Sunday, 30 May 2021

"Small is beautiful" but is

bigger sometimes better?

There is a small piece in this morning's paper about volunteering and the problem of getting volunteers. Why? 

Almost every volunteering position in this state requires people to get a "police check".  Sometimes it is necessary to get multiple police checks. Those checks also have to be paid for - usually by the volunteer.  

Now of course there are good reasons for those checks - especially where children are concerned or financial matters are being handled. It doesn't stop the wrong thing from happening but it does help.

But the reporting suggested that we have "24,000" incorporated organisations in this state - and a lot of those would be the sort of voluntary organisations which require a police check before people could volunteer with them. What is more those organisations would likely each require a different check or level of checking.

There are other places which require checking too. Our local library is not an incorporated body. I volunteer there in that I look after the knitting and crochet group which meets monthly. I also help other readers find material if the staff are busy. I have been known to sit and read picture books to small children and talk to groups of children about books and reading or help them with craft activities. I don't need a police check to do any of these things. I got one for my own safety but I didn't need it. The reason for all this is that I am doing it in a "public space".   

I do need one for my occasional volunteer work with another place - where I can be alone with someone who is often very vulnerable. I can be privy to the most personal and confidential information. I know I need to be protected as much as the individual I am trying to help needs to be protected.  My check was paid for by them. I would have paid for it myself but there was a small grant for them to cover me and several other people who work there. 

As I read the piece in this morning's paper though I wondered again at the need for multiple checks. Surely the answer has to be that you get one check for all organisations with which you volunteer. That check needs to cover a variety of areas, children, money, animals, driving record, the elderly etc. There is surely a way of saying "this person can work/has chosen to work in the following areas and has been cleared to do so"?

Am I just being cynical when I think that the fee which is charged each time you need a check is a nice little money earner?  

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