Paragraph 221 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 states that:
“schools and colleges should consider carrying out an online search as part of their due diligence on the shortlisted candidates. This may help identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publicly available online, which the school or college might want to explore with the applicant at interview.”
We sent out some advice regarding this in our July newsletter. This advice was:
- Consider the purpose of this processing. In this case, it is part of your recruitment process so any data that you collect or process as part of this, should only be used for that purpose.
- Make sure you know what lawful basis you are using for this processing. As this is being proposed within statutory legislation (i.e. KCSIE 2022), the lawful bases that apply are likely to be Article 6(c) legal obligation or Article 6(e) public task. In this case, Article 6(e) would seem to be the most appropriate if you are a state school. If you are a private school, Article 6(c) would be relevant here.
- Consider what actual data you are going to be processing – are you going to be keeping any results from these online searches? If so, what? And for how long? And how are you going to keep the data secure? This essentially covers a number of the principles of the UK GDPR such as data minimisation, storage limitation, and integrity and confidentiality.
- In terms of retention, use your retention schedule (refer to the IRMS Toolkit or similar) to identify how long you might consider keeping any relevant data from the searches. Make sure this is proportionate to the purpose. For most checks, you might just record in your SCR that the check was conducted, for others, you may want to keep the evidence in case of a challenge before securely destroying it.
- And finally, consider transparency. Your job applicant privacy notice should make it clear that this data is going to be processed and explain some of the points above. You should also consider a statement on your application form.
Since we sent out this advice, we have updated the job applicant privacy notice template on the portal (in Global Documents) to cover this. Updates have been made as follows:
In the section “The Categories of Job Applicant Information That We Process Include:“, we have added the following bullet point:
Information on any incidents or issues that may have been identified in online checks of publicly available information.
In the section “Collecting Job Applicant Information“, we have added the following paragraph:
We will also carry out an online search about you for information that is publicly available online. This will include social media accounts you may hold. This will only be carried out on shortlisted candidates and before interview. This processing of data will be conducted under the legal basis of Article 6(e) public task in line with the guidance laid out in para 221 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2022. Any data collected during this search will be retained in line with our retention schedule which is available on request.
Finally, if you do not use a job applicant privacy notice and only have a workforce/staff privacy notice, you could do a similar update to that template instead.
Please let us know if you have any further questions regarding this topic. You can email us at DPO@schoolpro.uk.
SchoolPro TLC Ltd (2022)
SchoolPro TLC guidance does not constitute legal advice.
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