Clive Chandler And His Puppets

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DBS/CRB

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Thinking of asking me to present a DBS check? 

Please read the following...

Clive Chandler currently holds one or more DBS check and is more than happy to make this documentation available when the circumstances require. (These show that he has 'no convictions').  Such circumstances are defined as 'regulated activity'. In simple terms the question is whether or not he would be supervising children and whether or not he would have unsupervised contact with them which is frequent or intensive. 

A DBS check is not a 'passport' to enter schools, and it is wrong to treat it as such. Requesting disclosure from visitors on a 'blanket basis' is not good practice as it demonstrates a lack of understanding of due process and the proper checks and balances. To do so puts you on the wrong side of the law.

Occassional visitors enter schools according to the risk assessment of senior management. When they do enter they do not need to be escorted at all times. A vistor can expect to be under the 'reasonbale' 'day to day' of the staff who are supervising the activity. This needs to be proportionate.

The fact that is easier for schools to ask visitors for disclosure on a blanket basis, does not make it the correct thing to do.  Asking for disclosure when not required is an offence under legislation.

Clive is a self-employed individual. Under DBS rules it is a technical impossiblity in England for him to obtain a DBS for activity that is not 'regulated'.  It would also be impossible for the school to obtain such a check on his behalf.

So, as a matter of principle he does not comply with any incorrect assertion that 'occassional visitors' are required to provide a DBS check to enter a school.


This information is posted for the benefit of anyone who is looking for quick clarifiation of the official position with regard to DBS checks. In relation to my work this will mostly be schools.  All of this information is available from the various sources.  The position is clear and it is the responsibility of anyone thinking of requesting such a check to understand the circumstances in which this is acceptable and when it is not.

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

Jobs that involve caring for, supervising or being in sole charge of children or adults require an enhanced DBS check (previously called an enhanced CRB check).

You cannot ask for a DBS check unless you are offering a contract for a position that involves regulated activity.  It is a legal offence to ask for a DBS check when this is not the case, as it represents a breach of  Freedom of the Individual legislation (and rehabilitation of offenders legislation in particular).

In simple terms this means that the practice of asking visitors for disclosure on a blanket basis is illegal.

Visits by a puppeteer who is not in a contract of 'employment' but a contract to 'provide services' do not qualify.  The most important criteria is whether such a visitor meets the frequently or intensively condition. 

This is defined as 

Frequently or intensively means carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30 day period (or in some cases overnight between 2am and 6am, where there is opportunity for face-to-face contact).


As a performer I would not be visiting 4 days in a 30 day period.


To ask for a check you would have to be offering a contract of employment and would be required by law to explain how my visit qualifies as 'regulated activity'.  By definition you would not be able to do this.  If you made presentation of a check a condition of entering the school to provide services as previoulsy contracted (made in writing or verbally) you would be acting in breach of the rehabilitation of offenders legislation and employment rights.


If you did not make disclosure a condition of the contract - and in practice you cannot - then you cannot ask for disclosure when I arrive. Attempting to impose an unreasonable condition at that point would represent a breach of the exisitng contract.  In law such a contract does not have to be a lenghty document but can be 'verbal' or a simple exchange of correspondence.


For this reason whether or not I have a disclosure, I will not show it on request when visitng a school as a performer.


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According to Ofsted, the Government, and the DBS, a check is not required for a single visit involving a supervised performance/workshop.

A minority of schools have been caught up in mis-understandings of official advice with regard to DBS/CRB checks for visiting artists.  This arises from a failure to make the distinction between regular staff and occassional visitors. This page should help clarify the position

As a visitor, coming in to perform a show, I should not be required to provide a DBScheck. I will not have 'unsupervised access' to children. Contact is not 'frequent or intensive'.

The situation is different if I am working for more than four days in one month in the same place with the same children. This may be the case with extended workshops. Then contact might then 'frequent or intensive' and check Could be required.  

It is the responsibility of schools to have a full and understanding of the legal position.  The department for education, the government, DBS, and Ofsted all have very clear advice on this subject on their respective websites.

EQUITY have also issued clear advice (see below)
 

EQUITY ADVICE

March 2013 Disclosure and Barring Service A guide for Children's Entertainers and freelance entertainers

What is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?

The DBS is a checking service for employers who are legally entitled to ask about an applicant’s criminal background. The service launched on 1st December 2012 effectively replaced the system of Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks that you may have become familiar with over recent years. The new body is a merger between the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

How does this affect Children's Entertainers?
 
In relation to children, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 defines ‘Regulated Activity’ as activity which a barred person must not do. The definition of this activity is much more tightly defined than it used to be and only those who regularly carry out largely unsupervised activities with children or vulnerable adults would need to be checked. Most freelance work in schools would not meet this criteria as the work is generally supervised so there should be no need for a check. This would also go for a lot of other work connected to local authorities and the public sector in general. Checks have never been needed for work in private homes or for general children’s party work.

Michael Day Equity

 

 



Ofsted do not require  visitors to provide DBS checks

Here is a quote from the Ofsted website

DBS checks are not required for visitors. Visitors do not have unsupervised access to children."

"The key test is ‘frequent’ or ‘intensive’ contact with learners. The definition of ‘frequent’ and ‘intensive’ was clarified in December 2009 by Sir Roger Singleton and the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families".

Here is that definition:

"The frequent contact test should be met if the work with children takes place once a week or more. The intensive contact test should be met if the work takes place on 4 days in one month or more or overnight. Individuals who go into different schools or similar settings to work with different groups of children should not be required to register unless their contact with the same children is frequent or intensive".


DBS do not require vistors to have a check


a feelance performer coming in to deliver performances or workshops does not require such a check.

It is a condition of everything I do that I am never working unsupervised or unsupported by properly qualified teaching staff.

I am not staff, but am a freelance worker with the same status as a 'visitor'


A Personal Note:

I believe passionately in the safety and well-being of children. I am less of a fan of mis-placed local policies, based on  mis-understandings of official advice, that cause a separation between our schools and the wider communtiy, foster a climate of fear and suspicion, and give some the same feel as gated communities or prisons.  

I retain the right to decline to comply with any 'local policy' which is outside of Ofsted and Government advice. With regard to DBS any such policy is neither food practice or legal. I have some sympathy with schools who have found it difficult to understand advice in the past.  However there is now plenty of very clear advice on this matter and there should be no reason for misunderstandings.

I enjoy visiting schools which have a proper understanding of the guidelines and know how to run schools safely and also make visiting artists feel welcome. Happily this is the case with the vast majority.

This is a serious issue affecting a range of performers and artists in schools and it important that we stand up to inappropriate requests for disclosure.

Purveyors of fine puppetry to the known world