What is ‘appropriate supervision’ for volunteers?

What is appropriate supervision?

Legislation which came into force during 2012 and 2013 brought a reduction in the numbers of people applying for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. There is no requirement for volunteers or governors to be subject to a DBS check as long as they are ‘appropriately supervised’.

In September 2012, the Department for Education (DfE) published statutory guidance on the supervision of volunteers, and other workers, who are working with children, where there is no requirement to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate for those people. This guidance covers ‘regulated activity’, which is essentially working involving instructing, or caring for children and young people.

The legal obligations for organisations are:

  • there must be supervision by a person who is in regulated activity;
  • the supervision must be regular and day to day; and
  • the supervision must be ‘reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure the protection of children’.

The supervisor must therefore be someone who has been subject to a DBS check and oversees the work of the volunteer when they are in the school or organisation. This supervision must be at the same level each time the volunteer is in school and should not reduce in quantity or quality.

As ever, the use of the word ‘reasonable’ creates a level of variation in this protocol, which means schools should ensure they have a clear policy of how ‘appropriate supervision’ is implemented in the school. A paragraph to this effect should be included in the organisation’s Safeguarding Policy’.


Photo Credit: quancai
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