Councils demand CRB checks on street fundraisers

Some local authorities are insisting street fundraisers pass criminal records checks even though the Criminal Records Bureau has said they do not need to.

Middlesbrough Council is one of several authorities refusing to issue permits allowing fundraisers to take to the streets until they pass checks.

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has urged it to back down after receiving a letter from the CRB confirming checks were unnecessary.

Mick Aldridge, chief executive of the PFRA, accused the councils of wasting charities' time and money. "The disclosures made by the CRB are intended to protect children and vulnerable people from abuse in a care environment," he said.

"CRB checking is an unnecessary burden for charities and erodes income without providing additional public protection."

PFRA members have also reported that councils in Devon and Cornwall have demanded checks before giving consent.

Aldridge said: "We want local authorities to understand that they don't need to ask for CRB checks, and we will support members that resist."

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said the checks were intended to prevent fraud and antisocial behaviour, but he admitted the council had not received a single public complaint about street fundraisers.

He was unable to say whether the council would back down following the CRB's advice.

- See Newsmaker, page 11.

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