Volunteers can have single 'portable' criminal records check under new law

Cabinet Office says the change will decrease the number of people requiring an enhanced check


Volunteers will be able to have "portable" criminal records bureau checks, under a new law passed earlier this month.

The Cabinet Office said today that new measures introduced in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which gained royal assent earlier this month, will mean that volunteers can have a single check allowing them to work for multiple organisations.

The changes will mean that the Criminal Records Bureau will introduce a service to enable employers, including organisations using volunteers, to check whether new information has been recorded by the police since a certificate was issued.

Checks to establish whether people are barred from certain roles working with vulnerable people will only apply to people in very close contact with children or vulnerable adults.

The change will reduce the number of people requiring an enhanced check because they regularly work in services for vulnerable people from 9.3m to 5m, according to a Cabinet Office progress report on recommendations made a year ago in Unshackling Good Neighbours, published this month.

The Cabinet Office has today published a code of good practice for volunteers written by a working group including representatives of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, various insurance organisations and Volunteering England.

It has also launched a set of guidelines written by the Association of British Insurers on how to run an event and a list of insurers that will not make an additional charge for people driving their car as part of their voluntary work.

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "Many volunteers, charities and social entrepreneurs have told me of their frustration with the amount of red tape interfering with their day-to-day work.

"While we do have a responsibility to protect people, we want a balance so they feel that they can volunteer their time without fear of facing unnecessary bureaucracy. The guidance we are announcing today will mean that people can get involved in their local communities without the burden of unnecessary red tape."

Hurd said that the government wanted to hear from people who had ideas for changes to regulations that would make it easier to run a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation.

The Cabinet Office asked the voluntary sector this month to suggest regulations that should be cut on its Red Tape Challenge web page by September 2012.

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