We don’t seem to have got our heads properly around the definition of “child” and “adult” in the UK. In many cases, adulthood starts at 18, when you can vote, drink, buy cigarettes, take out a credit card and live independently. Others define 16 as being an adult, as that’s the age you can leave school to go to college or into an apprenticeship, or get married. Those two years between 16 and 18 are most definitely a grey area – not really a child, but not legally an adult either. Those legal grey areas are particularly an issue when it comes to 16 or 17 year olds applying for work or voluntary roles which would require a DBS check.
As a society, we’re all a lot more clued-up on the importance of a rigorous DBS checking process to make sure that the most vulnerable groups in society are protected from exploitation. Recent scandals in the world of football and other team sports have thrown the spotlight onto the clubs and extra-curricular activities which our children do. If your kids attend a football club which is part of the FA, or an organisation such as Brownies or Cubs then there will be policies and procedures you can look at to reassure yourself about their Child Protection policies. For smaller, independent clubs and activities, it’s not always as straightforward.
Rules around disclosure checking and safeguarding are changing all of the time, and one of the most recent changes happened in July 2018 when the government announced that they were changing the “disqualified by association” rules. It’s a minor but important part of the legislation, and might have an impact on many hundreds of people who want to get jobs which require an enhanced disclosure check.
The NHS is the UK’s largest employers, and there are around 659,000 nurses working in hospitals and health centres up and down the country. Many nurses are involved in “bank nursing”, and this can be an attractive revenue stream for not only nurses but also other health professionals such as care assistants or pharmacists. Bank nursing isn’t the same as being employed full time though, and there are several important differences to be aware of before signing up to a bank.
The Metropolitan Police is one of the UK’s largest forces and covers most of Greater London. The Force hit the headlines recently when it was accused of cutting corners in its DBS checking process, with the inference that looser checks could be putting vulnerable children at risk. So what exactly has been going on?
The DBS checking system is constantly evolving and changing, and it can be difficult for both employers and workers to keep up to date with the latest developments. One of the most recent changes concerns the way in which employers have to check identity documents supplied to them right at the start of the DBS process.
Safeguarding is one of those buzzwords which seems to be everywhere. It’s often used in connection with children or vulnerable adults, but are we really clear what it means? If you’re applying for a job which requires an understanding of safeguarding, or are an employer who has to make sure you’re getting in right for your business, here’s what you need to know.
In 2018 it’s harder than ever to find a reputable job. Zero hours contracts, short-term contracts, shift working, low wages – all things which can make it harder to secure that well-paid job with great conditions and opportunities for progression. Unfortunately, and as in any market, there’s possibilities of fraud, both from the side of recruiters, and from the side of employees.
Every time there’s something in the press about the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), it’s usually in connection with children. There’s a lot of awareness about the importance of ensuring that people who volunteering or employed to work with under 18s are not a danger to them. Most people who are working in schools, as sports coaches or in other settings with children have an enhanced disclosure, which is a detailed check into their criminal record as well as showing up any cautions, warnings and other reprimands. There’s so much publicity around the issues with DBS and children that you could easily imagine that it’s only people who are working with children who need to have disclosure checks done, but this is not the case.
Gone are the days when housing associations and local Councils had their own team of maintenance people, responsible for both minor repairs and major building work in their properties. The number of Council properties has dwindled over the years, and many housing associations only manage a few dozen properties. Maintenance and repairs are still provided for tenants, but work is usually done by third party contractors – plumbers, electricians and joiners who have their own businesses and work for other clients too. Housing Associations and Councils have to do their best to make sure the companies they are using are reputable and do good quality work, but do their workers have to be DBS checked too?