Safeguarding Criminal Records Check Policy

Purpose 

We aim to ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults who engage with Amnesty International UK receive the protection and support they need and that we comply with our legal requirements.

This policy aims to provide clear guidance to Amnesty International UK staff and volunteers on who requires a safeguarding criminal records check, when checks should be requested. It outlines who processes and how these checks are processed for a staff member, office-based volunteer. Amnesty International  UK speaker or activist. It also provides guidance on who has access to the details of safeguarding criminal records checks and how Amnesty International UK responds to positive disclosures.

The purpose of the policy is support Amnesty International UK to make safer recruitment decisions to prevent unsuitable individuals from holding positions of trust working with vulnerable groups. Amnesty International UK requests and uses safeguarding criminal records checks to make safer recruitment decisions as a preventative measure that is a part of our wider safeguarding practices. Our safeguarding practices ensure that Amnesty International UK protects and supports the children, young people and adults at risk who engage with us. 

Scope 

All individuals who hold a position as an Amnesty International UK staff member, office-based or bookshop volunteer, Amnesty speaker or activist are subject to safer recruitment procedures. This includes a safeguarding criminal records check for roles where this is required.

This policy and its enclosed procedure must be followed by all members of Amnesty International UK staff who have recruitment or supervisory responsibility for staff members, office-based volunteers, Amnesty speakers or activists. 

Definitions

Children and Young People

This refers to anyone who is under the age of 18.

Adults at Risk

An adult at risk is defined as a person who has care and support needs and is, or is at risk of, being abused, exploited or neglected and unable to protect themselves against the abuse, exploitation or neglect or risk of it because of those needs.

Safeguarding criminal records check

All individuals who hold a role at Amnesty International UK that includes the following regulated activities will be required to have an enhanced safeguarding criminal records check prior to the individual commencing the role: 

  • Supervising Children and Young People overnight (specifically between 02:00 and 06:00)
  • Frequent1 unsupervised contact with Children and Young People and/or Adults at Risk
  • Supervisory roles with Children under 16 years

This list is not exhaustive as there may be other roles which require a Safeguarding criminal records check due to the nature of their work.

This requirement applies to any individual delivering these activities in their role, whether the role is paid or voluntary, and whether the activities are a part of the individual’s substantive role or a supporting role that is in addition to their substantive role. 

The requirement for an enhanced safeguarding criminal records check for individuals delivering the above activities is line with Amnesty International UK’s legal safeguarding criminal records requirements. 

An enhanced safeguarding criminal records check can only be requested when it is required for certain activity. It is not permissible to request an enhanced safeguarding criminal records check where there is not activity within the role that is eligible.

When to request a safeguarding criminal records check

Substantive Roles

All paid and voluntary roles which require a safeguarding criminal records check must clearly state this in both the job or role descriptor and any advertisement for the role.

Safeguarding criminal records checks should be undertaken as part of the recruitment processor where there is a change to a role that means a safeguarding criminal records check is now required. The check needs to be completed prior to the individual commencing the role and to be used to make a safer recruitment decision about that individuals’ suitability for the position. 

Supporting Roles

If Amnesty International UK requires support from individuals (staff, volunteers, activists etc) to undertake a regulated activity that is in addition to their substantive role, we will request a safeguarding criminal records check to be in place prior to the individual commencing the support. The safeguarding criminal records check is to be used to make a safer recruitment decision about that individuals’ suitability for the additional supporting role.

Subsequent Checks

Safeguarding criminal records checks should be renewed or checked every three years or where we become aware of new information. Amnesty International UK reserve the right to carry out repeat checks in line with safer recruitment guidelines. Staff, volunteers and activists have a responsibility to inform the organisation of any information that is likely to impact their disclosure status and their ability to work in regulated activity.

Who should process a safeguarding criminal records check?

Who processes a safeguarding criminal records check is dependent on the role:

Staff or office based and bookshop-volunteers: Checks will be managed through Human Resources, who will raise the request and review identification documentation in person.

Amnesty Speakers: Checks will be managed by the Human Rights Education Team who will raise the request and review identification documentation. 

Activists: Checks will be managed by the Community Organising Team who will raise the request and review identification documentation.

How to process a safeguarding criminal records check

Individuals who require a safeguarding criminal records check for their role will be asked if they already hold an existing check and meet the following criteria: 

  • Their existing DBS certificate is for the relevant level and workforce and is subscribed to the DBS Update Service (England and Wales)
  • They are a current member of the Protecting Vulnerable Persons (PVG) Scheme (Scotland).

If the individual meets the above criteria, then the check can be made through the relevant government body.

If the individual requires a new check to be processed then this should be completed through the relevant government body; Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales; AccessNI in Northern Ireland; Protection Of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme in Scotland.

Individuals’ whose safeguarding criminal records check is requested through the DBS (England and Wales) are also requested to subscribe to the DBS Update Service.

Confidentiality, Storage and Access

We comply fully with the DBS Code of Practice on the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Disclosures and Disclosure information and the Data Protection Act 2018.

We comply fully with the principles of confidentiality and only share information with individuals involved in the decision-making process on a need to know basis.

