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.
People working with children as sports coaches or as leaders at something like Cubs generally need an Enhanced Disclosure. This is the most detailed level of checking, and will look in depth into the records held by the Police. This might include convictions, cautions and any other intelligence held about you on the police computer. However, enhanced disclosures can only be applied for by organisations on behalf of people they are thinking of employing. People who are self-employed can only apply for a basic disclosure, which offers a much lower level of detail.
Information on a Basic Disclosure
People who are running a dance school or some other independent club for children on a self-employed basis can only get the basic disclosure. As the name suggests, this is the least detailed check, and will only show up convictions which are not considered as “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Is this enough reassurance for you as a parent that the person running the club is suitable to be with your kids? Only you can decide, but there are a few other factors to bear in mind.
One key thing to look at is whether the club or activity you are considering is affiliated to any larger organisation. For example, a local gymnastics club operating out of a church hall and run by a former gymnast may well come under the umbrella of British Gymnastics. If that’s the case, then the coach can apply through that organisation for an enhanced disclosure. Many sporting clubs are affiliated to a larger umbrella organisation in this way, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Don’t Get Hung Up on DBS
It’s also worth remembering that it’s easy to get hung up on DBS and think that it’s the only way which parents have to check up on who is looking after their children. It’s worth bearing in mind that DBS checks are only current on the day they’re issued, and in most cases, offences or cautions which occur after the forms are issued will not be listed. Speak to other parents, meet the coach and get a feel for how the club operates. Most coaches will be happy to meet you, chat about how the club operates and let you sit in on lessons to make sure that you’re happy with the way things are managed.