The Children’s Commissioner has said everyone supervising children in Britain’s charity shops should undergo a full criminal record check, after HuffPost UK established thousands of volunteers are failing to do so.
None of the major charity retailers HuffPost UK contacted said they conducted Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on all their shop volunteers, after Oxfam told HuffPost it was reviewing whether it could perform the formal reviews on all its 23,000 unpaid helpers.
It comes after a former head of safeguarding at Oxfam said she came across three separate allegations of child abuse by shop staff in a single month in 2015. Oxfam recruits volunteers as young as 14 to work in its stores.
HuffPost this week asked 19 leading charity shop retailers, who collectively have thousands of shops and a workforce of tens of thousands of paid and unpaid staff, many of which recruit under 18s, whether they routinely DBS check volunteers.
Of those who responded, none said they did so.
Michael Hibberd, a solicitor from Clarkslegal, said DBS checks were “straightforward” and free for volunteers.
He said: “Charities exposed to children and vulnerable adults should be asking for the checks.
″Given the nature of charities’ work, most charities should be asking for DBS checks on all their volunteers. Many charities, including Oxfam, have children and vulnerable adults working as volunteers.
“Their charitable activities also involve exposure to the same groups. It is therefore highly likely DBS checks will be required for their staff, including volunteers.”