7th November 2000
The University of Lincolnshire & Humberside is today leading calls for a change in the law after one of its former lecturers was jailed for six months for lying about his criminal record on his application form.
Russell Griffiths was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court this morning having previously admitted a charge of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception at Lincoln Magistrates.
He worked for the university for a year but never revealed to his employers that he had a string of serious criminal convictions.
His case has highlighted the difficulties faced by universities and higher education colleges which do not have the same access to criminal records as schools and further education colleges.
Today ULH Vice Chancellor Prof David Chiddick gave his backing to a campaign for a change in the rules to prevent a repeat of the Russell Griffiths case in the future.
“The Griffiths case raises important issues about the duty of care that a university owes to its students which I believe cannot be properly discharged without direct access to a prospective employee’s criminal records,” said Prof Chiddick.
“This university feels that as an employer it should be granted the right of access to the previous criminal records of prospective employees. While such a stand does raise important issues concerning the prospective employee’s right to privacy, I feel that the duty of care owed by the university to its students outweighs this consideration.
“There are a number of changes occurring in the area of employment screening for people seeking to work with children and young people. The Criminal Records Bureau will start in work in the summer of 2001 and will provide checks of List 99 for schools and further education colleges.
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“But at present university lecturers are not expected to be classed as a high priority, and as a result universities will not be able to access records through the bureau until the summer of 2002 at the earliest.
“I have written to the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals and to the Universities and Colleges Employers Association to ask for pressure to be exerted on the relevant government departments for a change in legislation and procedure in order to give us access to vital screening measures which we are currently denied.
“I have also given my backing to a campaign being run by staff and students at this university whose aims accord with our own in this matter.”
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For more information contact:
Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Lincolnshire & Humberside
Tel: 01522 886042