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Charity Commission safeguarding guidance updated

The Charity Commission last week updated its guidance on safeguarding for charities, following extensive pressure from the Charity Retail Association and other organisations. The new guidance removes the blanket stipulation that a DBS check should be carried out for all staff and volunteers.

The original Charity Commission guidance stated that:

“If a role is not eligible for a standard or enhanced check, ask the person to apply for a basic check”.

This guidance took no account of the ability of the DBS to process extra volumes of checks. Nor did it take into account whether the person for who the check was being applied was likely to be working with children or vulnerable adults.

The Charity Commission last week updated their guidance on DBS checks to:

“Always get a standard, enhanced or enhanced with barred list check from the DBS when a role is eligible for one. Not all roles working with children or adults at risk are eligible for a standard or enhanced check. You should get a basic check if your risk assessment determines it’s appropriate.”

The Charity Commission has now included the importance of interviewing new recruits, taking up references and checking gaps in work history. This reflects the position of the Charity Retail Association that relying on DBS checks alone is not enough.

The Charity Retail Association is working on developing a new Licence to Operate scheme, in conjunction with Barnardo’s and with input from the British Heart Foundation. This will provide new standards that our members can sign up to in relation to safeguarding, and will be released in the New Year.

Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the Charity Retail Association said:

“We welcome the decision by the Charity Commission to update their guidance on safeguarding for charities as the previous guidance was at best misleading and at worst unfit for purpose. The previous guidance gave the impression that basic DBS checks were required for everyone in charity retail.

The charity retail sector takes safeguarding very seriously, and as such we are working on a new scheme to support our members in their efforts to keep staff, volunteers and customers safe.”

The Charity Retail Association provides a detailed briefing for our members on safeguarding. This can be accessed here.