Facepaint UK Blog

To CRB or not to CRB that is the question?

Mar 14, 2017

I am sure it is not just me, but recently I am being asked if I have a CRB check when agencies approach offering work. Well no, I haven't. I used to have one when I worked as a teacher, but that was five years ago and was held by the school not by me. So on behalf of all face painters I decided to do a bit of research.

First of all what is CRB? It stands for Criminal Records Bureau, which offers access to records held by the police, together with those held by the Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).
Previously, you could apply personally for a "police check" which is a request to have access to any information held about you at your local police station for £10. This is provided for under the data protection act (and this is still on offer - see end of article) but it seems this is limited to your current address.
However, the CRB check is only available to an employer or organisation, which has registered with them and abides by a code of practice due to the nature of the information being requested and held.
You cannot apply for a CRB check for yourself - a self employed person such as a face painter can not apply for a Disclosure (as it is referred to by the CRB) because it is intended for a third party to assess your suitability for a job, and addresses issues specific to that role.
A CRB check that an individual may have a copy of should not be being requested by another party. They do not have access to the questions asked when the check was made, and it is unlikely to have been created with face painting in mind, after all, accountants are usually CRB checked for completely different reasons. If agents or clients want to hire 'CRB checked' face painters they really should make arrangements to do a current check themselves by registering.
The idea that, having had a check because of some other form of employment, the face painter is extra suitable for a job is misleading. Disclosures only reflect the records held the date of issue and are not necessarily 'portable'. See faqs at www.disclosure.gov.uk
It seems that a bandwagon is being jumped on with perhaps insufficient knowledge of what is involved and without regard for the relevance to our activities just because it sounds reassuring. Face painters are very unlikely to be left alone with children, and we are with any one child for less than 10 minutes, usually in the presence of their parent or carer.
There is a danger that some face painters are being quite unreasonably denied employment simply because they really are professional face painters, and do not have other jobs where a CRB check could have been made.
In future I will respond to CRB requests by insisting that we are not left alone with children, a reasonable request as we cannot paint and provide childcare, and without an adult present we cannot be sure that a child has permission to be painted. I will also invite them to register with the CRB to properly carry out checks of their own that relate to face painting if they are still anxious.
However I still don't accept that CRB checks are a valid requirement for face painters, and remember, all CRB checks can carry information, for instance a driving offence or an incorrect arrest that you may not wish to show to agents or organisations, and which are irrelevant to your suitability to work with children.
Just writing this makes me feel I have something to hide, which is not the case, but imagine if I had had an aberrant shoplifting spell in my menopause. It should not stop me working, and it does not give any guidance as to my behaviour with children.
Even if we have a copy of a CRB check bearing our name, I suggest we all respond in a similar way and direct them to this article for information. We will continue to add information and your opinions to this article even in the archive so please send in any experiences or information.
This is an extract from an interesting section in http://www.volunteering.org.uk/missions.php?id=435 on what is involved in being registered as an umbrella organization.

"In some situations, organisations may decide that even if their client group is vulnerable, the risks involved are minimal because of the way that they work.
In order to get Enhanced and Standard Disclosures, organisations need to become registered bodies. Registration forms are available from the CRB on the website or phone number below. To register, organisations will need to:
- pay a £300 fee
- satisfy the CRB that they are entitled to ask for the information under the Exceptions Order of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act - show that it has a code of practice vis-à-vis employing ex-offenders
- show that its confidentiality policy is clear about who will need to know information, how it will be stored, and when it will be destroyed."

If you want to find out more look at the following websites, or contact us at facepaint uk.


The following links are now no longer operational, but you could contact your local Police for the relevant forms for a 'subject access request' Police check on the information held on you.

www.met.police.uk/dataprotection/forms.htm#afor form 3019a - Metropolitan Police

http://www.met.police.uk/dataprotection/forms.htm#b for form 3019b - Police National Computer

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