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New guidance on CRB checks for volunteers
The Cabinet Office today published guidance to help organisations that use volunteers to be clear about when they do and don't need to carry out Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on volunteers. The guidance will help cut unnecessary red tape and responds to concerns voiced by the voluntary sector that potential volunteers can be put off if they are asked to undergo a CRB check without good reason.
People volunteering or working with children or vulnerable adults are sometimes legally required to have a CRB check. Where contact with vulnerable people will be limited or perhaps the person has recently been CRB checked for a different role, a decision about clearance must be made. The guidance clearly explains how the check works as part of a proper risk management process. Other safeguards such as interviewing, training and taking references from potential volunteers can also be employed.
Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, said:
'The Government has a duty to protect vulnerable people and CRB checks play an important part in this. However, it is a real waste if volunteers are being put off doing their hugely valuable work because checks are being carried out unnecessarily. Risk has to be managed properly and proportionately and I hope that this guidance will help organisations by giving them a clear step by step process to follow.
'The Government has made sure that CRB checks are free for volunteers, saving volunteer involving organisations £26.6 million in 2007/08. I want to encourage more people to volunteer and will continue to tackle the barriers that prevent them.'
The guidance responds to recommendations put to the Government by Baroness Neuberger, the Government's Independent Volunteering Champion. Baroness Neuberger said:
"I welcome this guidance and the Government's overall positive response to the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Volunteering. I believe that the guidance will address some of the issues raised in our consultation and I hope that it will promote a proportionate approach to CRB checks. The guidance is particularly important in public service organisations and I hope that the Government will push the use of the guidance in health and education strongly."
Notes to Editors
1. The Guidance on CRB checks and volunteers is available at: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/~/media/assets/www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/OTS_CRB%20pdf.ashx
2. Baroness Neuberger's review of volunteering in health and social care is available at: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/news/news_stories/~/media/assets/www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/neuberger%20pdf.ashx
Cabinet Office Press Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH