§ Mr. Hurd
A joint circular was issued yesterday introducing new arrangements for police checks to be made by local authorities on paid staff and volunteers who apply or transfer to work with children and on adults in the households of those who care for children as foster parents and child minders.
Local authorities are encouraged to make use of this scheme, which will provide for the first time for pre-employment checks to be made with the police on teachers, social workers, probation officers and other staff and volunteers engaged by local authorities who will have substantial access to children in the course of their work.
Similar arrangements for early introduction are being considered by my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Social Services and for Wales in relation to certain staff in the National Health Service and by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science in relation to those working in the independent schools.
The review body on whose recommendations the circular is based, is considering proposals for an extension of these arrangements to those working in voluntary bodies providing services similar to those provided in the statutory sector for young or otherwise vulnerable children, and an acceptable means of making checking available more widely in the voluntary sector.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 1986, which comes into effect today, taken with the 1975 Order which it amends, ensures that those seeking positions that give access to children under the joint circular and the further circulars envisaged, will not be entitled for that purpose to withhold the details of previous convictions that are spent under the terms of the 1974 Act.
Copies of the joint circular have been placed in the Library.