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Date: Thursday 8 October 2009

Voluntary work with children threatened as government cuts disclosure agency

Staff at a body set up after the Dunblane massacre face the sack as government funding is to be cut to less than half that needed, UNISON said today.

Staff at the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS), set up by the Scottish Government on a recommendation by Lord Cullen's report on the massacre, were told on Monday that they have until Friday (9 October) to opt for voluntary redundancy or face compulsory redundancies.

The body, which is run by Volunteer Development Scotland (VDS) and funded directly by the Scottish Government enables voluntary organisations that work with children to register and get disclosure checks on volunteers and employees, free.

UNISON said that they had been told by the Chief Executive, George Thomson, that government funding had been dramatically cut - leaving the body 115,000 short for 2009/10.

James Douglas, Stirling Branch Secretary of UNISON, who represent the staff at CRBS said:- "This is a disgraceful cut by the Scottish Government, which will hit both dedicated staff and valuable services to our kids. Providing such a vital agency with less than half of their required funding threatens most of the staff with either voluntary or compulsory redundancy. If this happens the work of CRBS will immediately start to pile up, and eventually voluntary organisations - especially small ones - working with children will be unable to get volunteers or staff checked, they won't be able to use them, and in many cases will have to close."

The union is also questioning the management of the crisis by VDS. James Douglas said "To pressure staff to take decisions on their whole future in less than five days, to impose a pay freezes whilst still engaging expensive consultants shows the wrong priorities. Before rushing headlong into compulsory redundancies CRBS and VDS need to point out to government the implications of their cuts, and to talk to staff unions about alternatives."

ENDS

Note for editors: The Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS), is run by Volunteer Development Scotland, and directly funded by the Scottish Government. It provides a service to voluntary sector bodies by processing free checks on volunteers and employees to Disclosure Scotland, allowing these bodies to avoid expensive charges, maintaining a register of organisations too small to register direct with Disclosure Scotland, and providing advice and assistance. They have 29 staff based in Stirling.

For Further Information Please Contact: James Douglas, Branch Secretary, Stirling UNISON 07826 903 559(m) e-mail : douglasjs@stirling.gov.uk John Keggie, Scottish Organiser 07958 121 113(m) Chris Bartter, Communications officer 07715 583 729 (m)

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