Important update for CWOs

From 6th June 2013, British Rowing will no longer accept paper applications for Criminal Records/Barred Lists checks as we transition to a new online system for applications. The new system, a range of interim measures and the reasons for making this change now are outlined by British Rowing’s Lead Safeguarding Officer Laura Fieldman:

‘At present, when a Criminal Records/Barred Lists check is completed, two certificates are issued: one for the applicant and one for British Rowing as the Registered Body. We were informed on 23rd May 2013 that from 17th June 2013, DBS will only issue a disclosure to the applicant. British Rowing will no longer receive a copy. Although this announcement was fully anticipated by sports national governing bodies, its timing and in particular the short period of notice for implementation of changes were not in line with what we had been briefed to expect.

‘Unlike previous deadlines given by the DBS, on this occasion, the changes will apply to all applications still being processed on 17th June 2013. This has significant implications for the way British Rowing manages DBS disclosures. As a consequence, and with sincere regret, we are suspending our acceptance of all paper applications for Criminal Records/Barred Lists checks through British Rowing from 6th June 2013, as we transition to the new system outlined below. Correctly and fully completed forms received on or before that date will be submitted in the normal way. Incorrect or incomplete applications will be returned to the relevant CWO with a request for a new online application to be initiated.

‘In addition, on 29th May 2013, we were notified that, with immediate effect, the DBS will be removing certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates (see link below). The DBS has also stated that Question 55 on the old paper application forms (‘Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence or received a caution, reprimand or warning?’) should from now on be read by applicants as: ‘Do you have any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings?’

‘In practice, this means that some information that would have showed up previously on a Disclosure will no longer be present. It also has implications for the way our self-disclosure form WG 2.6 (currently being updated) is worded, and throws even greater emphasis on the need for clubs to follow robust recruitment procedures as outlined in the British Rowing Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy.

Online Applications

‘In order to ensure ongoing compliance with changing legislative and DBS requirements and to provide a quicker and more efficient service to members, British Rowing had already begun the move towards an online application system through TMG CRB, one of the largest and most experienced Criminal Records checks organisations, who also work with a number of other sports governing bodies.  

‘Despite the unexpectedly close launch date, I am pleased to report that TMG CRB has indicated that we will be able to move over to a simple online application service within the next week to 10 days. This will form part of a phased introduction over the coming months, and further information about the new process will be passed on to CWOs as it becomes available.

Interim Measures

‘We are working on a new version of WG 2.6 which we hope will go live on the British Rowing website early next week. WG 2.6 self-declaration forms which were printed out and completed before 29th May will continue to be accepted in the normal way, although we will no longer issue paper DBS application forms to CWOs.  

‘Instead, once our online system goes live, we will e-mail CWOs with instructions, a template ID checklist, and a confidential access code to enable eligible individuals to make an online application. For the time being, CWOs will still be required to submit the paper checklist of ID documentation to British Rowing, as previously. 

‘Any individual who has used a paper application form, and whose certificate is issued on or after 17th June 2013 will be required to send it in to the Lead Safeguarding Officer at British Rowing for assessment. All individuals who have submitted incomplete/incorrect applications or whose requests for application forms have yet to be processed will be asked to make an online application once our web based service is in place. 

In addition to Criminal Records/Barred Lists checks for those whom clubs plan to deploy in Regulated Activity (RA), all clubs should continue to follow the established recruitment procedures for all adults in roles of responsibility with children outlined in Section 5 of the British Rowing Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy.  Further guidance on safe recruitment is available via the Child Protection in Sport (CPSU) website (link below).

‘National Governing Bodies have been put in the position of having to respond to the pace of external events and announcements very quickly and with little notice. I am particularly grateful to TMG CRB and British Rowing’s Head of IT, Edwin Wills, for their enormous efforts in working to ensure that our service to clubs and members, and the move to an online application system, proceeds as painlessly and quickly as practicable. Even so, this is a major change for us all and, inevitably, it is likely to take some time to bed in. We will update clubs, welfare officers and applicants by e-mail and via the British Rowing website to ensure that the transition occurs as smoothly as possible, as well as ensuring that advice and guidance on the new arrangements are available if required.’

Laura Fieldman
Lead Safeguarding Officer
British Rowing

31st May 2013