Background checks law for Scottish instructors

  • The British Horse Society (Scotland) is now carrying out disclosure checks on registered instructors and volunteers in childcare positions on behalf of equestrian businesses.

    A disclosure check is a referral to a list, held by the Scottish Criminal Records Office or the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in England and Wales, of people unsuitable and therefore disqualified from working with children aged under 18 or vulnerable adults.

    In England and Wales, anyone seeking work in a school is thoroughly vetted beforehand, but disclosure checks are not required by law for people running sporting and leisure activities for children. In Scotland, checks have been law since 10 January for anyone coming into contact with children — including those working in the equestrian industry. Scottish organisations have until 11 April to set up checking systems for new employees and volunteers.

    “This is also available to those already operating in the industry, as retrospective checking [even for those have worked with children for years] will soon be required,” says Helene Mauchlen, development officer for BHS (Scotland).

    The Scottish Equestrian Association (SEA), the governing body of equestrian sports in Scotland, is also authorised to do disclosure checks for anyone working with children among its member bodies. SEA secretary Muriel Colquhoun says that the organisation has the policies in place to ensure volunteers with multiple SEA organisations are checked only once.

    Although not yet law in England and Wales, there will soon be an announcement on disclosure checks for the equestrian industry from the BHS, on behalf of the British Equestrian Federation, according to Pat Gaywood, BHS (England) development officer.

    The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) currently relies on self-certification by new employees; the Pony Club has run a CRB check on all volunteers since 2001.

    The check costs £13.60 in Scotland for professionals but is free for volunteers.

    Anyone unsure as to whether their work constitutes a childcare position can contact BHS (Scotland) (tel: 01764 656334) or the SEA (tel: 01475 540687) for advice.

  • This story was first published in Horse & Hound (24 February, ’05)

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