Calls for Mansfield councillors to undergo criminal background checks

A motion has been put to Mansfield District Council for all councillors to undergo background checks.

Calls for councillors to undergo criminal background checks
Calls for councillors to undergo criminal background checks

Currently elected members are not required to have DBS checks with the exception of Adoption Panel membership.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks allow an employer to carry out a criminal record check of candidates to prevent unsuitable people working with vulnerable people or in areas of trust.

Under the proposals, a recommendation to introduce DBS checks would be submitted for approval by Mansfield District Council.

Calls for councillors to undergo criminal background checks

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

Ashfield District Council introduced the checks for councillors in 2016, pay for them out of their own pockets.

This was implemented from May 2017.

Newly elected conservative councillor Lee Anderson proposed the motion for all current and future councillors to undergo the checks, which will be heard at the full council meeting in July.

Coun Anderson says that because councillors have a wide range of responsibilities which could require them to access sensitive information about, or have contact with, vulnerable children and adults, all councillors should be DBS checked.

Coun Anderson said: "When I first became a councillor in Ashfield a few years back I was amazed at the lack of background checks, in fact there were no checks at all.

"I thought this was unacceptable as working as a councillor you will come into contact with members of the public and vulnerable people. I am not saying for one minute that anyone with a criminal record should be barred from standing for office as I believe we all deserve a chance to change, that is of course apart from the really vile crimes committed.

"I put a motion to my political group at Ashfield to have all councillors DBS checked, this was accepted and taken to full council where it was passed a few years later, I was annoyed that I was not allowed to take the motion to full council myself but the end result was the same. My original motion was passed and now all councillors at Ashfield have to be DBS checked."

The cost of each standard check is £26 and an enhanced check is £44.