I have had experience of CRB checks in the voluntary and educational sectors. It is completely and utterly ludicrous that I, and millions of others, should undergo multiple checks for each and every activity. This ridicvulous requirement is simply a way of generating hundreds of thousands of pounds of income for Capita. CRB certificates should be portable and valid for 24 months. One college I had an interview at said that any CRB certificate from another organisation could not be used by them to employ anyone if it was more than three months old. That is insane.

Second, I have a conviction in 2002 for a minor offence after a dispute between myself and a neighbout who threatened my two year old child and racially abused my wife. The record does not state that I was not fined and the police and my neighbour were refused costs. However, this revelation lead to me being ousted as Secretary of my local Gingerbread group. Yet nobody has ever suggested that my offence makes me in any way a danger to children.

So my other suggestion is that unless an offence is serious, certificates should simply state that there is no offence on record that makes this individual a threat to children/the elderly/or the vulnerable. In other words details of minor offences should not be revealed unless there is good reason for it. For example if it is one among many offences. I am 56 and that is the only offence on my record.

There is very good evidence that thousands of people have left the voluntary sector, or will not join the sector, because they do not wish minor offences to come to light; offences that are nearly always committed in youth or early adulthood.

I strongly believe that at present the operation of CRB certificates in their current form is a breach of civil liberties and probably infringes the Human Rights Act. Unfortunately I do not have the financial resources to put this to the test in the courts.

Why is this idea important?

First of all the current operation of CRB is blighting the voluntary sector both in terms of cost and time and in discouraging people from joining the sector and in many cases prompting them to leave it. We are all familiar with the Youth Club volunteer who has been in prison and wishes to steer others away from that path. Tens of thousands of peopl like this do not want to come forward because they do not want their past revealed.

Second, to demand endless issues of multiple certificates for the same individual is plainly stupid. Why should I, and others, have three, four, five, or even six, certificates when we are quite clearly the same individual?

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