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Beyond Police Checks: The Definitive Volunteer and Employee Screening Guidebook

Beyond Police Checks is a comprehensive “how-to” manual on screening paid and unpaid staff in positions of trust. This definitive resource helps employers understand screening responsibilities and provides specific details on how to carefully choose screening methods matched to the requirements of any given position - paid, stipended, or volunteer. Full of practical tips, helpful cautions, and fully reproducible forms and checklists, this comprehensive guidebook will lead you step-by-step to increased screening effectiveness and program safety. Learn about more than 14 different screening devices, including interviews, reference checks, qualifications checks, police records checks, drivers’ records checks, credit bureau checks, performance assessment, medical testing, and home visits. Don’t wake up one morning to a tragedy and find yourself wishing you had paid more attention to the escalating liabilities and higher standards of employee and volunteer screening.

Linda Graff And Associates Inc. 1999. Spiral bound, 150 pages, 6 1/2" x 9".

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Beyond Police Checks... Review

by Mary Merrill, consultant, trainer    www.merrillassociates.com

Linda Graff’s book, Beyond Police Checks: The Definitive Volunteer and Employee Screening Guidebook, is a wonderful resource for every volunteer manager. Those new to the field will find the information invaluable, and long-term practitioners will find new, interesting tools and approaches to assist with the ever-present task of screening volunteers.

The first half of the book lays the foundation through a general discussion of the principles of screening and includes such topics as screening board and committee volunteers, screening of short-term positions, and screening on-line volunteers. Linda does a excellent job of identifying the challenges of maintaining the balance between job demands and risks in the screening process, between the well-being of clients and the rights of volunteer applicants; between our need for information and candidates’ right to privacy; and between the need for detail and a process that is too complex. Building on the concept that "the nature and extent of screening should be determined by the characteristics and demands of the work to be done"(Graff, p.49), Linda identifies a three-step position assessment process to help administrators determine the most appropriate and effective screening tools. "The thoroughness of the screening process should increase with the demands of the position, including the vulnerability of the client, the nature and requirements of the tasks to be assigned, and the intensiveness of the relationship between the staff and the client." (Graff, p. 57)

The second half of the book is devoted to fourteen widely-used screening tools, from written volunteer position descriptions, to reference checks and credit bureau checks, to home visits and probationary periods. There is even a section titled "Gut Feelings and Intuition." Linda has developed two "bar graph exercises" that this reviewer found interesting and practical. Both help to quickly and graphically highlight useful, relevant information and aid in the screening protocol decision making. They may also be useful tools when working with upper management. "If you find yourself in a position of having to explain or defend your screening protocol to a supervisor or board of directors and, in particular, if you are meeting some resistance to your recommended degree of thoroughness in screening, these two graphs can be valuable educational instruments." (Graff, p. 129)

This is a book filled with practical, useful information. It is easy to read, with an innovative set of icons that facilitates quick scanning for critical points, practical tips, or educational material of particular relevance to senior administrators. Readers are encouraged to copy, adapt and use all samples and checklists. Topics range from "why" and "how" to strategies for saying "no" and "re-screening."

Linda understands the changing nature of volunteer work and our workplaces. As we strive to deal with the critical social problems of our day, both staff and volunteers are assuming increasing responsibilities. Volunteer managers must protect clients and volunteers, and be ever mindful of both legal and ethical requirements. "The challenge for each administrator of human resources is to select the right constellation of devices, based on the bona fide requirements of each position that, in combination, generate reasonably sound and defensible screening and placement decisions."(Graff, p. 146). This book makes the challenge a little easier for each of us.

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Beyond Police Checks Readers' Comments

"Best $25 I've ever spent. Linda Graff addresses the delicate balance between the need to protect the people we serve, our employees and volunteers and the need for an efficient, effective way to recruit, screen and place people. Clear, easy-to-understand and packed with useful information." --Laurie E. Snyder, Public and Community Relations Consultant

'Beyond Police Checks' does exactly that ... it goes beyond the basic principles associated with sound police checking procedures and explores some of the more fundamental concepts of client protection, volunteer rights and organisational responsibilities. This book is easy to read, understandable and a great asset to any organisation involving volunteers. Most importantly however, the book is as relevant to my work in Australia as it will be to Volunteer Administrators everywhere. --Andy Fryar, President - Volunteering Australia & Founder / Director - OzVPM

Thank you, Linda, for breaking through the mythology surrounding screening methods, and offering practical, effective strategies for volunteer administrators!  In our Red Cross chapter, we have identified several options for screening volunteers, based on the guidance your book provides. We have used the Position Assessment Checklist while updating volunteer job descriptions, explored other screening tools and their implementation beyond the initial interview and application process, and have seen excellent results. Most valuable is the realization that screening is an on-going and evolving process in the life of a volunteer that must include many layers, many variables. I recommend this exceptional resource to my colleagues, especially as our
conversations turn toward more effective placement of volunteers and ultimately providing the highest quality service for the people we serve. And isn't that what it's all about? --Liz Adamshick, Director, Volunteer Resources, American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, Columbus OH USA.

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Beyond Police Checks Available in Three Formats to Suit Your Needs!

Hard Copy
In the traditional paper format, Beyond Police Checks is a spiral bound, 150 page manual in a convenient 6½” x 9" size. Click on these links to download the Canadian Order Form or the US Order Form. Click here for information on how to order any of our publications in the United Kingdom.

"Book-on-CD" Copy

Beyond Police Checks is now available in "Book-on-CD" format. The CD includes a quality PDF version of the book as well as a short bonus video featuring Linda Graff. The electronic format allows you to quickly search and print any topic of your choice making all forms and checklists immediately available for your use. Click here to go to the bookstore and order your CD today.

Electronic Copy
For those readers who want an instant copy, Beyond Police Checks is available as an immediate download in PDF format from ENERGIZEINC. Click here to instantly order any of our publications directly from our electronic distributor.

 

Beyond Police Checks Excerpts

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Beyond Police Checks Table of Contents

 

 

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