We do not retain copies of certificates and only keep information that enables us to demonstrate that we have followed the correct processes in line with published guidance on processing safeguarding criminal records checks. For example, identity checks, certificate number, date of issue and any other relevant information. All information is stored securely and can only be accessed by authorised relevant teams eg HR.

Who can request details of safeguarding criminal records check?

Disclosure information is only used for the purpose it was requested for and the specific details are restricted to those involved in managing the requests and Safeguarding panel as appropriate.

HR will hold a record of all staff who have an enhanced criminal record check and can supply that information to staff who are leading an event or activity involving regulated activity.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead for Children, young people and vulnerable adults will be able to provide information about activists (including speakers) who have an enhanced criminal record check and will supply that information to staff or other activists with the consent of the individual concerned.

Process for responding to a positive disclosure

A positive disclosure is a certificate that shows cautions, warnings or convictions. They may show spent and unspent convictions. Enhanced checks will also show information that a police force feels is relevant to disclose based on the nature of the job that the individual will be employed to do.

Having a positive disclosure will not necessarily prevent an individual from working with children, young people and vulnerable Adults unless the disclosure specifically states that the individual is barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Where a DBS or PVC Check contains positive disclosure, the individual will be offered the opportunity to discuss the content of the disclosure with the relevant specific staff member.

Staff and Office and Bookshop Volunteers – Human Resources Coordinator/Partner
Educators – Education Officer (Youth and Schools)
Activists – Community Organising Manager

The individual will be required to bring the original copy of the certificate to the meeting which will take place within one month of receipt of the DBS/PVC either face to face, via video link or telephone as required.

During the interview, Amnesty International UK Safer Recruitment Safeguarding criminal records Check Risk Assessment Pro-Forma see Appendix 1-2 will be used to facilitate the discussion. The completed risk assessment will be passed to a Safeguarding panel to review and determine if the individual is able to undertake the activity or role for which the check was required. 

The safeguarding panel will be convened as follows: 

Staff and Office and Bookshop Volunteers

  • 1 of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (see list below)
  • One member of the Human Resources Team

If the panel are unsure and need further guidance or advice they may speak to the relevant department Director

Educators

  • Education Officer (Youth and Schools)
  • 1 of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (see list below

Activists

  • Community Organising Manager
  • 1 of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (see list below

Note: Each member of the panel can represent one role only; if they are also on the Safeguarding Team there needs to be a different member of the Safeguarding Team present.

The Safeguarding Panel will review the information in the Amnesty International UK Safer Recruitment Safeguarding criminal records Check Risk Assessment Pro-Forma, decide if the individual is able to undertake the activity or role. They will inform the staff member managing the process. All documentation will be securely held in either Human Resources files (Staff and Office Volunteers) or the secure Safeguarding files (Educators and Activists). Specific details of convictions will only be shared with relevant staff as needed.

If the results of a DBS/PVC check impact on an individual’s ability to undertake their substantive role then they will not be eligible for this role. This will be conveyed to them in an appropriate manner by the staff leads for Activists and Educators and through the Human Resources Recruitment processes for Paid staff and Office Volunteers.

If the individual does not participate in the interview process within a reasonable time frame, they will not be eligible for the role.  This will be conveyed to them in an appropriate manner by the staff leads for Activists and Educators and through the Human Resources Recruitment processes for Paid staff and Office Volunteers.

Useful contact details

Designated safeguarding lead for children and deputies: 

AIUK Designated Safeguarding Lead

Kerry Moscogiuri, Director of Supporter Campaigning and Communications, Amnesty International UK
Email: Kerry.Moscogiuri@amnesty.org.uk  
Phone: 0207 033 1605

AIUK Deputy Safeguarding Leads:

Jeni Dixon, Community Organising Manager
Email: Jeni.Dixon@amnesty.org.uk
Phone 0207 033 1716

Alice Sims, Education Officer (Youth and Schools)
Email@ Alice.Sims@amnesty.org.uk
Phone: 0207 033 1597

AIUK Human Resources

Iréné Fufeyin, Head of Human Resources
Email: irene.fufeyin@amnesty.org.uk
Phone 0207 033 1693


Related policies, procedures, processes, forms, guidelines and other resources:

This procedure is driven by the following policies and supported by the following processes, in order to enable our staff to carry out this procedure: 

Policy Statements
Safeguarding Children and Young People
Safeguarding Adults at Risk
Procedures

Who is responsible for this procedure? 

Author/procedure contact:    

AIUK Designated Safeguarding Lead – Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults 

Kerry Moscogiuri (Director of Supporter Campaigning and Communications)

Sign off:    

Amnesty International United Kingdom Section Board of Directors and Amnesty International Charitable Trust Board of Trustees

Approved by/approval level:     

Amnesty International United Kingdom Section Board of Directors and Amnesty International Charitable Trust Board of Trustees

Date effective:     

1st April 2019

Last reviewed or updated:    

New procedure

Frequency of review:     

Annually

Supersedes:

New procedure

To see the appendix please download the PDF below.

Downloads
Safeguarding Criminal Records Checks Policy