NFCC successful in bid to seek amendment to Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions)

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From Thursday 6 July, Fire & Rescue Authorities are now listed in the schedule 1 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) following the amendment and robust case made by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).

The amendments, which received formal approval by both Houses (Commons on 22 May and Lords on 14 June), will enable fire and rescue services (FRSs) to access higher levels of Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks more efficiently.

The amendment to the Act will mean that FRSs will now be able to perform a minimum of standard checks for all representatives of their service with both NFCC and DBS working jointly to develop guidance to support Services making decisions regarding eligibility of higher levels of checks.

Rt Hon Chris Philp MP, Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, said: “I am delighted that we have secured this important legislative change to increase the eligibility of fire employees for criminal records checks.

“Checks like these are vital to maintain public trust and support high standards in our services.

“I expect all fire and rescue services to make proper use of these checks, drawing on the important guidance published by the National Fire Chiefs Council.”

In addition to the legislative change, three safeguarding guidance documents have been developed to fully support fire and rescue.

These guidance documents include processes for responding to managing allegations or concerns of harm. and considers recommendations from the most recent HMICFRS Spotlight Report.

It also assists Services using NFCC’s Safeguarding self-assessment toolkit, giving a clear overview of the moral and legal duties when allegations are made.

Other guidance includes advising FRSs to know what level of DBS check could be applied and how to manage positive disclosures found through DBS checks.

All three guidance documents have undergone consultation with fire and rescue services and key stakeholders as well as being peer reviewed and being subjected to an equality and impact assessment.