More than half of the 60 chief members of Oldham council are missing an up-to-date criminal record check, it has been revealed.
A total of 31 councillors do not have a ‘DBS check’, which many services use to decide whether you are suitable for work with vulnerable adults and children.
A Freedom of Information request (FOI), showed only 13 councillors have an an up-to-date DBS inspection. When approached by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Oldham council amended this number and said 29 councillors have an up to date check, with 26 councillors checked since May 2023 and three further councillors with older DBS certificates.
The council has promised to encourage the remaining councillors to complete their checks as soon as possible.
Lib Dem councillor Howard Sykes originally requested the information in November 2023 after noticing his own DBS check for the council had lapsed. He claimed he had not received any information about how to renew it.
The Shaw councillor said: “I’m gobsmacked. For a very long time, it was expected that councillors should have an enhanced DBS check – to show we’re not a wrong un.
“We’re trying to convince people that we’ve moved on and that they should trust us. But things like this show we’ve learnt nothing. It just delivers the wrong message.
“If I was council leader, I’d want to know who hadn’t been done and make sure the chief executive was following it up.”
Coun Sykes, who is also a governor at St Joseph’s school, has penned a letter to chief executive Harry Catherall and council leader Arooj Shah asking what action the council is planning to take.
Responding to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a spokesperson for Oldham council said: “It is not a legal requirement that councillors have a DBS check.
“However, Oldham Council expects serving elected members to have a check and provides them with information about how to apply for these as part of its councillor induction programme.
“Those councillors who are not recorded as having a current check will be sent additional reminders to complete the process online.”