Thursday, June 22, 2006

CRB checks

I totally approve of CRB (Criminal records Bureau) checks and have become very good at filling in the documentation accurately. Working for a local church, CYFA and Ventures I have become used to more and more forms to fill in as the years progressed.

This year, with several job applications to pursue, I have broken my annual record for form-filling. Many dioceses of the Church of England get all applicants to fill in the forms and then promise to shred the papers of the unsuccesful.

No problem. But then I thought back a few weeks. Remember this post?

I ws invited, by a friend, to help run writing skills classes for 7-9 year olds. The workshops were all run in the company of two or three teachers, but at lunchtime, as all the children sat on a sunny, grassy bank watching the entertainment, I went and spoke to them. Now I have nothing to hide. I like children and it seems to me that on a day helping children with writing it was good to get to know them, chat to them and eat my lunch with them.

As I am aware of the need to be open I made sure teachers saw me doing this.

But I didn't have to and it would have been so easy, had I been so minded, to accompany children who were separating themselves from the crowd for whatever reason (say going to the toilet). Did I have to fill out a CRB check to do this day? No. And I have been asked back.

We may be in danger of filling in the cracks and overlooking the holes.


Chris said...

I'm not sure I fully understand the need to fill in another CRB check every time you or I do something with different organisations when we already have one that is "valid". My understanding is that I need to re-do one every 3 years (or something like that) for working with children in my church. I have one that is currently "valid" in the sense that I filled one within 3 years and it came back clean.

So why would I be prevented from helping on, say, a venture, if I didn't have a CRB check done before I went? I'm not sure.

I hasten to add that I've had another check done and it, rather un-surprisingly, came back clean.

As part of my job I've had various security checks and clearance granted. Perhaps I could do my own CRB check next time as I'm sure I'm allowed to view the information invovled!! Indeed I'm probably involved in developing some of the systems they may well check in the future...

Incidentally, CRB checks only tell you that someone hasn't been caught doing anything naughty yet. It should only be a small part of a child protection policy and not the be all and end all of a child protection policy. The more I hear about it, the more it appears to be the most important thing involved in child protection. I'm sure this is partly just media hype though and that most organisation have very sensible policies in place.

St said...

Thing is Chris that, whilst you are absolutely right in your general critique of the system, a CRB check is done against the post for which one is applying, so you need to re-check for each new post, however similar they may be.

Chris said...

So what should happen, as happens with some of my security clearance stuff, is that the clearance is done against me and then I am cleared for 3 years (or however long it lasts for).

It does seem a bit silly to have to do it for each role and a tad wasteful. I think the organisations have to pay (i.e. CPAS for my venture one) each time a CRB check is made, don't they? Must be a bit of an annoyance for charities in particular, but other organisations such as schools too must also find it hard.

Also, it's no wonder there are sometimes delays if there are other people having more than one check done!

I wonder if I know anyone, who knows someone, who knows someone who can sort it out. I doubt it. Better get used to the form filling! My biggest problem is always the address history. Some things want at least 5 years of history, which isn't so bad these days (it was worse when I was a student), but I still need extra sheets to get all the addresses in.

St said...

As I began, it was a school which didn't do it that got me musing. The LEA who employ my friend who got me the schol gig have never CRB checked her either, she tells me.

Rachel said...

Actually i heard recently from a reliable source that CRB checks are free if it's for volunteer, i.e. unpaid work, since my church is discussing new children's work.

Chris said...

Free in the sense that it costs the government and then the tax payer as a result? If we just had to do one check and that was fine for any position that required a check then it would make more sense to me.

Mike said...

Why can't we have a CRB 'card', renewable every 3 years. I'm basically against ID cards, but a CRB passport which gave clearance transferrable from one post to another seems within technoilogical possibilities. If an organisation had any doubt, they could always check the current record against that logged on the passport.

Emma said...

Hello, surfed on in from Mike's blog to add my tuppence worth!

I agree that CRBs should be transferable. Particularly since in the autumn as I started teaching and moved back home I had to fill in 4 forms in the space of about a month, 2 of which came back with the same date on them! Though, saying that, as I applied to New Wine again this year (having not had a CRB last year doing children's work) signing a form and sending off a previous CRB was enough to clear me to work with them without having to fill out yet another CRB form.
It is though, possibly a little concerning that even the LEA don't clear all necessary people. I would have thought in a busy school it can be overlooked but in my experience most places are quite strict about it, especially LEAs