Josie Appleton's blog

Note for Mr Lamb: Vetting laws bar neighbours from helping elderly

The heath minister Norman Lamb has called for Neighbourhood Watch and other groups to help care for elderly residents in their area - providing companionship, and help with feeding and washing. He criticised the current 'uncivilised' abandonment of the elderly to live 'miserable' and solitary lives.

Yet this 'uncivilised' abandonment has been fomented by the state - which has for many years insisted on criminal records checking anyone who offers such 'care and companionship' to elderly people in their area.

Elderly people are defined as 'vulnerable adults', and anyone offering help is asked to complete criminal checks to prove that they are not seeking to 'take advantage' of their 'position of trust'.

Secret lists and confusion: on the new 'filtering' system for criminal records checks

A guest post by David Wacks, director of CRB Problems Ltd, on the new proceedures for removing old and minor convictions from criminal records checks.

On the 29th May 2013, the law was changed so that some old criminal information is to be filtered off criminal records checks – even enhanced disclosure for working with vulnerable people – and need not be disclosed on most job applications. This includes:

1. A Reprimand given to someone under 18 would be filtered off 2 years after it was given provided it was not on the list of more serious offences.

2. A Caution would be filtered off 6 years after it was given, again, if not for a serious offence.

Has the DBS solved privacy concerns?

After a Court of Appeal judgement, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) today introduced new 'filtering' proceedures, meaning that old and minor convictions will be filtered out from criminal records checks.

The case that led to this decision was that of a man whose criminal records checks returned details of convictions for stealing bikes in his youth. This is a common problem, which in effect bars thousands of people with minor convictions or cautions from large areas of the job market.

So the new filter is to be welcomed as a step forward. Today the DBS sent an email to bodies that process checks, telling them:

With 112 pages of 'guidance', who would organise a kids' sports event?

The NSPCC has produced 112 pages of 'updated guidance' for how to organise 'safe' sports events for children.

What is striking from this extensive document is just how much 'safeguarding' is regulation for regulation's sake. From pre-event risk assessments, to consent forms covering every aspect of the event, to 'recruitment proceedures' for volunteers - there appears to be a faith in the power of paper to make people safe.

Australian primary school bans swimming photos

An Australian primary school has banned parents from taking photos of their kids' swimming gala.

The headteacher justified the move thus: "We want parents to be able to have a record of the children's events and be part of that, but it's about protecting our children. (Swimming) is part of their curriculum and they should be able to participate in that while feeling safe."

It's official - no change to criminal records checks

Last September the coalition introduced a series of measures with the aim of reducing criminal records checks to 'common-sense levels'. Officials predicted that vetting would halve.

A written question by Lord Vinson, however, reveals that September's changes have had no effect on the overall level of checks. There were 1.9 million criminal records checks between September and February last year - exactly the same number as the year before. There has been a slight reduction in the number of barred list checks, but no change in the overall level of enhanced criminal records checks.

Unnecessary checks are a crime - and should be reported to the police

A guest post by Shaun Joynson

To paraphrase Ken Livingstone, if legislation changed anything it would become illegal.

The aptness of that phrase should surprise no one observing the mad world of vetting checks. As the Manifesto Club’s recent report shows, little has changed despite the Protection of Freedoms Act. Unnecessary criminal record checks just keep being done. And though the club's report focuses on school parent volunteers, a similar pattern exists elsewhere.

Ski instructor loses job for refusing CRB check

In theory, the Protection of Freedoms Act (enacted September last year) has introduced a 'common sense approach' on CRBs. In theory, nobody need now be checked who is not in sole charge of children, 'frequently or intensively' (defined in law as once a month or for 4 days at a time).

Yet on the ground, CRB checks continue with almost no change. This recent email is from a ski instructor - a UK citizen, resident in Italy - who refuses on principle to be CRB checked, and has lost several jobs with UK schools as a result. This case shows that the demand for CRB checks is continuing to an irrational degree, flying in the face of government recommendations and common sense.

Why should housing surveyors be CRB checked?

Guest post by a housing surveyor who has battled repeated demands for CRB checks. He analyses why public bodies demand so many CRB checks, and what can be done about it.

It was a statement whose content I have become all too familiar with over recent years: as the work may involve some contact with vulnerable adults or children, a CRB check was an absolute essential. This was a condition of my employment and if I was unwilling to have a CRB check my employment would be terminated.

You might think that I might be a teacher, a nurse, a youth club leader, a social worker, but no, I am a housing surveyor. More specifically, a survey manager, so the number of times I actually might complete a survey is small.

A blast of sanity on CRBs

This lady has been abroad for many years, and returned to discover that CRB checks have spread to every corner of UK life. Her observations are a blast of sanity, and welcome perspective on this uniquely British obsession...

"Having just returned to the UK after some years spent living abroad, I've been pretty taken aback by how things have changed in this regard. I'm now a full-time mature student, looking for a chance to volunteer somewhere. It's not really for the sake of my CV, as people often assume, but simply to make some useful contribution to society. I'd thought of some sort of first-aid role with the Red Cross, or volunteering at my local hospital or homeless centre.

Syndicate content