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mjgrieveson

Crb Check

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I have been given a form to fill in for a CRB check, and for some reason I'm finding it rather an affront.

I know it is nothing personal, and am aware of the kind of problem that has led to it being required. But as I only reluctantly (and occasionally) play for services and there are no children in the choir I feel miffed at having to provide very personal details and documentary proof of same.

 

Has anyone ever declined to fill in one of these things and then lived to regret it? I had plans at one time to start up a choir but there was no interest at the time and so I put the notion on hold whilst carrying other plans forward.

 

There is no question of a murky past, I hasten to add!

 

What would others do?

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I have been given a form to fill in for a CRB check, and for some reason I'm finding it rather an affront.

I know it is nothing personal, and am aware of the kind of problem that has led to it being required. But as I only reluctantly (and occasionally) play for services and there are no children in the choir I feel miffed at having to provide very personal details and documentary proof of same.

 

Has anyone ever declined to fill in one of these things and then lived to regret it? I had plans at one time to start up a choir but there was no interest at the time and so I put the notion on hold whilst carrying other plans forward.

 

There is no question of a murky past, I hasten to add!

 

What would others do?

 

I haven't had personal experience of a CRB check but my wife, who works in the office of an establishment looking after elderly people in sheltered housing, has to complete one every few years. She has no option; if she were to decline then her contract would be terminated. It's not to protect only children but any vulnerable person even if the personal contact with the people adjudged potentially vulnerable is limited.

 

Maybe you have an alto like "the owl that hoots in the desert" in the choir and he is judged vulnerable to abuse of one sort or another!

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I have been given a form to fill in for a CRB check, and for some reason I'm finding it rather an affront.

I know it is nothing personal, and am aware of the kind of problem that has led to it being required. But as I only reluctantly (and occasionally) play for services and there are no children in the choir I feel miffed at having to provide very personal details and documentary proof of same.

 

Has anyone ever declined to fill in one of these things and then lived to regret it? I had plans at one time to start up a choir but there was no interest at the time and so I put the notion on hold whilst carrying other plans forward.

 

There is no question of a murky past, I hasten to add!

 

What would others do?

 

Hi

 

The CRB check also now includes those who work with (or may work with) "vulnerable adults".

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Such a murky area! Have you found out why you have to fill the thing in if there are no children involved?

 

The whole CRB things is huge money spinner for the govt and is flawed in so many ways.

-I currently have four sep clearances from four different bodies. Why won't one suffice?

-The police and other agencies are allowed to use 'soft' intelligence in their replies to the organisations, that is to say allegations and information that hasn't been tested in a court of law

-I know of one place where all adult members of the choir were required to be CRB checked as they were singing with children. Sadly, a number refused and preferred to resign.

 

The tip of the iceberg this!

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I work in a hospital with direct patient contact and am deemed suitable for that so it does seem odd that I am potentially too dodgy a character to play hymns and voluntaries in church, even if I do not train a choir. The whole thing is absurd but that fact alone will not put an end to it.

 

I was wondering if a refusal to oblige with this form would backfire on me in the future if I did ever get round to starting a choir.

At the moment it would be quite nice to have a cast iron excuse to be unavailable for services but in this case I have a feeling the law would be honoured in the breach.

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To my mind your church authorities are being overzealous. If you’re not working with children or vulnerable adults I can see no justification for having to undergo a CRB. If I was in your position I think I’d refuse to comply – all depends on how much your enjoy playing for the services

 

At my own church each post was assessed and only those directly working with the highlighted groups was CRB’d. As no one in our choir is under 40 a CRB check for me was not required.

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Guest Patrick Coleman

It may be that the authorities (whoever they are in this case) are being over zealous, but I would ask people to remember how vulnerable the church is to accusations and publicity in this area. If, God forbid, someone else were to behave in abusive way with children or others, the fact that blanket policies had not been implemented would be one of the accusations made to suggest the Church did not take the issues seriously.

 

It does no one any harm to complete a check. Yes, it's distasteful, but it causes no damage, whereas the alternative does...

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At my church all clergy, lay readers, organists, choir, servers, youth workers and junior church helpers all have to fill in the form. The church, like all other institutions, has to be seen to be doing the right thing and, in doing so, helps to protect all involved - including the people who fill in the form.

