Under the current provisions of safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education, anyone working as a governor of a maintained school or further education (FE) college (including sixth-form college), which involves regular work in the presence of, or care for, children, or training, supervising or being in sole change of children must have an enhanced CRB check (if appointed after April 2002). CRB checks are not currently required for any other governors.
The word ‘work’ includes unpaid work by volunteers, including governors.
According to Ofsted, volunteers’ checks are required only for those who have regular and unsupervised access to children and young people.
Under the terms of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 where a volunteer is being adequately supervised, they are not considered to be working in regulated activity however often they do this, and the school does not need to request a CRB check. The Department will shortly be publishing guidance to help schools decide what level of supervision would be considered adequate.
For the purposes of an Ofsted inspection, schools (and colleges) should be able to explain the rationale for those who have been checked and those who have not. The key criterion for checking volunteers is regular unsupervised contact with children.
It is very unlikely that the majority of school governors will, in the course of undertaking their role, have regular unsupervised access to children. In instances where a governor will be in such a position the clerk to the governing body can request that the individual undergoes a check, and failure to do so will result in disqualification. Similarly in an instance where it has come to light that a governor or candidate has given cause for concern by their behaviour they can be asked to undergo a check.
Failure to comply with such a request is grounds for disqualification as a governor.