Ashfield District councillors vote to have DBS checks

editorial image

Elected politicians will all go through the same criminal checks as staff members on Ashfield District Council.

Councillors agreed unanimously at a meeting of the full council on Thursday that all members should be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check - and they will pay for them out of their own pockets.

The checks, which were formally known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, are currently not essential for district councillors.

Moving the recommendation, Councillor Lauren Mitchell said; “Safeguarding young people and vulnerable adults is a key priority for the council members, who have a wide range of responsibilities which may require them to access sensitive information about or have contact with vulnerable children and adults.

“A councillor’s constituency work may need unsupervised contact with vulnerable people and the fact that all councillors are checked may strengthen public confidence.”

Councillor Gladys Maxwell added: ”Let us not vote against it - there are too many things in the news where people had been given jobs and not been checked properly and we’ve seen the consequences. We all need to be checked from head to toe.”

During the debate Councillor Jason Zadrozny, who is also a county councillor, said he recently had an enhanced DBS check. He questioned whether this could be used and save the district council the cost of going through the process again.

He said:”I’m in support of this I don’t want to sound like I’m not I just think we ought to be careful with the money if we can.”

Councillor Sam Wilson said: “We all agree that this is something is necessary and needed. “I think the issue is the cost - are we all willing to pay for our own?

The checks which will cost councillors £22.50 each will be implemented after the AGM in May 2017.

The existence of a criminal record or other information revealed as the result of a DBS check will not debar a councillor from office.

If disclosure information raises issues of concern the chief executive advised by the monitoring officer will discuss with the individual the restrictions considered to be necessary to safeguard children young people and adults.