I can reveal that between 2015 and 2019 City of York Council (CYC) issued 26 Settlement Agreements relating to school-based staff.
Settlement Agreements must not be used in cases that have any safeguarding implications, even if an employee proposes to resign before or during a disciplinary process.
This is because where there may be genuine grounds to believe that an individual is responsible for a breach of safeguarding rules, concluding matters via a settlement agreement would allow that individual to work at another school without any reference to the concern that was raised, which could obviously put others at risk in the future.
A settlement agreement which prevents the school from making a DBS referral when the criteria for doing so are met would likely result in a criminal offence being committed as the school would not be complying with its legal duty to make the referral.
There is no reason to agree to a settlement agreement with school-based staff unless there are safeguarding implications.
Are Children Safe?
In a local context 26 settlement agreements could have shocking consequences.
For example: A teacher who signed a settlement agreement may have breached safeguarding at a York School and could now be working at a Tadcaster School without the school in Tadcaster having any knowledge of the teachers past.
How is it possible for there to be 26 school-based settlement agreements without safeguarding implications?
Ian Floyd – Investigation Requested
I have requested Ian Floyd, Temporary Chief Executive, CYC to:
- Undertake a full investigation into the issuing of the settlement agreements to school-based staff.
- Refer all 26 cases to the Police to ensure there is no breach of statutory requirements.
- Ensure CYC cease to issue settlement agreements to school-based staff.