Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Anglesey Council : Are they a law unto themselves?

There has been a lot said over the years about the way that Anglesey Council run their business but to disregard legal obligation is probably a new low for them. I am course referring to Anglesey Council exempting Wales largest bus operator, the multinational Arriva from conducting enhanced CRB checks on the drivers that drive school buses:
A spokesman for Anglesey council said that Arriva had been excused the checks because of the widespread nature of its business.

He said: “All drivers and passenger assistants used on our [school bus] contracts by all companies apart from Arriva have been CRB checked.

It seems that there is one rule for one bus operator and another for 'smaller' bus operators; but that is not the only point. The other and far more important point is that there is a very good reason for enhanced CRB checks and that is Ian Huntley.

Huntley killed Jessica Chapman and Hollie Wells in Soham in 2002 and was later convicted of murder. Huntley was a school caretaker with no convictions but had previous arrests for sexual offences. An enhanced CRB check would have identified his previous arrests and intelligence. As it was at the time, checks revealed nothing.

Following on from Soham the Bichard enquiry made a number of recommendations in relation to safe recruiting of staff to work with children. These recommendation were encapsulated in legislation The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which places requirements on employing staff engaged in 'regulated activities' that is working with children. Amongst those requirements are enhanced CRB checks; school Bus driving is a 'regulated activity.'

I therefore cannot see how Anglesey Council can legally exempt Arriva from conducting enhanced CRB checks on drivers of school buses.

I for one will be seeking reassurances from Wrecsam Council that ALL school contracts will stipulate that the drivers were subjected to enhanced CRB checks.


The Red Flag said...

It's a strange position to take.

Wonder how much it cost in unmarked?

Anonymous said...

Are there passenger assistants on these buses too? If so, then why should the driver have to have a CRB check? He/She should only be driving the bus.

Anonymous said...

....also, these 'enhanced' checks show up everything....even if the driver had been cautioned for smoking weed 30 years previously. And yes, people are being refused jobs for misdemeanours that occurred years before.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

A caution for dope 30 yrs ago shouldn't prevent someone from driving kids, were talking serious assaults, sexual offences etc including verifiable intelligence (like Huntley), we need to apply common senses to old offences.

The Red Flag said...

They show up the past, but the employer actioning the check then has the power of veto. Just because something shows up doesn't preclude employment. It depends on the offence and the job applied for.

For instance somebody with a drunk-driving conviction from 30 years ago is a different kettle of fish to somebody with three convictions for the same offence.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

It is difficutl to know what to do with old offences, are you gonna trust a guy who sexually abused a child when he was 15, to work with children when he's 45? What does the risk assessment say and what does Section of the 1989 Childrens Act saym " The interest of the child is paramount"!
It's a difficult judgement call, other old offences should be easy if managers have the bottle to make decisions for which they are paid! But, as we all know managers like that are few and far between in the public sector.