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 Post subject: more from Brum
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:51 am 
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THE PLOT THICKENS AT SANDWELL COUNCIL AS COUNCILLOR SAYS THAT SANDWELL DBS TAXI AND PHV CHECKS ARE A JOKE
A councillor has slammed DBS checks verified by Sandwell Council as a “joke” as the row into SEND transport for vulnerable children deepens.
According to Halesowen News, at the Children’s Services and Education Scrutiny Board, held on Monday 23 August, Cllr William Gill asked how Sandwell Council’s DBS checking system differed from Birmingham City Council’s procedures.
It comes as a report published by Birmingham City Council noted 59 out of 110 employees at North Birmingham Travel, which has in the past transported vulnerable children in the region, did not appear to have a documented DBS check in place.
Out of these 59 employees, 16 had ‘positive disclosures’ – meaning they included criminal disclosures, which are not an automatic bar but are subject to further scrutiny – but “officers could only assure themselves about two”.
North Birmingham Travel, whose sole director is Azeem Hafeez, is separately under scrutiny after his company was selected to run SEND transport services for Sandwell Council, along with another company run by Mr Hafeez, in a £22.1m deal.
Mr Hafeez is a former Sandwell Council employee and the son of former Sandwell council deputy leader Mahboob Hussain. Both were named in the Wragge Report of 2016 on land deals at the authority.
The contract into Mr Hafeez and Sandwell’s transport procurement deal is on hold pending an internal review into the contract.
In response to cllr Gill's question, Lesley Hagger, executive director of children’s services, said Sandwell Council does not “deviate from the national process” of DBS checks.
He said: “It’s the same set of checks and balances that take place for the DBS checks. We carry out our own DBS checks ourselves. In some places they may be required to provide a DBS check.”
The contract into Mr Hafeez and Sandwell’s transport procurement deal is on hold pending an internal review into the contract.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Gill said: “The fact that Birmingham City Council has terminated a contract with North Birmingham Travel due to the DBS check concerns yet Sandwell council plan on maintaining this company as a provider is deeply concerning.
“Sandwell Council, if they maintain a different process of checks, will put vulnerable children at risk which is why I will push for the leader, the interim CEO and the new director of children’s services to reconsider their process of DBS checking to bring it in line with the national standard, as every child in Sandwell deserves to be as safe as every other child in the country when going to school."
Cllr Jay Anandou, deputy leader of the opposition, said: “The assertion that DBS process in Sandwell is robust, is a joke.
“The DBS process and checks in Sandwell lacks checks and controls. It is absolutely reckless to put children at risk and defend the process with so many gaps.”
Cllr Anandou cited reasons for concern, including the lack of an “independent panel” at Sandwell council, to verify the suitability of taxi drivers to transport young children.
He said: “The reasons for North Birmingham Travel’s early contract termination was due to “material misrepresentations” and “tampering” of DBS certificates”, which is a serious safeguarding and reputational risk – is Sandwell Council going to completely ignore this?
“Why isn’t the council checking new convictions via the DBS update service, more frequently than the current once every 365 days?
“These questions were put to council last week and have not been answered yet.”
A spokesperson from Sandwell Council said: “Sandwell’s verification process is through the TAS Badge system and checks for drivers are in line with or exceed national requirements, including annual checks as opposed to the national requirement of checks every four years.
“We take safety extremely seriously and when we were alerted to a possible issue with North Birmingham Travel we contacted them and we will re-check their DBS certificates.
"NBT is co-operating with us in this.”

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 Post subject: Re: more from Brum
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:52 am 
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He said: “The reasons for North Birmingham Travel’s early contract termination was due to “material misrepresentations” and “tampering” of DBS certificates”, which is a serious safeguarding and reputational risk – is Sandwell Council going to completely ignore this?

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 Post subject: Re: more from Brum
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 6:48 pm 
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Quote:
is Sandwell Council going to completely ignore this?

If they can get away with it then yes.

Amazing how people's brains go a tad mad when it comes down to money.

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