Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Single Central Record (SCR) – FAQs

We've created guidance for using and maintaining the Single Central Record (PDF).

It's a statutory requirement for all schools and academies to keep and maintain an SCR of recruitment and vetting checks for all staff and other relevant people, as referred to in the most up-to-date Keeping Children Safe in Education (KSCIE).

Should you have any queries in relation to this guidance document, please contact safeguarding.education@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

These are the most frequently asked questions around Single Central Record. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact hrservicesschools@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

What information must be recorded on the school's Single Central Record?

  • an identity check
  • a barred list check
  • 2 x references
  • an enhanced DBS check/certificate
  • a prohibition from teaching check
  • further checks on people living or working outside the UK
  • a check of professional qualifications
  • a check to establish the person’s right to work in the UK
  • Childcare Disqualification Regulation 2009

Under each of these headings you must record:

  • what documents have been seen
  • when the documents were seen
  • by whom it was seen

Guidance from the DfE states:

“For supply staff, schools should also include whether written confirmation has been received that the employment business supplying the member of supply staff has carried out the relevant checks and obtained the appropriate certificates, and the date that confirmation was received and whether any enhanced DBS check certificate has been provided in respect of the member of staff.”

How long does the school have to keep an employee’s Eligibility to Work in the UK documents in an individual’s personnel file?

Indefinitely. There must be photocopies of all documents seen and evidenced in each employee's personnel file. A record of the date of when they were evidenced together with by whom needs to be recorded on the SCR.

What proof of Eligibility to Work in the UK can be used if an individual does not hold a passport?

An original full birth certificate naming the parents (A4 size) is an acceptable alternative document to be used as proof of an individual’s eligibility to work in the UK, together with an official document issued by a previous employer or government agency which contains the permanent National Insurance number, e.g. a P45, P60, National Insurance number card or letter from a government agency.

Do we need to reference-check volunteers?

It is advised that the same recruitment checks are in place for volunteers as well as contractors if it is applicable.

Visit NCVO's website (link opens in new window) for guidance on employing and reference-checking volunteers.

Do we need to record a medical clearance date for newly recruited staff?

Data should be obtained from the appropriate OH provider and recorded for each new staff member in addition to that listed in the guidance.

Can a school use a contractor if it does not have a Safeguarding Policy?

It is advised that all contractors have a Safeguarding Policy. It is the school's responsibility to ensure that contractors have a procedure and policy for undertaking the relevant vetting checks for their staff and Schools must seek confirmation that these have been done.

Does a DBS check need to be undertaken for a 15 or 16 year old?

The minimum age that an individual can be asked to undertake a DBS check is 16 years old.

Do DBS checks have to be completed every 3 or 5 years?

There is no legislative guidance within the statutory frameworks within Education with regard to the frequency of DBS renewals, therefore they do not need to be renewed after 3 or 5 years if the employee has remained in continuous employment. If there has been a break in employment of 3 months or more, a new DBS check should be applied for. Good practice, however, is that a new DBS check is applied for when a school appoint an employee as part of their appointment process – even if they are from another Central Bedfordshire school.

Do we retain the DBS certificate?

The Keeping Children Safe in Education document provides that it is not necessary to retain copies of DBS certificates. However, in the event that they are retained, then the certificate must be destroyed within six months in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

What happens if a teacher is not registered with the GTC?

The GTC was abolished on 31 March 2012, so teachers who qualified after this date will not be registered.

If the teacher qualified before this date, the school will need to ascertain why the teacher has not registered with the GTC and seek advice from their HR Provider. With effect from 1 September 2009, GTC registration was also a statutory requirement for Unqualified Teachers and Overseas Trained Teachers.

Do we need to undertake reference checks for long-serving members of staff?

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 section 221 states:

‘The purpose of seeking references is to allow employers to obtain factual information to support appointment decisions. Schools and colleges should obtain references before interview, where possible, this allows any concerns raised to be explored further with the referee and taken up with the candidate at interview’

Do all parent helpers/volunteers need to be checked?

Schools will encounter a number of situations/circumstances with regard to the day-to-day operation of a school where a judgement will need to be made with regard to obtaining a DBS check i.e. helpers at pantomimes, football clubs being run at weekends by parents, etc. Each school should undertake a risk assessment to determine if they meet the requirement for a DBS check. If it is felt that a DBS check should be made then the arrangements for this should be put into place. If, following the risk assessment, a particular situation is unclear, schools may wish to contact their HR Provider for further advice.

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 states:

‘Schools or colleges should obtain an enhanced DBS check (which should include children’s barred list information) for all volunteers who are new to working in regulated activity with children, i.e. where they are unsupervised and teach or look after children regularly or provide personal care on a one-off basis in schools and colleges.’

For the purposes of an Ofsted inspection, schools (and colleges) should be able to explain the rationale for those who have been checked and those who have not. The key criterion for checking volunteers is regular unsupervised contact with children.

How do schools record that appropriate checks are in place for regular visitors to the school (e.g. people who are not employed by the school) from us i.e. education psychologists, behaviour support workers, etc. and do these need to be recorded on the Single Central Record?

We will ensure, following guidance from Ofsted, that appropriate checks (including DBS disclosure) have been undertaken for our members of staff who regularly visit schools.

Staff such as educational psychologists, supply teachers, social workers, nurses, sports coaches and inspectors should be DBS checked by their 'providing' organisation. If the schools / colleges have been given written assurances that our key staff have been checked, then that will be enough.

Proof of appropriate checks is most often provided by way of a photo - identity badge (similar to those carried by HMI and other inspectors).

If schools / colleges are checking these and making a suitable register of visitors, this is sufficient.

It is advised that schools write to ‘providing organisations’ for individuals who regularly visit the school but are not employed by us to obtain a letter similar to the one we provide. The letters you receive from the ‘providing organisations’ should also be retained with the SCR.

What about our centrally employed staff who visit schools on a regular basis?

We have reviewed our recruitment process following requests for information from schools for their Single Central Record.

Following guidance from Ofsted, the only requirement for schools is to obtain written confirmation from us that centrally employed staff who visit schools on a regular basis have had the appropriate checks undertaken.

The new process is outlined below:

  • HR Services Team will undertake pre-employment checks for all staff recruited to central services teams
  • the written confirmation letter confirms checks have been carried out for centrally employed staff
  • service areas will provide this letter to schools they supply staff to on request (one per school - not per individual who visits schools)
  • schools will retain this letter with their Single Central Record documentation. Schools will verify identity of our staff on arrival by checking the staff photo identity badge

Should you require further information or assistance relating to centrally employed staff, please contact the HR Services Team on 0300 300 8157.