Protection of Freedoms Bill

Memorandum submitted by David Wells (PF 58)

1. I submit these observations as a personal view although they have been formed as part of my role as Lead Countersignatory for Lions Clubs International.

2. Lions Clubs International Multiple District 105 has17,000 members in 900 clubs across the 6 legislative areas of GB.

3. Under our constitution all clubs are autonomous. However at present all CRB checks are returned to a central location and I deal with any issues. It is very rare for any issues to be referred to the individual club. The reason behind this is that most clubs contain family and friends of the applicant.

4. Officers within the organisation tend to change every twelve months, this also means that it becomes difficult to contain sensitive information within a small group.

5. I welcome the scaling down of the legislation. The legislation proposed by the Labour Government would have caused the organisation considerable issues relating to ensuring that every club kept within the law.

6. Under the proposed legislation the amount of members requiring registration will be vastly reduced, as not many of our members have any more then occasional contact with vulnerable persons, and then usually a carer will be present.

7. Our policy for CRB checks is that they are required for one to one unsupervised contact with vulnerable persons.

8. The issue of CRB Certificates being only sent out to the applicant would cause the organisation an administrative nightmare. Whilst I commend the idea behind giving the individual the freedom of when and where to produce the certificate, it is feared that we will have members leaving the organisation rather then produce a certificate to their club. This is because, as previously outlined, they would be unhappy to produce any certificate which contains any history to family/friends. It may also lead to inconsistency in dealing with individual issues, leading to employment decisions being made which may be open to challenge. This part of the proposed legislation leans heavily towards Business Employers or those charities who have a Human Resource Department.

9. Our issue would be best solved by giving the applicant the option of having a copy of the certificate sent to a particular location.. This should be easy enough to achieve by just inserting the registered bodies number in a particular place on the form.

April 2011