Disqualification by Association for nurseries

Now that the Government has scrapped its ‘disqualification by association’ policy for childcare practitioners, how does this impact on nurseries? 

Do you need to tighten up your recruitment processes?

The main change for nurseries is that you no longer have to establish whether a person working at your setting or job applicant is living with somebody who has a criminal record, but just concentrate on the candidate or staff member themselves.

Is there new guidance you need to see? 

New guidelines were published in July (2018) which came into force on 31 August (2018). You can see the new Disqualification by Association guidance here. 

As a provider, you need to understand your responsibility under the Childcare Act 2006 in conjunction with these new guidelines and the EYFS framework.

What specifically do you need to know?

Crucially you need to know what the disqualification criteria are.

This includes violent and sexual offences against children and adults, including those committed overseas, orders in relation to care of children and cancellation of childcare registration.

What needs to change in your setting going forwards? 

Continue as usual with your DBS and safeguarding procedures.

We recommend reviewing your safer recruitment procedures and staffing policy and make any changes necessary in relation to the new guidelines.

It’s important that all your staff know the legislation around safeguarding children and that if they have a relevant conviction, they disclose it.

How can you support your staff?

Make it clear in your policy what your expectations of staff are, including any relationships or associations they may have both within and outside of the workplace.

It’s important your staff and potential staff think about how any actions they take could impact on the safety of children and implicate the nursery setting. This must include any materials they publish online and on their social media accounts.

It’s best to create a culture within your nursery workplace where staff feel comfortable enough to raise any concerns and discuss situations which could have a potentially negative impact on the children and on your business.

But equally, your reaction to this has to be proportionate. Don’t delve into anyone’s personal life, so long as it stays private and doesn’t affect your nursery. Also think about what information you hold on your staff in relation to GDPR, that it’s lawful and fair while ensuring the safety of your children at all times.

See our updated Staff Suitability and Disqualification factsheet here.