Are you prepared for an Ofsted inspection?

As a top 30 Registered Umbrella Body for the Disclosure and Barring Service, Personnel Checks process tens of thousands of applications each year, for employers, voluntary organisations and charities, who engage people to work with vulnerable groups – children and adults.

If we consider roles that involve ‘Regulated Activity’ or those who work on ‘Specified Establishments’ where there is opportunity for contact with children, it is important to ensure that applicants who are unsuitable to work within these roles are not recruited.

Ofsted Inspections – A Case Study

Donna Birch, an Ofsted Inspector, recently carried out an inspection on a childcare provider within the area. However, this provision was deemed inadequate due to the following:

“The provider has failed to ensure staff working at the nursery are suitable and safe to have regular contact with children. She has not ensured that all staff have undergone the required Disclosure and Barring Service check. This is a breach of the safeguarding and welfare requirements.”

The report indicates Ofsted intends to take the following enforcement action:

“We will issue a Welfare Requirements Notice requiring the provider: obtain an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check in respect of every person in regular contact with children keep a record of the vetting processes that have been completed, including the criminal records disclosure reference number, the date it was obtained and the details of who obtained it; implement effective systems to ensure that any person in regular contact with children is suitable.”

In a recent statement, from the registered person of the childcare provider, they explained:

“We received an inadequate report in December due to our cook not having a DBS check as he was never required to supervise children and they were not under his care. We have since completed his DBS check and ALL staff have full DBS checks. We have contacted Ofsted for a re-inspection, but the current turnaround is six months. We look forward to a re-inspection and are confident of a good grading.”

Why was a DBS check needed?

The Disclosure and Barring Service has provided detailed guidance on Regulated Activity:

The new definition of regulated activity (i.e. work that a barred person must not do) in relation to children comprises, in summary:

  • unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/ guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;
  • work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact: e.g. schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. Not work by supervised volunteers;

Work under the above definitions is regulated activity only if done regularly: once a week or more often, on 4 or more days in a 30-day period, or overnight*

Specified Establishments include:

  • schools (all or mainly full-time, for children);
  • pupil referral units (also known as Short Stay Schools) not falling within the above;
  • nursery schools;
  • institutions for the detention of children;
  • children’s homes;
  • children’s centres in England;
  • childcare premises (including nurseries)

Further information can be obtained here – Regulated Activity in Relation to Children

The majority of organisations applying for these types of roles are usually regulated by Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills), who inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

In the Ofsted Publication Childcare Register Requirements from September 2014, it states “The registered person must have effective systems to ensure that the registered person, the manager and any person caring for, or in regular contact with, children; and any person who lives or works on the premises where childcare is provided (including on a voluntary basis): is suitable to work with children which, must include obtaining an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.”

What will appear on an Enhanced DBS Check?

The Enhanced DBS Check will include details of; spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings, plus any additional information held by local police that’s reasonably considered relevant to the workforce being applied for.

An Enhanced DBS Check may also include a check against the two DBS barred lists of individuals who are unsuitable for working with children and/or vulnerable adults.

People on the barred lists cannot carry out these roles and it’s against the law for employers to take on someone for this type of work if they know they’re on one of the barred lists. Moreover, an employer can only ask for a barred list check for specific roles - it’s a criminal offence to ask for a check for other roles that are not relevant.

DBS Checks were introduced for recruitment purposes, and as an employer you should only arrange a DBS check on a successful job applicant. You can withdraw a job offer if the results show anything that would make the applicant unsuitable.

How we can help…

Personnel Checks currently have over 25,000 customers, a 5 Star Customer Service rating on independent reviewing site Trustpilot, and a Top 30 Registered Umbrella Body Status with the DBS.

We have a team of highly trained advisors who are more than happy to assist, guide, and give direction through the complex world of criminal record checking.

Contact a member of the team today and see how we can help you with your DBS needs.

01254 355 688

~ Alice, Operations Manager


*Definition of “overnight”: In relation to teaching, training or instruction; care or supervision; or advice or guidance, it is also regulated activity if carried out (even once) at any time between 2am and 6am and with an opportunity for face-to-face contact with children.


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