What is a single central record, and how does HR help schools comply with safeguarding regulations?



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6 mins


All members of staff employed in a school or college are responsible for overseeing the safety and security of their students. This includes complying with safeguarding requirements. The school must create a safe learning environment, identify children who are suffering from (or may be at risk) of harm, and take suitable action to keep them safe. One requirement, as laid out by the Department for Education, is for each school and college in England and Wales to create a single central record (SCR).

So, what is a SCR, and how can it help schools comply with safeguarding regulations? This post will answer those questions and provide information what needs to be included on a SCR, why it’s necessary, and how HR software designed for schools can help them comply with safeguarding requirements.

What is an SCR?

A single central record (SCR) – sometimes referred to as a single central register – is a statutory requirement for all schools and academies in England and Wales to keep and maintain one single record of pre employment checks, regulated activity, and recording information of all staff. These checks will help identify whether a potential staff member may be unsuitable to work with children (and in some cases is legally prohibited from working with children and/or working as a teacher). These checks are an essential part of safeguarding, carried out to help employers check the suitability of candidates.

According to the Department for Education (DfE), all schools and colleges must:

  • Verify the candidate’s identity to ensure that the candidate is who they claim to be, which includes being aware of the potential for individuals changing their name
  • Obtain an enhanced DBS check
  • Obtain a separate children’s barred list check if an individual will start work in regulated activity with children before the DBS certificate is available
  • Verify the candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities
  • Verify the person’s right to work in the UK, including EU nationals. If the person has lived or worked outside the UK, make any further checks the school or college consider appropriate
  • Verify professional qualifications, as appropriate.

What needs to be included in the SCR?

Schools and colleges must maintain a single central record of pre-appointment checks for all staff, including teacher trainees, agency, and third-party supply staff. Even if they work for one day, details of staff members need to be recorded in the SCR. The details of an individual should be removed from the SCR once they no longer work at the school or college.

The SCR must indicate that the following checks have been carried out:

  • An identity check (details of which can be found in the Good Practice Guide [GPG] 45 via the GOV.UK website)
  • A standalone children’s barred list check
  • An enhanced DBS check
  • A prohibition from teaching check
  • Further checks on people who have lived or worked outside the UK
  • A check of professional qualifications, where required
  • A check to establish the person’s right to work in the UK

Each school and college need to keep an SCR in place. However, it doesn’t need to be a ‘physical’ record and can be stored electronically. Where a staff member has multiple roles in a school or college, they only need to appear in the SCR once, showing the role which gives them the most responsibility for children.

The necessity of an SCR for schools

When a child is in education, the school or college is responsible for keeping them safe from harm and abuse. The school must create a safe learning environment, identify children who are suffering from (or may be at risk) of harm, and take suitable action to keep them safe. All members of staff at schools or colleges who encounter children, their families, and carers have a role to play in the safeguarding of children. The SCR is the central record of the safeguarding checks that have been carried out on all staff and other relevant people to ensure that the school or college adheres to this.

In the early stages of an Ofsted inspection, the inspector will carry out a check of the SCR. If the SCR fails to comply with regulatory requirements as laid out above, it will contribute towards the overall judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management of the school or college. If the school or college is judged to be inadequate in their safeguarding procedures, they are likely to be judged inadequate overall.

Using HR software to comply with safeguarding requirements

As we’ve discussed, safeguarding students is of the utmost importance. Schools and colleges have a duty of responsibility to ensure that students are protected abuse and neglect – both in schools and out. As a result, schools and colleges must ensure that they keep accurate, up to date safeguarding records to comply with the regulatory requirements as laid out by the DfE, and maintain an SCR.

One way to help meet these requirements is to use HR software. HR software can help schools to track employee records, including criminal background checks and training records. Additionally, HR software can be used to create safeguarding policies and procedures.

Ciphr offers HR software for schools that enables schools and colleges to carry out and store the results of checks against each staff member’s record. These checks include basic right to work checks, enhanced DBS checks, and occupational history checks. We’ve partnered with leading provider of background checking services Experian to deliver mandatory screening processes for positions involving work with children and vulnerable adults. Using this integration, schools and colleges can help to ensure that they are meeting all their safeguarding obligations.

From safeguarding to self-service functionality such as absence management, there are a wide range of benefits HR software can provide a school or college. Book a demo today to see how Ciphr HR can assist with maintaining your SCR by recording and reporting on safeguarding information for staff including background checks.

Please note that the above content is for information purposes and shouldn’t be taken as formal advice. For full information, please refer to the government’s official guidance on keeping children safe in education.