 

Inevitably, if someone refuses (for whatever reason) it will almost certainly result in the person concerned not being appointed to whatever the position may be and I think this is right because, as recent court cases have proved, the church can't be seen to be taking risks in this context. Irksome, yes. Irritiating and intrusive into ones privacy, yes. Expensive for the organisation, yes. Regrettable that society has come to this, yes. It makes us all feel like potential criminals, constantly watched by big brother, yes.

 

Unavoidable fact of modern life that people in churches have to go along with like all other organisations, also yes.

 

Malcolm

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After having CRB'd in excess of 8000 persons (so we are told), the Church in Wales is now required to re-check everyone!

 

I have to admit however, that there are some things about the CRB that puzzle me; one lady in our church was particularly vexed about filling in a form because it was her sixth!!! I would have thought that this multiplicity of CRBs per person may ultimately prove to be a fatal flaw. But having said that, I definitely think that it is better to have a CRB than not to have one. After all if one has nothing to hide, then there is nothing to fear....

 

When I counter-sign people’s application forms for them, I tell them that the CRB will arrive with them in due course and that they are to keep it with their most important (and treasured) documents.

 

And no, I wouldn't appoint anyone without one....

 

:huh:

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Yes, this duplication seems unnecessary. I have one CRB check which covers me for the choir (there are children and one "vulnerable adult"), the parish amateur dramatics group (I was MD for a number of years) but not the Brownies and Rainbows as the Guiding Association insists on a seperate check. This despite the fact that this is a parish Brownies and Rainbows unit, which meets on parish-owned property and Brown Owl happens to be my "significant other" (don't you hate that phrase?) and it is further complicated in that four of the choir are Brownies! So when they are in chorister mode, the parish CRB covers me; when I go to the Brownies/Rainbows to teach them some music, presumably the Guiding Association CRB takes over.

 

Peter

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But having said that, I definitely think that it is better to have a CRB than not to have one. After all if one has nothing to hide, then there is nothing to fear....

:huh:

 

Except the gradual erosion of personal liberties with our implied consent.

People's stories on here highlight the Kafka-esque nature of the situation. Someone must be making money out of this but even if not, we are all so afraid of being without the prized symbol of acceptablity that we will undergo levels of intrusion previously undreamed of in a free society. I certainly would not endure 6 of these things. This is only my second and it is more than I wish to endure to prove my suitability for a duty that is performed reluctantly. I don't seek preferment as an organist; I'm just the 'spare'.

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Except the gradual erosion of personal liberties with our implied consent.

People's stories on here highlight the Kafka-esque nature of the situation. Someone must be making money out of this but even if not, we are all so afraid of being without the prized symbol of acceptablity that we will undergo levels of intrusion previously undreamed of in a free society. I certainly would not endure 6 of these things. This is only my second and it is more than I wish to endure to prove my suitability for a duty that is performed reluctantly. I don't seek preferment as an organist; I'm just the 'spare'.

Indeed. In your situation, I think I'd tell them to take a running jump.

 

:huh:

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Guest Echo Gamba
Such a murky area! Have you found out why you have to fill the thing in if there are no children involved?

 

The whole CRB things is huge money spinner for the govt and is flawed in so many ways.

-I currently have four sep clearances from four different bodies. Why won't one suffice?

-The police and other agencies are allowed to use 'soft' intelligence in their replies to the organisations, that is to say allegations and information that hasn't been tested in a court of law

-I know of one place where all adult members of the choir were required to be CRB checked as they were singing with children. Sadly, a number refused and preferred to resign.

 

The tip of the iceberg this!

 

Iis it a blanket requirement for all adult choir members to be CRB'd? I have been, as there is one child in my choir, and I also work with children's liturgy team - but the remaining adults in the choir have not been asked to be CRB'd. I also have been CRB'd by the county council as I am a peripatetic music teacher

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Guest Echo Gamba

My main gripe is the time it takes to fill in the ****** things!

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Generally the church or the diocese will have a policy on who needs to be CRB checked. So don't take it personally - it's just part of the organisation's policy - and the organisation is responsible for ensuring a safe environment blah, blah, blah... I don't think anyone in churches likes been CRB checked and many key people in the church - Church wardens, vergers, ministry team, lay workers, etc - will have also been CRB checked.

 

At our church, even people who have a key to the church need to be CRB checked - including people who just use the church for private practice in the evenings and would never come anywhere close to a child at the church. But it's the Diocesan policy.

