Extra security checks necessary

Organisations responsible for the care of vulnerable people are being
advised to adopt a new line of employment policy to help reduce any security

Loopholes in the law enable staff to hide offences committed during their
period of employment, with any breeches able to go undetected unless
voluntarily disclosed.

If certain types of offences are allowed to continue undetected by employers
it could put children, the elderly, people with special needs and the sick at
greater risk.

Shaista Anjam, a solicitor at law firm Shakespeares, which represents the
Brook sexual health clinic for young people in Birmingham, said organisations
should ensure they are able to carry out regular checks on staff.

In one case a man working in a charity’s finance department had been
convicted of fraud, but other offences that do not lead to a jail term can also
be hidden from managers.

As well as conducting pre-employment criminal checks Anjam advised employers
to incorporate an explicit clause into each contract that would allow criminal
conviction searches throughout the full term of employment.

"It is essential that companies such as Brook have provisions in place
where they can check employees regularly. This is a call to all charities and
voluntary organisations to check employment policies," Anjam said.

"If not legally bound within an official employment contract any future
checks could be considered illegal and the company could find themselves in
court charged with a breech of data protection or human rights."

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