Campaigning on the Protection of Freedoms Bill

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has been part of a coalition of organisations, including NSPCC, Action for Children, Barnardos, Children’s Society, Fairplay for Children, the National Childminding Association, The FA and the Scouts, that have been working together to influence the Government’s review of the Vetting and Barring Scheme. 

We wrote to the Home Secretary asking that any revised vetting and barring arrangements should:

  • be based on risk
  • involve continuous monitoring of intelligence and convictions
  • introduce minimal burdens on employees and volunteers, and the organisations that they work with, and
  • be effectively communicated.
Lynne Featherstone MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information) responded to the letter, offering to meet the Chief Executives of the organisations involved in the coalition. The meeting happened on 1 March 2011 and the Protection of Freedoms Bill was discussed.
The issues of clarification and/or concern for sport that we have identified are: 
  • ‘Regulated Activity’ will no longer cover 16/17 year olds. This has been identified as an area of concern and an area where clarity is needed if eligibility remains should a sport wish to conduct checks
  • ‘Regulated Activity’ will no longer include any supervised teaching training or instruction. More clarity is needed on what is ‘supervised’ in a sporting context
  • Only the applicant will receive the CRB disclosure. Clarity is needed on how the NGB will receive CRB information securely
  • There will be a charge for updating information. Clarity is needed on how this will work for volunteers and whether volunteers will be able to get continuously updated and portable checks for free.
We will continue to work with the coalition of organisations on the following areas: 
  • Challenging the definition of regulated activity - particularly around 16-17 year olds; the precise definition of 'supervised' activity; and whether volunteers should be treated differently to paid staff.
  • Seeking reassurance that there should be no costs on either checking, or updating CRB checks for volunteers.
  • Working with government on the detailed guidance for organisations. 
We are also working with the Child Protection in Sport Unit on a number of recommendations which will feature in our Regulatory Burdens Review. We will be stressing the specificity of sport, the need for sport to regulate itself and make its own risk assessments in relation to CRB checks.
If you have any views or would like to discuss this further please contact our Compliance Officer, Joy Tottman.