Mayor Ros Jones criticised as calls are made to change DBS policy after Doncaster councillor resigns following US drug arrest

Doncaster Council has responded to criticism on criminal records checks following the arrest of a former councillor.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 3:54 pm

Daniel Barwell, the former Labour councillor for Wheatley Hills & Intake, is wanted in the US on drug charge allegations and faces extradition. He denies all charges.

But Conservative group leader on DMBC, Coun Jane Cox accused Doncaster mayor Ros Jones of not agreeing to all elected members having a DBS check.

Coun Cox urged the mayor to change the policy on DBS checks. It’s understood certain councillors are required to have DBS checks when carrying out certain roles but it is not widespread.

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Former councillor Daniel Barwell resigned after he was arrested on drugs charges. He is wanted in the US and could face extradition. He denies the allegations.

But council bosses said the case of Barwell wouldn’t have flagged up anything in the DBS check because it is not within UK jurisdiction and that he hasn’t been convicted of any charges.

Coun Cox said: “Why will Ros Jones, the elected Mayor of Doncaster, not agree to all councillors being subject to a DBS criminal conviction check?

“When asked in Full Council last week the Mayor responded that she follows council policy.

“Policy can and in this case should be changed. Conservative and Independent councillors are fully behind a change in policy.

Conservative group leader Councillor Jane Cox questions Mayor Ros Jones over DBS checks.

“Many council’s up and down the country carry out these checks routinely. This begs the question, why is the Labour mayor not prepared to protect residents?”

But Scott Fawcus, assistant director of legal and democratic services, said: “Doncaster Council takes its safeguarding duties extremely seriously. The council is required to adhere to the DBS Code of Practice which includes that it can apply for DBS checks for individuals whose roles satisfy a prescribed framework.

“However, we fully understand the role that councillors play within their communities and will always keep such decisions under review in association with the Monitoring Officer and central Government requirements.

“The former councillor in question is currently under investigation and even if a DBS check was carried out upon becoming a councillor, it would not have revealed anything in relation to the current charges as they are not within UK jurisdiction and has currently not been convicted of any charges.

Mayor Ros Jones responds to the question asked by Coun Jane Cox

“Currently, councillors are not required to undertake DBS checks by virtue of being a councillor alone, but only where they are eligible to be checked in line with the legislation, including working with vulnerable groups.

“Checks are undertaken where they are appropriate, we fully comply with the national legislation in terms of who does/doesn’t need to have a DBS check.

“In Doncaster we carry out DBS checks for all the Corporate Parenting Board and the relevant cabinet members.”