 

I don't think it's helpful to be difficult about CRB checks, how much of an affront you may feel it presents to your personal integrity. Many other people in the church will have had to have done a CRB check, even if they come nowhere near children and will probably feel the same way as you do. Being difficult and obtuse about it can only serve to alienate yourself from the rest of the church community.

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Guest drd

Not, I hasten to say, my area of expertise.

 

However, recently the wireless carried a report of persons who had been requried to undergo such checks for work where one was not required. It is illegal, the experts said, I think, for a person to be required to undergo such a check as a condition of employment if the employer does not have a valid legal reasons (i.e. children or vulnerable adults) to so require one.

 

Clarification seems to be needed. If one feels strongly about it, a consultation with an expert in this area of the law seems indicated.

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It's an unfortunate fact that there has been a substantial number (even if small in terms of the total number of church-goers) of offences against children which have been proved in court, and an unknown number of offences which were not reported or prosecuted. I know children who were abused, and I am aware of people with criminal records who arrived in a district without revealing anything of their past.

 

There does seem to me a very good reason for doing what is possible to minimise the risk of such things happening in the future. The CRB system is bureaucratically inefficient, but perhaps it is about as good as the law can do, and a potential deterrent to an offender who seeks contact with children elswhere.

 

Clear policies and procedures within churches and similar organisations may provide far better protection for children, and protection for adults who might be unjustly accused.

 

Legal cases in the USA have resulted in whole dioceses becoming bankrupt, and although the scale of damages is unlikely to be as high in the UK, they could be substantial if an organisation's negligence allowed offences to occur that might have been avoided. Churches will certainly try to do as much as possible to make sure that in the event of any trouble their insurance policy is not invalidated.

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I hadn't meant to come over as negative about the checks, merely the system. Any system which discourages or is likely to find abusers is to be welcomed, particularly as the church and musicians seem to have their fair share of bad publicity over the issue.

 

-If it is a government requirement to have the checks, then they should be paying for it, not the organisation. It is crippling Scouts, Cubs etc, not to mention the burden on smaller churches.

 

-A person should only be required to have one check, not by multiple employers. I have a colleague whose husband volunteers as a trustee to a charity which supports children's play areas. He has to have been checked by all eight play areas, as they are separate organisations, even though they receive funding from the same place. At £45 a shot, you can see who is raking it in here.

 

Two of many anomalies of the system!

 

I would be interested to know whether the RCO examiners have to be CRB checked or not. The other major exam boards (AB, Trinity/Guildhall, LCM) all do, but I can't find anywhere in the RCO literature that says the examiners are. Common sense would tell you that most (if not all) already hold a clearance from a cathdral, college or school.

 

Davidh, you highlight a problem of offences that are not reported or prosecuted. The non reporting ones is an issue, when in the past an employer has discreetly asked an employee to leave without causing a fuss. But authorities are much tighter about cautions, non-prosecutions, and prosecutions that don't result in a conviction. The Soham case revealed that information and intelligence was known about, but not acted on as the authorities couldn't be absolutely sure of a conviction. Having had a Child Protection INSET at school recently, and a high profile local case, the police only prosecute when they are pretty certain (90% was quoted) sure they will get a conviction. From my understanding, this so called 'soft' information from cases where there is only a caution, or even an allegation, the police are allowed to disclose it to the potential employer now, whereas in the past they weren't. This leaves a rather large grey area.

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-A person should only be required to have one check, not by multiple employers. I have a colleague whose husband volunteers as a trustee to a charity which supports children's play areas. He has to have been checked by all eight play areas, as they are separate organisations, even though they receive funding from the same place. At £45 a shot, you can see who is raking it in here.

 

Guilmant makes a good point there. I am a trustee of a residential care home, and we are required to have a CRB check for a new employee FOR THAT EMPLOYMENT, even if they will be supervised full-time by another member of staff. Some applicants don't want to wait without work for many weeks before the CRB check comes through, so they go to look for a different kind of work which doesn't require a check before they start work. On the other hand, if CRB approvals can cover multiple applications or employments, they would need to remain valid only for a defined period.

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...On the other hand, if CRB approvals can cover multiple applications or employments, they would need to remain valid only for a defined period.

 

Yes, I agree, but we have to do that now anyway. I think it is three years, isn't it?

 

I might add that even my wife has had to have two CRB checks, and she doesn't have a job! One because she lives in a boarding school, and one because she helps out at a local primary school with literacy hour for two hours a week, supervised by one teacher and two teaching assistants (all fully checked!).

