Parent drivers are now volunteers

In the news today we hear that parents of children attending sports events, who give lifts to other children will be considered volunteers, and will therefore have to be CRB checked.

Last time I looked there was so much more to recruiting and managing volunteers than a CRB check.

  • Who will be doing the values-based interviews that help to ascertain an individual’s suitability in the event of them never having had a complaint or allegation made against them? (All too likely given the reluctance of most victims to speak out)
  • Who will brief and debrief these parents?
  • Who will ensure that they attend Child protection training?
  • Who will thank them, introduce them to other volunteers, pay their expenses and ensure that the volunteering that they do continues to fulfill their motivations?

What no one? This has not even been considered? Well then, maybe they are parents helping their children (and their children’s friends) out and not volunteers at all. I do think that we need to be careful when allowing others to help out with our children or any other vulnerable family members that we are caring for, but there are many ways to assess the risks and many measures we can put in place. And parents are the best people to decide what is best for their own child surely?

I do think that if we call an activity volunteering, then we as a community of professionals (even if unpaid or unlabelled) have a responsibility to talk about how it is managed, and to set a standard of what we consider to be good and poor management standards.

Where we have not been enabled to implement those standards do we want to distance ourselves from that activity? What do others think?

2 thoughts on “Parent drivers are now volunteers

  1. My understanding is that Volunteering England represented the sector in the development of the Vetting and Barring Scheme, and specifically Shiela Hawkins worked with Bichard on these recommendations. VE may therefore be able to help with the rationale.

  2. I’ve been to a few ISA roadshow thingies, and I think this is a case of the press getting up on it’s high horse without checking facts.  I may have got this wrong, but my impression is that whether or not someone driving someone else’s kids to school is a ‘volunteer’ is actually immaterial, because it is entirely up to the parent making an arrangement with an indivudual – paid OR unpaid – whether they check ISA registration or not. If an organisation takes on someone in a regulated role then they have a legal duty to check, and can be fined if they don’t.  However if an individual takes on someone themseleves, then they can choose whether or not they want to check.  Therefore if I as a parent decide I want Steve next door to drive my child to football, it is entirely my decision whether I want to demand that he’s ISA registered. The same goes for babysitting, tutoring, etc. etc. Where there could be a potential problem is deciding where an arrangement between individuals actually does tip over into becoming a service provided by a ‘group’. For example if someone taking their neighbours kids to the park for a kick around suddenly becomes a bit more formal, with more adults involved, and a proper team, does that suddenly mean it’s a ‘group’.  The impression I guess get is that ISA want to be a flexible as possible with that kind of situation, but I  it’s going to taketime to see howthings work out in practice. 

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