We asked the team at NSPCC for child protection advice for PTAs seeking a Santa. This is what they said:
'If someone volunteers to play Santa at your Christmas event, they would not be required to undertake a DBS check. It is unlikely that playing Santa meets the criteria for a check. Also, the 'frequency and intensity test' would not be met. This requires the activity to take place at least once a week, or at least four days in a 30-day period, or overnight. Of course, a DBS check is only one part of keeping children safe. We recommend that you:
- Ask the volunteer to provide references and have a short informal interview, so that you can reassure yourself you are happy for them to take on this role.
- Make them aware of your child protection procedures so they know what behaviour is expected.
- Have another person in the grotto when children are present - if possible that person should have had a DBS check.
- Encourage children's parents or carers to accompany them in the grotto.'
For more advice on when a DBS check is needed, visit gov.uk.
Can't find a Santa? Read advice from PTAs on Facebook:
Tracey Morgan-Willcox: 'We use dads and granddads - we had 3 different Santas over a 4 hour shift to give them each a break'
Lorna Boyd: 'What about your local councillor? Ours was happy to help for a few years.'
Deb Cooper: 'Ask local voluntary groups like lions or rotary...'
Sharon Newland: 'You can try Round Table too...'
Sally Shiers: 'I rang the local fire station and sent a text out to the parents - we got sorted!'