The NSPCC has called for a new requirement; that all self-employed tutors have their criminal background checked in order to “weed out” anyone that is not suitable to work with children.

Currently, there is no obligation for those working as self-employed tutors to be subject to a criminal records check by the Disclosure and Barring Service; something which is a requirement for teachers working in schools. The check required for teachers in schools will inform their prospective employer whether they have committed offences which mean they are legally barred from working with children.

Some tutor agencies already require a DBS check to be done on the individual to ensure suitability, however, it is not a legal requirement and therefore some agencies do not do this. It is not possible for the parent of a child to request a DBS check because this can only be done by registered bodies.

The Government’s current checking system claims to be proportionate to the risks involved after it was scaled back in 2012.

The Home Office has stated that they will carefully consider the issue of extending the DBS system to self-employed tutors. Should this happen, tutor agencies should be aware that this procedure must be built into the normal checks that they apply to anyone wanting to come onto their books, and that if an unsatisfactory check is returned, that they should not offer work to the individual.