Organizations have moral, legal and ethical responsibilities to the people they reach.

This includes members, clients, employees and volunteers. Screening is especially important for organizations that work with vulnerable people. Vulnerable people may include children, people with disabilities and senior adults.

The benefits of screening are:

  • People’s skills and experience are better matched to the needs and opportunities of organizations
  • The quality and safety of volunteer programs in communities are improved
  • The risks and liability for people and organizations are reduced

Screening practices are ongoing and go beyond the selection process. Screening promotes better volunteer matching, improved quality and safety of programs and reduced risks and liability.

The 10 steps of screening give clear guidelines for developing screening policies and practices.

1. Assessment

Identify and assess the risks and essential components of each program and related positions.

2. Position – Assignment

Write meaningful, complete and accurate position descriptions.

3. Recruitment

Develop fair and consistent selection systems and include key information about the organization and position in promotional materials.

4. Application Forms

Request standard information about the applicant and specific information related to the position.

5. Interview

Develop specific questions and a consistent interview format for each position, with accurate and objective written records.

6. References

Check references in accordance with pre-determined position requirements and comply with legislation.

7. Police Checks

Assess the risks associated with the position to determine whether or not a Police Check is required. Review information from a Police Check report as it relates to the requirements of the volunteer assignment. Request a Vulnerable Sector Check, when appropriate, and in accordance with relevant legislation.

8. Orientation and Training

Provide clear information about the mission, values and policies of the organization and the specific tasks, procedures and scope of the position.

9. Support and Supervision

Provide appropriate support and supervision and offer volunteers the ability to give and receive feedback.

10. Follow-up and Feedback Proactively seek feedback from program participants, clients, patients and family members.

The 2012 Edition of the Screening Handbook provides clear guidelines for developing screening policies and practices that reflect an organization’s commitment to safe and meaningful volunteer engagement.