Disqualification By Association – Regulations & Check Guide

A term that is often used in relation to DBS checks for the childminding and childcare sectors is “disqualification by association”.  The procedures and law around these checks can be confusing. This is partly down to changes to the rules around this in the last few years.

Our guide on disqualification by association, and how it fits into the dbs checks process will help understand its current meaning and implications .


What is Disqualification by Association?

This means someone can be barred from working with vulnerable people due to association with a person on the barring list. It’s now a term used mainly in the education and childcare sectors, including schools and childminders.


The Barring List

The barring list has details of everyone who has committed crimes serious enough to disqualify them from working with vulnerable people and children.

Disqualification by association was part of an update to the Childcare Act (2006) brought in during 2014. The changes meant that if an employee had someone in their household who was on the barring list, they were also disqualified from working with vulnerable people. This was because of their association with the barred person.


Controversy & Problems

This set of regulations issued by the Department of Education caused a lot of controversy upon their introduction in 2014. It meant that anyone in the childcare sector could be barred from working with children if someone in their household is disqualified.

The controversy came from the governing bodies of schools who felt guidance filtering through was both unjust and confusing. It wasn’t believed at first that schools would be included in this guidance but it soon became apparent they were covered too.

These rules were scrapped completely in September 2018 for schools and other group settings after it proved a logistical nightmare. They do, however, still have to have vigilant safeguarding policies and procedures in place.


Childcare Disqualification Checks

In line with the Childcare Act 2006, childcare disqualification checks were introduced. These meant anyone working with children needed to sign a declaration.

This declaration must also contain details of anyone who lives with the staff member. In such a vulnerable setting, it is paramount that everyone’s suitability is checked, even if they aren’t in direct contact with the children.

This is where the disqualification by association comes into play – providers have the responsibility of ensuring everyone employed is cleared to do so.


Childminding and Disqualification By Association

Although being scrapped for schools and meaning employers are unable to ask staff questions about related topics, this same guidance remains in place for childminders.

This type of childcare is unique and therefore, must be met with different rules. Childminders typically work from their own homes and will be around other family members from time to time. This means that if you want to become a childminder and work from home, your whole household must be checked.

It makes sense then, that childminders must have the safety of both the setting and the individual vetted. Anyone who works in childcare on domestic premises is covered within these guidelines.


Childcare Disqualification Regulations

The 2018 regulations, which relate to section 75 of the Childcare Act 2006. They outline the circumstances by which an individual can be disqualified from childcare.

This includes:

  • Being included on the DBS Children’s Barred List.
  • Certain violent crimes against both children and adults.
  • Sexual crimes against both children and adults.
  • Listed orders that relate to the care of children.
  • Living with a person who qualifies from one or more of the disqualification regulations.
  • Such regulations include crimes committed outwith the UK.

Applying To Waive Disqualification

In certain situations, Ofsted reserve the right to waive this disqualification if it fits the waiver criteria.

This can include spent crimes that can be filtered from the DBS check. To apply for this waiver, a form must be filled in and sent to Ofsted.

The type of form to fill in to ask for a waiver will depend on your job role and can be found on the Ofsted website.


How Does A Person Declare A Disqualification?

Assuming you work in a nursery or preschool setting, then it is the responsibility of the employee to come forward. This means informing their boss of the situation who will then notify Ofsted. It is good practice for settings to regularly ask their staff to declare any changes to their household.

Should the employer find this information out in another way (through a third party) then the Allegation Policy and Procedure should be followed.

Childminders who work alone have the responsibility of declaring this disqualification themselves directly to Ofsted.

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