and staff from outside the UK, and the rechecking of existing staff with the Criminal Records Bureau, were particularly inconsistent.

The report, by the chief inspectors of the eight public services working closely with children, also warns that physical control is being used inappropriately and too often in young offender institutions, secure training centres and secure children’s homes.

They add that staff in these settings lacked training on how to avoid causing injury when carrying out physical control methods, and call on the government to issue one agreed set of principles for when they can be used.

A Department for Education and Skills spokesman told Personnel Today‘s sister publication Community Care: “There is actually a tremendous amount that has been achieved, and this report recognises that.

“We have come a long way since the Victoria Climbie inquiry, with greater accountability and safeguards in the system than ever before.

“But of course there is still more to do, and we will consider the report’s findings carefully.”

The department is already addressing a number of the key issues raised by the report through policies such as the workforce strategy, children’s trusts, the Integrated Children’s System and the Common Assessment Framework, the spokesman added.

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