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Guest drd

Yes, but the point is, according to the experts on the wireless programme I heard, that an organisation which requires an employee or potential employee to undergo a CRB check without having legal reason to do so is acting illegally.

 

Checks cannot legally be required just because the organisation thinks they might be a good idea.

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Generally the church or the diocese will have a policy on who needs to be CRB checked. So don't take it personally - it's just part of the organisation's policy - and the organisation is responsible for ensuring a safe environment blah, blah, blah... I don't think anyone in churches likes been CRB checked and many key people in the church - Church wardens, vergers, ministry team, lay workers, etc - will have also been CRB checked.

 

At our church, even people who have a key to the church need to be CRB checked - including people who just use the church for private practice in the evenings and would never come anywhere close to a child at the church. But it's the Diocesan policy.

 

I don't think it's helpful to be difficult about CRB checks, how much of an affront you may feel it presents to your personal integrity. Many other people in the church will have had to have done a CRB check, even if they come nowhere near children and will probably feel the same way as you do. Being difficult and obtuse about it can only serve to alienate yourself from the rest of the church community.

 

Totally agree with this. People who are generally difficult or obstructive seem to leave themselves open to all sorts of criticisms in my experience. Plenty of other people have to undergo CRB checks, what's the problem???

 

R.

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There are a few things here that have been missed by the comments or need reiterating.

 

Firstly, the CRB check is not just to protect the children or vulnerable adults people have so far mentioned. It is to protect the person who has the CRB. By having the check, it shows that you have fulfilled best practice, and consequently, will work in your favour, should unfounded allegations be made.

 

Secondly, the information you give is already available to the organisation that checks or details, and to those who have a right to access them in the future. You are not providing any more information than they already know, however, you are drawing it together for them, and signifying an acceptance of the need for protection, for the vulnerable and yourself. Anyone that knows me knows how strongly I feel about civil liberties, and privacy, and the big brother state, but I have no hesitation that this is a good thing, unlike identy cards etc.

 

I agree with the stupidity of the system, however I understand that this is due to change soon, with only one check being made, you then supply a given number to your employers who then check it is valid.

 

Having been able to see the implications of abusive situations, I am vehemently supportive of the need to do this, to protect everyone, including the organisation who asks for it.

 

As for the legal aspect of those who do not require it asking for it, I am not sure, but I don't think this is relevant in the case of the church, which by its nature attracts the vulnerable and those who take advantage of them more than most.

 

Most dioceses now require choir members CRB checked.

 

In my previous post (I'm now freelance to concentrate on my business), we insisted that all the choir men were CRB checked, and one was required to leave for refusing to fill in the form. I can understand his viewpoint, but I believe he was fundamentally wrong, and it was absolutely, wholly and unequivocally right for the church to require the checks. Any church that does not do this really needs to examine their conscience and decide whther they are really serious about the protection of children and vulnerable adults, and indeed their own staff. It would be worth pointing out that vulnerable adults can include the elderly, so you may have these in your choir, however, I believe that if you are holding an official capacity within the church, whether organist or choir member, you will come into contact with the vulnerable within your congregation.

 

The best authority on this I believe would be Barry Williams, so if you know him, ask his opinion.

 

Jonathan

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Jonathan has touched on a point that I meant to make in my earlier posting in that CBR checks are for the protection of the person concerned as well as anyone else. It is not unknown for children to make false accusations against adults, especially if that adult has upset them by, perhaps telling them off or not giving them a solo that they wanted, and children now are far more aware of the possibilities of this sort of thing than we were fifty years ago when I was a chorister. If you obey all the regulations, including CBR checks, have another adult present all the time and make it obvious that you are taking child protection very seriously this can work to your advantage and for your own protection. Frankly, to ignore, or refuse to comply with, these matters is asking for trouble.

 

I speak to Barry Williams at least once a week (I know that some other Board members also speak to him regularly) and agree that he is a good person to talk to on this subject. It is a great shame that he will not go back on his decision to have nothing further to do with this Board.

 

Malcolm

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I feel that this is a fundamental erosion of civil liberties. It assumes that each of us are guilty of being child abusers - or whatever - until we prove that we aren't. Whilst I can understand, to a point, a possible desirability for choirmasters working with children to have this check, the thought of choir members having to go through this is utterly ludicrous.

 

The Nanny State and Big Brother march onwards and upwards.... :o

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