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Norfolk Community Transport Association

NCTA can provide free DBS checks for volunteer drivers

The DBS checks will be provided through Norfolk County Council using their online process.

Its really easy to set up an account with the online system, you just need to email ptg@norfolk.gov.uk saying that you would like to take advantage of the free DBS checks offered by NCTA. Norfolk County Council will then send you a couple of agreements and provide you with a user name and password for the system.

Once you have your user name and password you can use the system yourself to input volunteer driver details and request a DBS check. You can also check progress with applications on the site and it's much quicker too, with the average turn around normally only a week.

The relevant officers at NCC who deal with DBS checks and can answer any queries are:

 Liz Cunningham      liz.cunningham@norfolk.gov.uk 01603 224366

Simon Atkins            simon.atkins@norfolk.gov.uk 01603 222951

Should Community Transport Operators be DBS Checked?

Discussions have taken place at NCTA’s networking events about the issue of volunteer drivers being DBS checked (formerly CRB).

The following is taken from the Department for Health’s publication ‘Regulated Activity (Adults)’.  ‘Regulated activity’ (adults) as defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 from 10th September 2012.  The Act defines types of activity that are regulated, irrespective of the type of organisation where the activity takes place.  These are the bits that relate to driving or ‘conveying’ as they call it.

Conveying

1.         Any drivers and any assistants, who transport an adult because of their age, illness or disability to or from places where they have received, or will be receiving, health care [see below], relevant personal care or relevant social work, are in regulated activity. The driver does, or the person assists in, such conveying on behalf of an organisation and for the purpose of enabling the adult to receive services.

2.         In addition, hospital porters, Patient Transport Service drivers and assistants, Ambulance Technicians and Emergency Care Assistants who transport an adult because of their age, illness or disability to or from places where they have received, or will be receiving, health care, relevant personal care or relevant social work, are also in regulated activity.

3.         Conveying does not include licensed taxi drivers[1] or licensed private hire drivers, and does not include trips taken for purposes other than to receive health care, personal care or social work (for example, trips for pleasure are excluded).

Examples:

1.         A person who volunteers to take an adult to and from their GP appointment on behalf of a community group is in regulated activity. It would not matter if that person knows, or is friends with, the adult they were taking to the appointment if the conveying is on behalf of the group.

2.         A friend who takes their neighbour to a hospital appointment would not be in regulated activity, as this is a personal relationship.

Extracts from Schedule 4 REGULATED ACTIVITY

Part 2 REGULATED ACTIVITY RELATING TO VULNERABLE ADULTS

(1)        Each of the following is a regulated activity relating to vulnerable adults:

(a) The provision to an adult of health care by, or under the direction or supervision of, a health care professional,

(b) The provision to an adult of relevant personal care,

(c) The provision by a social care worker of relevant social work to an adult, who is a client or potential client,

(d) The provision of assistance in relation to general household matters to an adult who is in need of it by reason of age, illness or disability,

(e) Any relevant assistance in the conduct of an adult’s own affairs,

(f) The conveying by persons of a prescribed description in such circumstances as may be prescribed of adults, who need to be conveyed by reason of age, illness or disability,

(g) Such activities—

(i) Involving, or connected with, the provision of health care or relevant personal care to adults, and

(ii) Not falling within any of the above paragraphs, as are of a prescribed description.

 

(2)        Health care includes all forms of health care provided for individuals, whether relating to physical or mental health and also includes palliative care and procedures that are similar to forms of medical or surgical care but are not provided in connection with a medical condition.

What this means for NCTA members

The definition of regulated activity clearly includes driving people to and from health appointments and social care appointments and activities.  Therefore any driver who is taking people on these types of journey should be DBS checked.

There are no rules about how often you should have drivers checked but organisations such as Norfolk County Council require their drivers and those from contracted organisations to be done every 3 years.  This is seen to be good practice.

If you make any requests to the Disclosure and Barring Service itself, or ask any questions about getting checks done for your organisation, you should make it clear that you are providing health journeys.  And you should make sure that any individual seeking advice has made this clear.  If the person asking the question has not provided the correct information then the answer they receive is likely to be misleading.

Who can do the checking?

I think that one area where there is some confusion is in asking if your organisation can do DBS checks.  The answer to this will be ‘no’ because only certain organisations, known as ‘umbrella bodies’, that do large numbers of checks can be set up to do the processing.  NCTA’s offer is for you to have your drivers checked through Norfolk County Council’s system.  Any request you make for clarification about whether or not your drivers should be checked should make clear that the checking will be done by Norfolk County Council, which is an Umbrella Body for the purposes of the disclosure of criminal records under the Police Act 1997

How NCTA can help

Don’t forget, you can get your volunteer drivers DBS checked through us free.  The system is quick and easy to use and volunteers can now have one check done, rather than having to have a new one each time they volunteer for a new organisation.

I know some of you still have concerns about the process but I hope this briefing helps clarify the rules and good practice.

 NS/28.7.14



[1] Any taxi driver contracted to take children to school or vulnerable adults to health appointments is required to be checked.