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21/12/2010
Shhh… Keep it under your hat, but we’re about to revolutionise CRBs for the self-employed


We are currently working on a confidential project that could blow a great hole in a ludicrous law, and finally enable anyone to make safer decisions on whom to hire to work in a sensitive environment, with children, or with vulnerable adults. Suffice it to say that we are in close discussions with the CRB at the moment, and hope to have a positive response within a few weeks. We won’t bore you with the technicalities but, as the law currently stands, self-employed people are not able to access CRB checks. They can’t take one out to show potential clients; and clients are not allowed to conduct a check themselves.

What does this mean in real terms?

Consider this: You are looking for a private maths tutor for your daughter and see an advert in a shop window. Mr Smith is a maths tutor with 20 years’ teaching experience. You call him and meet up. He shows you his qualifications and photos of him teaching in as school. He seems nice enough, and you ask about a CRB.

"I wish I could show you my CRB check, but the Government won’t allow me to take one,” he says. "I would love to put your mind at ease, but I can’t.” You hire him.

One month later, you learn that he is, in fact, a convicted child abuser who has been to prison for five years and is banned from teaching. The CRB system will ensure that he never teaches at a school again, but as a self-employed sole trader, the system made it impossible for you to check his suitability.

In fact, you cannot check the suitability of any self-employed contractor who you are allowing access to your child – a nanny, tutor, babysitter, party entertainer or whomever.

And who finds this most frustrating: the self-employed sole trader themselves. They call us every day, pleading to be checked. They are fed up of having to explain to parents – together with companies and other potential clients - that they want to give them proof that they are not a risk, but the law bans them from doing so.

We’ll say this again: The law bans the self-employed from giving parents peace of mind and bans parents from making the safest decisions regarding their child’s safety.

That is just plain crazy and the reason we are working on a solution. Hopefully – and we say this with all our fingers and toes crossed – hopefully we have struck upon a novel solution that will FINALLY enable the self-employed sole trader access to CRB checks within the current legal framework.

And if we are given the green light, everyone will benefit. Wish us luck…