Informal vetting is better than CRBs

This email from a junior golf coordinator puts the case for informal club vetting of volunteers, rather than relying on CRBs and other box-ticking. It should be adults’ responsibility to look out for children in their club. It’s a good case, very well made…

‘My arguments have always been about the effect the current CRB-checking and
the proposed Vetting and Barring (V & B) schemes are having on the retention
of experienced Club-based volunteers, and the recruitment of suitable new

Most sport is Club-based in this and, indeed, most countries. Within those
Clubs there have always been people who levitate towards volunteering,
usually bringing with them years of experience as a player which they want
to pass on to others, usually youngsters new to their sport.

Established Clubs have an in-built filtering system (although completely
without any scientific basis, and therefore, unquantifiable as our leaders
require) which has worked effectively over the years to prevent most, if not
all, wrong-doing towards the kids. I’m sure that any incidents that might
have happened would have been dealt with summarily behind the Club-house!

Certainly this has worked better than CRB-checking which is only concerned
with the past. V & B will not only be equally ineffective but will also lead
to a loss of these experienced volunteers, who will resent being made to
feel like a criminal, but will make it even more difficult to recruit
appropriate replacements.

Apathy has prevented many people speaking up about this, and in my sport of
golf, in particular, very few are willing to stick their heads above the
parapets for fear of having their ‘cards marked’ or having their paths
muddied on the way to the top, i.e., Club Captain.

Golf’s leaders have themselves been unwilling to speak up for their members
and have just rolled over and accepted whatever Sport England has told them
about Safeguarding. The reason for this is clear – golf is one of the
government’s ‘key sports’ and, as such, is eligible for funding through
Sport England on the condition that it accepts, without question,
CRB-checking and V & B. I question whether the game needs the funding, as
the net gain, once the admin is taken into consideration, is not worth the
problems the safeguarding measures are creating.’