For decades adult volunteers within SCOUTS South Africa have been serving youth and children nationwide. Together we have been working hard to ensure that our Scout Groups, activities and events are safe places for young members and volunteers.
We have Safe from Harm and Child Protection procedures in place and we are now upping the ante even more! From now on SCOUTS South Africa requires all of us warranted or appointed adults, parent helpers and Rovers – older than 18 years of age – to get a Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance before we may work with youth members within the Scout Movement.
This will be familiar to some of our Regions, who already use Police Clearances in some of their screening processes. While the National Office continues to vet adult volunteers against the National Child Protection database as required by the Children’s Act (No.38 of 2005) as part of our appointments procedure, the lack of responsiveness from the Department of Social Development has resulted in SSA taking the decision to implement the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance as a requirement nationwide. Currently we are in consultation with all Regional teams to determine the most practical processes to implement this decision, which also meets the varied needs of our members.
Let’s show our membership and the communities in which we operate that in Scouting we practice transparent governance and that we are leaders that put child safety first!
What does this mean for me as a volunteer?
SCOUTS South Africa’s CEO is the designated Compliance Officer for the Association. A dedicated email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – has been created where the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance are to be sent to and only the CEO will have access to this email address. Should there be any alerts or any notifications out of the ordinary, they will be dealt with on a case by case basis by the CEO, who will inform and liaise with the respective Regional Commissioner (RC) accordingly.
As an existing member:
All adult members have until the 30th June 2022 to submit their Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance to SSA’s CEO via email@example.com.
As a new member:
Once a new member has completed the Application for Adult Membership (AAM) and submitted it for processing, a Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance needs to be applied for.
The Region will be responsible for ensuring their members all have Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance certificates. However, this may be delegated to the SGL in each group to ensure compliance and control. The Region has a period of 6 months to ensure that new members have obtained their Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance certificate from date of completing and submitting the AAM form.
Please note that the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance certificates should be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nobody else should have access to the documents but the CEO, the accredited agency – if one is used – and the person who it belongs to.
How do I apply for a Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance Certificate?
- An accredited verification agency that performs the criminal clearance checks, OR
- The closest Police Station who carry out police clearances.
ACCREDITED AGENCY AS PROPOSED BY SSA
We have engaged with Nevetec, a reputable accredited verification agency, who are supplying SSA with 3 programme licenses and will be training volunteers and staff to input the required information onto the system, where after the agency would verify the information. Nevetec has a 48 hours turnaround time to do a Criminal Clearance should everything be in order. If any alerts are noted, it will take longer.
The cost of the Criminal Clearance, when applying through the Nevetec partnership is R150 per person, which is a discounted rate from the other commercially offered services.
Without our volunteers who give up their time and resources the Scout Movement would not be able to offer Scouting to our young people. Therefore – where possible – the Scout Group should cover the costs of the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance verifications. If the Group does not have the financial resources, they should consult with the individual volunteer regarding partial or full payment of the fees by the individual. Every avenue should be explored before requesting the individual volunteer to pay the full fee.
If Regions/ Districts or Groups opt to use the service offered by SSA in partnership with Nevetec, they need to coordinate the payment or R150 per individual via the National Office with the CEO. Once payment has been received by the National Office, a date will be set up to process the applications.
We will also be encouraging Regions / Districts to set up bulk application events, either as separate sessions or along with existing planned training courses, activities or events. The booking and payment for such application events will ideally be set up in Scouts.Digital, to make administration as simple as possible. We would also like to ensure that these events are well attended, to make good use of our volunteer data capturers’ time and travel to any such locations. Please keep an eye out for further Regional communications in this regard.
POLICE STATIONS OR OTHER ACCREDITED AGENCIES
Members may utilise any accredited verification agency or police station and send their results directly to email@example.com. Police Stations offer a service with a turnaround time of approximately 4 months and upwards.
Should you wish to use the Police Station or another accredited agency, please sign the indemnity form and email it, together with your Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance results to the dedicated email address provided? Find the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance verification indemnity form HERE.
POLICE CLEARANCE FROM OTHER SOURCES
Several members are employed in sectors that require Police Clearances for its employees. These Police Clearances / Criminal Clearance will be acceptable providing that they have been done by an accredited agency. The member can forward the clearance to the National Scout Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safeguarding of confidential information
Due to the nature of the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance, there will be strict confidentiality. Once the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance has been verified at the National Scout Office,
- If it is a hard copy (paper) this will be destroyed.
- If it is a soft copy the email will be permanently deleted from the system.
- A note will be made on Scouts.Digital confirming that the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance has been completed, which will only be visible to the CEO, Adult Support, SGL and DC. The outcome of the Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance will not be visible.
- If any irregularities were picked up, a note will be made on SD, which will only be visible to the CEO. This permits verification in the event an Adult volunteer relocates within South Africa.
Do I need to renew my Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance once SSA has it on record?
Ongoing renewal of a Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance will not be required. SSA does however have the right to request one (whether additional or not) from any member at any time.
Should you leave the Movement and return a few years later, you will be required to submit a recent Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance together with your AAM Form.
Implementation of bulk verification actions
Regions will be creating opportunities for Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance information gathering to take place as part of our partnership with Nevetec. Keep an eye out for Regional communication in this regard. The following process will apply:
The member will have to present themselves at the event / opportunity facilitated by SCOUTS South Africa. Every member – be it a new, warranted or appointed member, Rover or parent helper – will have to be there in person and bring along their Identity Document (ID).
Please note that when the fingerprint scan is done and the information entered into the system, the information goes directly to Nevetec. The person collecting the data has no access to the results as they are sent within 48 hours by Nevetec directly to the Compliance Officer – SSA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – at email@example.com.
At each event, all members and prospective members will be required to sign a register agreeing that SSA may process their information. Find the Register for Nevetec verifications HERE. The Region will have to nominate a “responsible person” to do the register and send it through to the dedicated email address after each event.
SCHOOL / CHURCH / NGO GROUPS
If you are involved in Scout Groups established either by a School, Church or an NGO, there are often existing requirements for teachers, employees or volunteers to have a valid Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance in place. Where these are already in place, they will be accepted. If not, the School, Church, NGO or sponsoring authority should make the necessary arrangement to have your Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance done or join in with any Regional or District arrangements for Police Clearance / Criminal Clearance to be completed.
Yours in Scouting,
SCOUTS South Africa