Revised disclosure checks

30th November 2007 at 00:00
East Renfrewshire Council - widely regarded as taking the toughest stance of any authority on child protection measures - has issued revised guidelines on disclosure checks for school volunteers.

But the Scottish Parent Teacher Council says it has got its new advice wrong and has repeated an appeal to the Scottish Government to issue clarification for all councils.

Last week, East Renfrewshire said volunteers who were in direct contact with children at school, or who were in school when children were present, during the day or after it finished, had to be checked. One check would be valid for any school in the authority, so parents with children at more than one school would not require a separate check for each.

Judith Gillespie, development manager for the SPTC, said the authority had misunderstood the legal position. Under the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act, an adult must have a separate disclosure check for each position held, where its normal duties include childcare. Therefore, the authority could not legally dictate that one check was sufficient for all schools.

However, the requirement for carrying out disclosure checks referred only to people working in a childcare role. There was no requirement for parent volunteers to be checked if they were meeting in a school when children were present.

Although there are proposals to simplify the law so that there is one disclosure check per person rather than multiple checks, this has yet to be enacted, said Mrs Gillespie.

The SPTC has also clashed with Argyll and Bute Council over a letter from the authority to parent council members, telling them they all had to have disclosure checks. Mrs Gillespie claims that Scottish Government officials have confirmed that SPTC advice is correct, but she is angry that the Government has resisted its calls for national guidance to be issued.

She added that the issue of disclosure checks had become more sensitive, following the revelations about Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs missing computer discs: "People are rightly concerned about how confidential information about their past will be treated, particularly in light of the loss of 25 million people's data."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today