Volunteers, DBS Checks and Safeguarding
by Tim Larden
I was delighted to attend a training and discussion session facilitated by Nova Wakefield and led by Young Lives Consortium on the subject of Safeguarding. Attendees included a range of organisations and individuals from the voluntary sector and some public service groups.
My purpose in attending was primarily to get a perspective on the subject from a range of community groups and understand their approaches to dealing with issues around safeguarding.
Protecting staff, volunteers and service users and ensuring a safe environment for all is a critical goal for all group. Nobody can deny that risk exists and it is impossible in many situations to eradicate all risk from activities. One of the watchwords of the session was proportionality. As an example, DBS checks are often reached for as a ‘standard fit’ solution but how relevant are they to your group? Indeed, if they are unneccessary, are you in danger of breaking the law by insisting on them? not to mention the cost of a full DBS programme for a large team of volunteers or staff.
A wide range of subjects were discussed including risk assessments, organisational culture, whistle-blowing, other support, the differences between safeguarding with children and adult service users, recruitment and on-boarding of staff and volunteers and many more.
Many charities, small community groups and voluntary groups have to grapple with this subject every year. I cannot possibly do any justice to it in a single blog post but I do plan on producing an overview of some of the key considerations.
Watch this space!