Every new chair of trustees must now complete an Identity Verification form in accordance with Department for Education (DfE) requirements. This is in addition to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) which is still required.

In addition to the standard details about the school/academy trust of which the individual is to be Chair of Trustees, and personal details about the individual, the form requires a number of identity documents. These documents need to be verified by one of the following:

  • headteachers – but NOT the head of the school for which the check is being undertaken
  • judges
  • magistrates
  • barristers
  • solicitors
  • civil servants – ‘executive officer’ grade or above
  • police officers

The Chair of Trustees, together with all other trustees, must provide evidence that they have the right to work in the United Kingdom. If the individual has lived outside of the UK the enhanced DBS certificate may not be sufficient and therefore additional appropriate checks may be need to be undertaken as requested by the Secretary of State.

When a school converts to an academy they need to ensure that the relevant checks are performed for all trustees including the Chair. The latest version of the DfE’s model articles states that if a person does not produce a valid enhanced DBS check they are not permitted to hold the office of ‘trustee’. If the local authority has already carried out this check together with the appropriate identification and right to work in the United Kingdom checks then these do not need to be repeated upon conversion. Copies should still be provided to the Clerk to Trustees.

These checks should be carried out as soon as is practicably possible once an individual has been appointed as Chair of Trustees.

We recommend that all existing academies check to ensure that the Chair has an enhanced DBS certificate, countersigned by the Secretary of State. Academies should refer to their Articles to ensure that they have fully complied with the requirements as different versions have had additional requirements.

The Identity verification form for new chairs of trustees can be found here and should you require any further guidance please contact your usual Bishop Fleming representative.


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