Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Getting a "police check" to

work or to work as a volunteer should be a straightforward business for the vast majority of people. It isn't.
That does not mean that the vast majority of people have some nasty incident lurking in their post. They don't.
I have no problem with the general idea of a police check. It is a good thing if it saves even one vulnerable individual, particularly a child, from being at risk.
But I think our system goes too far. A friend of mine is, at 76, a keen knitter and always willing to pass her skills on to others. She obtained a police clearance to work at a church craft group. Then she was asked to work at a school. She required another police clearance for that - because she was working with children. That may seem fair enough. She had to pay for both clearances although I feel that those asking her should have paid for the second if they specifically wanted her.
But she was telling me that someone else volunteered for the same programme in the same school. The other woman, a similar age, had a police clearance to work in another school - but not in the second school. If she wanted to work in the second school she had to obtain yet another police clearance. The students in both are in the same age group and from similar backgrounds.
My question is, why does the other woman need a new police clearance to work in the second school? My own view is that the system should be able to cope with such things. You should be able to get a police clearance to work in all schools of one type or another. You should not need a clearance to work in Red primary school and a new clearance to work in Blue primary school. The clearance should cover both schools.
Many organisations are exceptionally short of volunteers now. Some volunteers are working close to full time. Some volunteers are in their eighties and nineties. Often they have to do Occupational Health and Safety training as well as get the police clearance. They have to learn new ways of doing things because of new rules and regulations.
We want people to volunteer. We want them to be safe. We want the people they are working with and for to be safe. There is now a delay in the handling of applications. They want to put the application fee up again.
Surely one way of handling this is to make the application process situation specific rather than location specific?


Anonymous said...

I noticed this when I worked in England, where some of my colleagues were working at several jobs, all needing a CRB check, many of which they had to pay for (whilst earning very little or before earning anything).

"Nice little earner" for the organisation doing the checking (how much of it was done "freshly" every time? How much of a wicked past can a 16/17/18 year old have?).

No CRB check, no job, and the checking organisation has a monopoly.

Why not one check that covers a person for all possible jobs/voluntary positions?


Judy Edmonds said...

In Victoria you get a Working with Children check (which is basically a police check) and that covers you for everything. Except that there are two different ones depending on whether you need it for volunteering or paid work. But either are transferable between all situations.

Philip C James said...

It's the same here in UK - it can't be to ensure that any offences for which someone is convicted after the first check obtained are caught by the second check, as that would not safeguard against someone who never needs to ask for another check. A single check, renewed regularly should suffice for all engagements.

I don't like to think of it as a money-spinner, but they don't help disabuse one of that suspicion.

Anonymous said...

If I pay for a police check I expect them to check ALL my records ... surely it can't be too hard to enter my name into a computer and see what comes up.

Anonymous said...

If I pay for a police check I expect them to check ALL my records ... surely it can't be too hard to enter my name into a computer and see what comes up.

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