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Working with children

Following an enquiry regarding the changes introduced under the Protection of Freedoms Act (which affects England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, but not Ireland or Scotland) regarding Father Christmas, I am providing the following guidance.

The new definition of Regulated Activity relating to children is set out in three parts by The Protection of Freedoms Act. A person can be in Regulated Activity because of what they do (activities), where they work (establishments) or who they are (specified position).

The new definition of regulated activity (i.e. work that a barred person must not do) in relation to children comprises, in summary:

  1. Unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;
  2. Work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places'), with opportunity for contact: e.g. schools, children's homes, childcare premises. Not work by supervised volunteers;
  3. Relevant personal care; care, for example washing or dressing; or health care by or supervised by a professional;
  4. Registered child minding and foster parents;
  5. Moderating a public electronic interactive communication service likely to be used wholly or mainly by children, carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30-day period.

Work under (1) or (2) is regulated activity only if done ‘regularly' - if carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30-day period.

Scenario 1

A member plays Father Christmas in a school where a member of the teaching staff is supervising the activity.

Scenario 2

A member plays Father Christmas in a school which does not provide supervision by a member of the teaching staff.

Scenario 3

A member plays Father Christmas in a Grotto (closed off environment [indoor or outdoor] which may or may not have windows) provided by a commercial or voluntary organisation (e.g. Garden Centre; Shop; Shopping Centre; etc.).

Scenario 4

A member plays Father Christmas in an open plan area (indoors or outdoors) provided by a commercial or voluntary organisation (e.g. Garden Centre; Shop; Shopping Centre; event run by a voluntary organisation; etc.) which is in use by families.

Scenario 5

A member plays Father Christmas travelling around a town or housing estate in a vehicle dressed up as a sleigh - with other volunteers collecting donations from families.

David Colville - MD Data Protection Officer
October 2012

[edit - updated 19-11-2014 for DBS]
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

DBS is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Home Office.