DBS Choices – Report researched and compiled between 2012 and 2013 AGMs - The aim was to give members three choices for the provision of “Disclosure and Barring Service” for AUHS Healers - However the discussions uncovered some surprising and somewhat upsetting news SOurced by National Secretary  -

 

All the information below has taken some time to carefully gain and set out trying to ensure that AUHS get the right information from the right organisations regarding DBS, because of its great importance regarding legal administration within Companies and Charities across the UK, we needed to ensure we fully understand what we need to achieve to be in keeping with the changes from CRBs to DBS.  This hasn’t been an easy path considering the rules we were told are different for Scotland, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, but knowing there were three main aims in the minds of members described below, I was enabled me to ask the right questions:-

 

1.    To chose a company costing members and AUHS as little as possible

2.    To chose a company providing as good a service as possible to reduce internal administration burden

3.    To gain DBS certification for AUHS Healers increasing confidence in our Healers and lending greater respect for AUHS within other larger Spiritualist organisations

As you will read, the gaining of DBS is far more involved and vastly more expensive than was first anticipated, it involves the holding of qualifications outside of those provided by BAHA and AUHS.  So most if not all of our members in fact would not be eligible for DBS.  However, when you read the costs you might not be so sad that as a Spiritualist Healer you can’t get your DBS.  Please read this report in its entirety so that you fully understand what I’m talking about.

All this doesn’t mean that AUHS has no responsibility with regard to keeping our membership free of persons with criminal records.  Just the contrary, my findings put even more pressure upon our Churches and Groups when inviting their members to join AUHS as healers or even to stand on their Committee’s. It is only through good recruitment, training and management practices that we can maintain our 100% record of safety within our Association. Sadly, it is obvious that alternative medicine and Spiritual Healing has been relegated to the sidelines once again unable to stand equally with the chosen qualified Alternative and conventional medical organisations.

But I leave you to make your own decisions when you read my report.  It’s obvious that if you wanted to go professional you would have to indulge in further very expensive medical studies extra to what AUHS and BAHA can provide.  I do know that CNHS provide an NVQ qualification which might qualify you for a DBS but you would need to contact CNHC personally for their advice.  AUHS is a recognised organisation with CNHC “Complimentary and Natural Healing Council” by the way, so our members are entitled to join them providing they have completed the extra NVQ training with BAHA training material. I have set out DBS choices first giving members a clear understanding of what impact it would have upon their yearly fees. Lastly I have set out the most surprising information given to me via e-mail discussion quoting their own written words in explanation of their view of the lowly status of AUHS.

Reminder of previous discussion with members

Information here has been sourced by National Secretary and President on behalf of AUHS taking forward discussions already entered into during last year’s AGM with respect to the original vote carried almost unanimously by all Healers present during the AGM 2012 agreeing that all AUHS Healers should gain a CRB within one year of joining AUHS giving healing members time to save up for their CRB to protect AUHS from paedophiles’ and other unsavoury characters it was also agreed at that time that the enhanced CRB should be secured covering disclosure of any criminal offences barring member or applicant from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Ministers -

It should be remembered that this also includes AUHS Ministers who may not be healers must secure a DBS because obviously they would be working with children and possibly visiting vulnerable adults in their own homes.

 

Affect upon AUHS Membership Fees

 

This is likely be a major shock to all Healers within AUHS just as it was for Executives when we have realised the major impact upon our memberships both for existing Healers and new applicants. Even though Executives have always tried to keep fees down to minimum in keeping with our none-profit identity, the law is tightening their grip upon Volunteer organisations and mainstream organisations alike by bringing into force further protections for the public and legal obligations for governing bodies. Any choice discussed below will have impact upon Healers membership fees, new applicants and Ministers as DBS will be managed each year and AUHS must therefore pay a fee to whichever company is chosen. Although our members are Volunteers in a Charity we couldn’t get DBS free of charge because we must secure the higher certificate costing £44.00.

 

The major problem facing AUHS legally is if any organisation employees or Volunteers could work with children or vulnerable adults that organisation must require individual DBS from their Volunteers or Employees.  An individual can’t request one without being part of a recognised organisation or profession and they can’t do it themselves.

When would this have come into force?

If AUHS had decided to go down this route as we had previously been led to believe we must chose one of them by law. It was envisaged that the new fees would come into force after AGM 2013 and the first members to register for DBS would be those whose renewal fees were due from October 2013.  It would have taken around one full year to register all our Healers in this way.  However it would have made the full process far easier to manage and perhaps less of a shock to cope with when taken over the year.  It was likely that Healer Leaders would have had a new duty to perform for their Healers in that they would have had to register them on-line and then inform Executives of registration so that Executives could complete DBS Registration as an Organisation.

However all this has now become a mute point.  Since for the foreseeable future it would appear that the authorities have advised AUHS are not eligible for DBS certification at any level simply because we do not fall under one of the groups which they have indicated and I have described in this report.

