"The existence of so many independent data sources and lists is not satisfactory"
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is set to push for new legislation that would align a number of databases so as to prevent sex offenders working with children.
Kelly, who is reacting to pressure from MPs for allowing a teacher listed on the Sex Offender's Register to work in a school, said she wanted to urgently review how the education department aligns its database (known as List 99) of people banned from working in schools with other resources.
In a statement to parliament today, Kelly said: "I will review urgently the decision-making process surrounding such cases and the policy implications. In particular, how the closest possible alignment can be secured between List 99; the Sex Offenders Register and other data sources; [and] the role of ministers in the decision-making process."
List 99 is a database of people barred for life from working in schools. If a teacher is found guilty of committing certain crimes, they are automatically entered on the list. Kelly said the majority of sex offenders were therefore automatically barred from working in schools.
But a number of sex offenders have slipped through the net. Kelly has admitted that some have been left out of List 99 - even though they are on the Home Office's Sex Offender's Register - and have been allowed to work in schools.
Kelly was unable to answer a question from conservative shadow education secretary, David Willetts, on how many sex offenders were working in schools.
She said: "I agree that the existence of so many independent data sources and lists is not satisfactory."
Kelly added the review of legislation surrounding the databases would "take place with the greatest possible speed".