CRB Checks – Guidance for Volunteering

The Office of the Third Sector has launched new guidance on CRB checks for volunteers in response to the Commission on the Future of Volunteering recommendations. AVM helped advise on the guidance prior to launch.

The guidance clarifies a number of issues in particular the bad practice of 'blanket' checks, although we are aware that some statutory agencies still insist on this. The Criminal Records Bureau has previously advised us that where this happens to let them know.

We are also pleased to note the greater emphasis placed on CRB checks as being just part of the risk management process.

3 thoughts on “CRB Checks – Guidance for Volunteering

  1. Post Soham, we are all have greater awareness of CRB checks, however I think we also have to be aware of over dependence on CRBs and seeing them as being the sole reliable source of information as to a person’s suitability and background.


    CRBs Only inform an organisation of convictions, and not of current undetected activity; as such, you could have a person who has a clear enhanced CRB but is for example an active paedophile who hasn’t been caught yet!

    Once a person has a CRB, in reality how long is it before it is out of date?, again a person could receive their clear CRB in the Morning and commit serious crime in the afternoon, and as long as they remain undetected, they have a current and clear CRB and would continue to do so CRB after CRB.

    CRBs are useful in the risk assessment process but should always be part of a much broader process.

  2. One of the problems is that over the last five years we have moved towards a risk-averse world where policy decisions on CRB checks are made by Boards/Chief Executives who don't understand the issues on risk-assessing volunteering programmes. I know of a number of organisations – both charity and public sector – where the decision has been made at the top to blanket-check certain volunteers without regard to what they are actually doing.However, I sense there is the beginnings of a movement away from this approach, as awareness grows as to the useful but limited role that CRB checks do play – although it is no more than a feeling at present.

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