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Crb's For Volunteers


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Hi

Can someone point me in the right direction please.

I have read somewhere that if a setting has a volunteer helper in on a regular basis they need a CRB. I am trying to find out what is classed as 'regular basis' - I thought it was based on a helper attending more than twice in a month but I cannot find anything which states that - I am sure I have read it on here but still cannot find it. Is there some legislative guidance somewhere? Help!

Thank you

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I think you're on the right lines, we were told at a recent safeguarding day that regular is more than once in 30 days or it could have been twice. I havent seen anything official though. Just told it.

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Had a long conversation today with a helpful guy at Ofsted about this very subject (complicated by the fact that our volunteer is 16!) He said that it is not a requirement but it is up to the individual setting to decide whether it would be needed. Ofsted would not pay for the check, the setting would have to do that if they felt it was needed.

 

We were laughing together about the fact that there is so much bureaucracy and that we are in danger of putting people off from volunteering altogether.

 

I think this whole safeguarding thing has just gone completely over the top and all it will achieve is to put people off from doing voluntary work. I sometimes feel like chucking it all in when it takes so much paperwork and we don't get any thanks from the government for giving up our free time.

 

Anyway, so long as the volunteer is never given unsupervised access to children he said it was okay not to CRB check if we felt that was okay, but that we should record information about them and keep it with staff records, e.g. name, dob, address, that sort of thing, and that we should also record that we had spoken with Ofsted and that this was what we had been told.

 

Of course if I phoned again tomorrow and asked I bet they would say something different, so if I was you I would phone them myself and get the name of the person you spoke to down in writing!

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i have just been to a meeting about the new requirements with the isa and we were told that if they help more that once a week they will need a crb

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As I read the new guidelines if they help once each week they will need a CRB but under 18's won't so that will help out younger volunteers.

So how do we prevent child abusers who are under 18 having access to our children, I wonder? I'm not saying there are lots of people in this category, because I don't know the breakdown. I'm just wondering what happens to a person when they become 18 years and one day old...

 

Maz

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Goodness knows, but I suppose a line has to be drawn somewhere and officially once they are 18 they are adults. I suppose the thing is that we wouldn't allow anyone who is not checked and cleared to have unsupervised access whatever their age. When I was involved with MENCAP we had under 18's who were volunteers with our over 18's club. We did have them CRB checked once they turned 16. We also had very strict rules as to what they could and couldn't do, which was for their own protection as well as that of our members with learning disabilities.

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My son is 14 and my daughter 16. Both are members of a swimming club; as well as being swimming members they both have roles where they support other swimmers during open training sessions or at galas they are always in full view of the general public and the childrens parents.

 

Both of them are required by the Amateur Swimming Association to have CRB checks.

 

If my children have to have CRB check in this role, which brings them into contact with children from about 8 to 16, then personally I feel that those volunteering to work with very young children should also have CRB checks and that Ofsted should insist on this.

 

Surely it should not be so different from one organisation, ASA to another, Ofsted?

Edited by BMG
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Just wanted to say that regardless of whether or not Ofsted will pay, CRBs are free for volunteers so it's probably worth getting it done anyway to avoid any doubt.

Good point, RR - thanks for pointing this out!

 

Maz

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Thanks for that Maz, useful information.

 

I spoke to our 16 year old volunteer this morning, she already has a CRB check from her college course. I just phoned Ofsted to ask if it was portable.

 

Guess what - they said they can't give an answer on this, it is up to us to make a judgement!! Talk about passing the buck!! Well, my judgement is that I refuse to be paranoid about ever offer of help we get. As far as I'm concerned she is fine and I will not be doing yet another check on her. And if they slate me for that at inspection you know what I just don't care.

 

I will stop spitting blood at the bureaucracy now :oxD:(

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As far as I'm concerned she is fine and I will not be doing yet another check on her. And if they slate me for that at inspection you know what I just don't care.

How would you feel if you found out she had offended against children in the meantime and was therefore no longer suitable to work with the children in your setting though?

 

That's an extreme question to ask, but it is important to look at safeguarding from that angle rather than just ticking a box for Ofsted, I think. Ultimately if you are confident that the checks you have made into the character and background of the volunteer in question provide you with enough information to say she is safe to work with the children, then you've discharged your duties, and if Mrs O comes asking questions you'll be able to demonstrate that fact.

 

I hope after all this angst it works out well for you - a willing volunteer is a prized asset to any group, isn't it?

 

Maz

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If someone is at college and has been CRB checked presumably the course they are doing is something that requires it. Have you asked for references for her, and one of these from her College, as it would be very likely that they would know of any problems? This would be the same for under 16's who are therefore at school or have just left. It is good practice to ask for 2 references for volunteers. For school-age volunteers the school would provide one reference and would certainly know if there was any conviction against them, as they would have had to put in safeguarding procedures themselves. They aren't likely to allow someone around school who has a conviction for some sort of abuse, without support, and there would be social services involvement. Those who haven't been suspected and investigated, or convicted, wouldn't show up on a CRB.

Just one more point to consider with volunteers under 16 is that there is a duty of care towards them, which is why some organisations do not have them. There can be complications if they are volunteering, as one possible scenario is that the client group they are going to support would all need CRB's as well, to be able to be with them.

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How would you feel if you found out she had offended against children in the meantime and was therefore no longer suitable to work with the children in your setting though?

 

That's an extreme question to ask, but it is important to look at safeguarding from that angle rather than just ticking a box for Ofsted, I think. Ultimately if you are confident that the checks you have made into the character and background of the volunteer in question provide you with enough information to say she is safe to work with the children, then you've discharged your duties, and if Mrs O comes asking questions you'll be able to demonstrate that fact.

 

I hope after all this angst it works out well for you - a willing volunteer is a prized asset to any group, isn't it?

 

Maz

 

I can see what you're saying Maz, but surely that could happen to anyone with a CRB more than a day old anyway? I think that given volunteers don't have unsupervised access, it is just crazy to put them through loads of hoops, because it is just going to put them off. As is frequently pointed out, all this bureaucracy would not have stopped events like those at Soham because not everyone who is likely to offend actually has a criminal record.

 

I think we've got to a stage now where we have an automatic assumption that everyone is guilty, rather than trusting that most people are okay. It strikes me that commonsense and professional judgement has been replaced by tick boxes which might leave us feeling that we have 'done our duty' but in reality we are giving ourselves a false sense of security.

 

Sorry, rant over!

 

I will ask my leader to ensure we get a reference from college for her just in case, thanks for that advice.

 

Sorry Maz don't mean to sound quite so heated about this but sometimes aspects of this voluntary role that I'm doing seem a lot of effort for very little purpose. So long as they are safe, which is what you're saying I guess, I'd really rather focus on the children's enjoyment. I know that applies to everyone on here.

Edited by Guest
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That'll be interesting. I see the whole country having a CRB soon, and so where then is our safety valve? Checking everyone, even children! wont lead to more safety, just more paperwork. Its still a case of 'none recorded' and so doesnt do what it intended.

I signed a petition against CRB's for that reason about ayear ago, wonder what happened to it.

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had a conversation with Ofsted today about this very thing and unbelievably I was told the same as you Suzie. They said, they are only concerned with registered person, owner/manager & committee. Anyone else it woul dbe up to our judgement. As the volunteer is only going to be doing one day a week, will finish in June, will have no unsupervised access to the children, is a parent (& we dont CRB parent helpers) and most importantly has a disclosure dated December 2009, we have made the decision not to do another one. I will watch the program on Monday with interest.

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