Hundreds of thousands of parents will be banned from ferrying children to sports matches next year unless they have had criminal records checks, under new rules.
The clampdown is part of an escalation in child protection policies which will see 11 million adults vetted before they come into contact with children or vulnerable adults.
Under new regulations, parents who are asked by the organisers of a children’s sports team to take other children to sports fixtures like football or cricket matches will have to be vetted.
However, the rules are open to misinterpretation because checks are not necessary if a parent offers to give a lift to a friend’s children to a match without telling the local club.
The new rules are part of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and are due to come into force from October next year at the same time as a new Independent Safeguarding Authority to vet adults.
The guidance explicitly covers “parents – on behalf of e.g. a sports club – transporting others’ children to training sessions or games such as an after school football match, whether requested by the school directly or arranged separately by a group of parents”.
It says: “We will make clear that it is a private arrangement where e.g. parents X and Y arrange to take it in turns to pick up their own and the other’s children, and so not subject to the scheme’s requirements.
“But if the club or school arrange the transport, and for volunteers to do it, then it is regulated activity and the club or school is the regulated activity provider.”
Professor Frank Furedi, whose “Licensed to hug?” report for thinktank Civitas this week triggered a debate about the use of Criminal Records Bureau checks, said he knew of parents who have been rebuked for taking too many children to matches without being vetted.
He said: “I have talked to people who were reprimanded for taking three to four boys to football training. They were told they should have spoken to the manager.
“People can drive their own children to matches – but to drive four kids to the same match you should get CRB-checked.”
The checks were introduced to tighten procedures to protect children after Ian Huntley, a school caretaker, murdered the 10-year-olds Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in Soham in 2002.
However there is concern that the measures have gone too far.
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