My findings are nevertheless are being discussed here simply to tell members provisions had been put into place in advance of the September AGM to enable the DBS process to proceed smoothly and quickly on your behalf and to advice members what they need to do if they wish to become a professional Healer. Of course if any of our members do fall under one of the Governments accepted bodies as described below and they feel they might be referred to a patient by a GP for Spiritual Healing or other healing that they are already qualified and insured to undertake they should contact the President or other Executive to discuss gaining a DBS. If they already have a DBS because of working with a company or organisation outside of AUHS please also inform us and this will be added to your membership records to your benefit.

However, in light of information gained below you are talking about great and sweeping changes involving accredited mainstream training of all Healers within AUHS to make this happen and lift AUHS out of the dark ages and shady areas that because of suspicion many professional bodies put us under.  For most of our members, I can’t see that happening at the moment.  Even though the gentleman I made my discussions with totally agreed with me when I said Spiritualists held an important place within our communities providing a valuable place to safely meet and make new friends, especially for the lonely and the elderly who may not be as mobile as they once were but still have important life knowledge they want to share and the will to undertake courses to prove their place within their church or group and uphold their belief in Spiritual Healing that proves a true sense of wellbeing is not all medicine and pills.  I fully explained to him we are certified Healers through BAHA and all are insured through BALENS but neither of these organisations fall under one of the governments training or umbrella bodies and therefore are not recognised and he regretfully informed me we are not eligible and indeed can’t apply for DBS certification. There was one shining light in his dark explanation however ‘if a healer is referred to a patient by a GP they must hold a DBS certificate’ by which I believe he meant they could then apply for a DBS certificate.

At this point I have to say please don’t get too down-hearted AUHS are still very much a vital service within our communities and we fully intend to continue into the next twenty years with support of our members of course, the powers that be are not saying we can’t exist they are just saying they want us to gain more recognised qualifications before we will be fully accepted by main-stream medicine and who is to say that won’t happen in the future. This should simply spur us on to get the recognition we all deserve within our NHS organisations and Government bodies because Spiritual Healing we all know is very real.  It is in no way ‘entertainment’.   This might mean a change towards some form of future certificated training possibly a complement to BAHAs Spiritual training.  But that will be long into AUHS future I am sure, maybe when we have more funds and members to make it happen. For now enjoy what we do have and protect AUHS by being sensible with our recruitment management and training policies. 

AUHS have sourced three DBS companies for comparison as follows:-

Outlining fees for DBS -

Option One:-                   GVOC (A Gateshead based charity support)

Option Two:-                   Home Office DBS Checking Service (Liverpool based)

Explaining why AUHS are not entitled to apply for DBS

uCheck Group Ltd – an On-line Company advised we don’t need to try to get a DBS and are not in fact entitled to apply for DBS

Option one

GVOC - Membership -

 

Fees

New healing Members (In their first year, OAPs £5.00 less) -

The fee for new Probationers membership is currently ‘£60.00’

£44.00 – One off DBS payment (you only ever need one DBS which covers any organisation) -

£65.00 – To AUHS – Breakdown:-

                   £ 10.00 AUHS yearly membership fee

                   £ 10.00 GVOC yearly Admin fee

                   £ 15.00 Healing Insurance to BAHA

                   £ 25.00 BAHA Healing Manual & AUHS Welcome Book

                   £   5.00 Probationer Healers membership badge

                   £109.00 - Total

Existing members will also see a huge one off increase and a smaller yearly fee increase when they next renew their membership fees with AUHS as follows:-

 

Existing Full paying healing members (OAPs £5.00 less)

Full yearly membership Renewal fee is currently ‘£25.00’ would need to increase to ‘£35.00’ as above

£44.00 – One off payment for DBS

£35.00 – increased yearly renewal fee

£79.00 - Breakdown:-

 

Full paying healing members after their first year including existing members (OAPs £5.00 less)

£35.00 – To AUHS total – Breakdown:-

£10.00 -  Membership fee to AUHS

£15.00 -  Healing Insurance to BAHA

£10.00  Admin fee for GVOC

£35.00

Ministers: Would have needed to add an extra £10.00 for their Ministerial membership with AUHS £45.00 if they are also a healer and £35.00 if they are not a Healer.

 

£10.00 – AUHS yearly membership fee

                   £15.00 - Healing Insurance to BAHA

                   £44.00 – One off payment for DBS application

                   £10.00 – GVOC Admin Fee

                   £79.00

Ministers: Would have needed to add an extra £10.00 for their Ministerial membership with AUHS £85.00 if they are also a healer and £74.00 if they are not a Healer.

Option Two

The Home Office “DBS” Checking Service - Already discussed during March and June Executive meetings.  Home Office DBS offers a 24/7 365 days a year checking service so AUHS need never worry about none disclosure of a paedophile within healing membership of AUHS. The fees are very much the same as Option one above, there isn’t any extra advantage from using Option Two as far as fees go, except that they will monitor DBS records on our behalf 24/7 365 days a year (with option one, AUHS have to do this for ourselves).

