From January 1st 2013 new regulations were introduced that have significantly changed the way that organisations should deal with CRB issues. We examined the new regime at Voluntary Voice in December and are now in the position to offer the following feedback.
The new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) replaces both the CRB and the ISA and will monitor the disclosure needs based on much tighter guidance of what is now called Regulated Activity (RA); this is partly defined as activity in which someone who is barred, cannot carry out. Organisations can only request access to barred information for RA and in this case it is an offence not to ask for the barred information or to ignore it. For activity that is not RA, organisations can apply for a check that identifies the criminal record only, and it is an offence to ask for barred information; organisations that incorrectly submit disclosure forms may have their status as a Registered Centre removed.
The Department of Health has produced a definition of Regulated Activity and this is available via its website, or just ask Philip Mantom, at Lichfield and District CVS for a copy. These definitions are more to do with personal care, financial handling and interventions by social services than previous definitions based on someone’s ability Much of what the sector does is no longer covered by RA; consequently barred information will, generally, not be accessible.
This is our recommendation: organisations should review roles and risk assess each role. From this they can decide if any role meets RA criteria or not, and apply for the right check… or not apply for anything! You should manage volunteers so that they adhere to their roles and understand the organisation’s safeguarding needs; you cannot have a volunteer straying into RA accidentally. Finally you should review and strengthen your lone-working, safeguarding and risk assessment policies to make sure they cover the activity you carry out. Ideally non RA can be managed by good safeguarding without the need for a CRB.
This is a major change but the new system is based around common sense and designed to make you consider your own needs and the strength of your safeguarding. The government has substantially rolled back the requirement and the changes ask you to question your entitlement to someone’s personal data / history; they are encouraging you to only apply for the minimum check and only when justified. There is no statutory requirement to update everyone straight away, only as new checks are needed.
The two key messages are that: