It has been confirmed that people who volunteer in schools and clubs in England and Wales will no longer need duplicate criminal record checks if they work for more than one group.
Currently, an individual who has been screened to volunteer in a school, for example, would need a separate check before volunteering for another group where children are involved, or if they move from one group to another.
However, from now on, volunteers will be able to have a new “portable” background check, which they can update at no cost, thereby cutting a huge amount of red tape and reducing administrative costs for millions of people and societies.
Last year, more than four million people applied for a criminal records check and around a quarter of those were volunteers, while 10 per cent applied for more than one check.
The Disclosure and Barring Service, which replaced the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority, will operate a new system called an “update service” as part of the shift set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act, which became law earlier this year.
This will mean that volunteers will need to apply on a paper for a certificate to show that they have been screened and thereafter they can give permission to a group they would like to volunteer with to go online and check the validity of the certificate.
If there have been any changes, the group will not be told what they are but will be told that another paper application is needed and this will be free to them and to the volunteers.
Voluntary groups have welcomed the news and are sure that the changes will boost volunteering while volunteers are also glad that they will no longer have to pay for the checks if they move from group to group.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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