 

uCheck

It is not an actual option and this is the most interesting reply which I received from Mr Mike Griffiths (CEO) uCheck Ltd. (E-mail: mike.griffiths@mgcare.co.uk) He asked for quite a bit of information about AUHS and our healing training and regulatory bodies and then he used his own contacts to ask if AUHS actually must have our healers DBS checked.  The short answer is “no” apparently because AUHS are not regulated under one of a number of key umbrella bodies this means we ‘can’t’ actually apply for DBS and more over we are ‘not’ entitled to apply for one. Quoted here are a number of e-mails which Mr Griffiths received in reply to his questions on our behalf.  If this is true, then there must be quite a number of charity organisations gaining DBS and paying for DBS when actually they shouldn’t have applied in the first place.  The reason being the process is quite confusing and should be better explained by the powers that be. 

 

Mr Griffiths e-mailed Mr Kenny Skeaping, RB Account Manager, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS),

 “We have received an enquiry from an alternative medicine group (AUHS). Please could you confirm that they are treated the same as NHS staff for Disclosures”?

 

Mr Skeaping’s reply was  - “If the individual(s) providing the alternative medicine health care is regulated    by one of the following professional regulators then they are in Regulated Activity (RA):

 

General Medical Council

General Dental Council

          General Optical Council

          General Osteopathic Council

          General Pharmaceutical Council

          Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

          Nursing & Midwifery Council

          Health Professions Council

Alternatively, if individuals receiving ‘treatment’ are referred for alternative medicine by a health care professional (e.g. a GP) then this can be considered to be health care provision under the direction of a health care professional and again would be RA.”

Mr Griffiths e-mailed Mr Skeaping and asked to further clarify his first reply

“So a spiritual healer, who has not been referred by the patients doctor but sees children on their own for healing purposes, does not need and cannot have a check?

Could you just clarify this for us please”. 

                Mr Skeaping confirmed  - “If they are not a regulated health care professional (which they do not appear to be), or carrying out work under the direction of a health care professional (which they do not appear to be doing), then they are not in RA due to the activity taking place and there does not appear to be eligibility for any level of DBS check.” 

Therefore it does appear that even if AUHS want to secure DBS for our healing members we aren’t actually entitled to apply because we are not regulated by the above authorities. A bit of a kick in the teeth really considering our healers can still heal children and we can’t get DBS to prove the integrity of our Spiritual Healers”. Plain and simple, cut and dried saves AUHS a great deal of worry and members a boat load of money if this is true and after my extensive discussions as per above I’m inclined to believe it is true.

In fact only if an individual member has been referred by a GP to help a patient must they first be DBS checked by law.  If you don’t expect to be referred you don’t need a DBS certificate.  The minimum age for anyone to be eligible for DBS testing surprisingly is only 16. 

That doesn’t mean that AUHS or our churches and groups don’t have to worry about protecting our members and clients and everyone within AUHS against the criminal element.  Just to the contrary – AUHS must be very vigilant in its recruitment, training and every day managerial practices.  Volunteers (or staff) have to be regularly monitored and any hint of trouble has to be reported to the Executive, researched and if necessary even referred to the police.  So the Government are not relaxing their controls or regulations laid on small voluntary organizations like our own, they are passing more responsibility upon our shoulders.  We must not employ anyone with a criminal record and must make every reasonable effort to ensure they don’t have a criminal record when they enroll upon our courses or just join AUHS as an ordinary member. The onus is upon the committee’s of our Affiliates who manage their own members to be equally vigilant and to act quickly if a problem or possible problem should come to light.  Again, even though we were advised by the Home Office that this would not be enough to protect us in court, we must fall back on BAHA’s Declaration signed every time a Healer renews their membership declaring there are no pending claims against them and they have not committed a criminal offence in the last year.

It might be AUHS need to update our rules and guidelines and enrollement practices to lift our protections to a point that might be accepted by the authorities should something go wrong.  One very important already existing support of course is the Standards of Healing laid down by BAHA.  Keeping accurate healing records becomes all the more important.  Even possibly keeping informal volunteer and staff records, for example a record of which healers and committee members were in attendance on that day supporting your activities on that day.  Who it was that carried out given tasks and what tasks still need to be carried out etc.  In effect a daily or weekly Rota so that your volunteers know what they are being asked to do and when.  But also so that you can see where your church/group might need better support and how your valuable resources could be better used. 

DBS is a very major change which we still can’t ignore and although in a way it feels like a relief and we have saved a huge amount of money and time and possible loss of members because we haven’t had to take on the DBS at this time.  By the same token it’s rather a slap in the face by the authorities who obviously don’t seem to value or recognize what Spiritualists provide within our communities.  

Being reflective of a paragraph above and at the very minimum it might only be necessary for us to collect together a register of the few AUHS healing members who might be referred by a GP to help a patient ensuring they are DBS certified.  I think again the Government has made us the poor cousins within the world of Alternative Medicine.