COBIS and ACRO Criminal Records Office announce collaboration to enhance international child protection

The announcement by COBIS reinforces its commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults.

You can’t tell just by looking if one of your employees or volunteers has a sexual interest in children. Yet this could be the case in any one of the 5,000+ international British schools overseas, which together employ more than 200,000 teachers worldwide.At its 38thAnnual Conference, the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) announced a three-year partnership with ACRO Criminal Records Office to enhance international child protection.

A rigorous safeguarding tool

Together, ACRO and COBIS will work to promote the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) as a rigorous safeguarding tool to reduce risk in British international schools worldwide. COBIS will act as ICPC Global Ambassador, co-ordinating marketing opportunities with ACRO to raise the profile of the ICPC to their extensive global network of British international schools. It is hoped that the ICPC scheme will become a fundamental aspect of the recruitment process for individuals wanting to work with children overseas.  The ICPC is a criminal records check for anyone who lives, or who has lived, in the UK and who is looking to work with children overseas. It confirms whether or not the applicant has a criminal history and provides details, including relevant conviction and non-conviction data. 

The ICPC – an invaluable resource for schools

The ICPC is already used by hundreds of schools and organisations around the world to make informed decisions on a person’s suitability for employment or continued employment in positions that provide regular access to children. Colin Bell, COBIS CEO, said,“COBIS is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults, and we are pleased to be able to work with ACRO to encourage all international schools to follow best practice in safer recruitment. “The ICPC is an invaluable resource for schools looking to safeguarding the children and young people in their care.” Rob Price, ACRO Chief Executive, said,“I am thrilled that ACRO is entering into a collaboration with the Council of British International Schools (COBIS). It is a fantastic opportunity for both organisations to help safeguard children worldwide. 

A pivotal role improving international child protection

“We hope that it will play a pivotal role in improving international child protection in British international schools across the world and prevent people who pose a risk to children from working overseas in order to gain access to them.”ACRO began providing ICPCs in 2012 and to date have supplied over 60,000 certificates to organisations across the world, playing a pivotal role in safeguarding local communities from those individuals who could pose a risk to children. They are used by more than 1,600 registered organisations, including schools, in 89 countries around the world. In highlighting the role COBIS plays in safeguarding children, Mr Bell continued, “Our long-standing priority is to support our member schools and the wider international schools sector with safeguarding measures, including pre-employment checks and training.

Meeting rigorous safeguarding standards

“We expect our member schools to be able to demonstrate how they meet rigorous safeguarding standards to aid safer recruitment and child protection.” Looking towards the future of child protection in the education sector, ACRO CEO Rob Price, said, “The ultimate aim is to ensure children and young adults in British international schools are protected from the threat of sexual offenders. We want the ICPC to become an integral part of the future of safer recruitment and the safeguarding of children within British international schools. “As we continue to make strides in protecting local and worldwide communities, we are looking forward to the future and working in partnership with COBIS.” 

About The International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC): 

  • A criminal records check for anyone who lives, or who has lived, in the UK and who’s looking to work with children overseas 
  • ICPCs confirm whether or not the applicant has a criminal history and provides details, including relevant conviction and non-conviction data
The certificate is produced in two parts:
  • Part 1 – disclosure of any convictions, impending prosecutions, cautions, reprimands, warnings and current investigations held on UK databases
  • Part 2 – Disclosure of any information deemed relevant in the interest of child protection      
Applications for an ICPC can be made either via post or by applying on the ACRO website ( COBISCOBIS is the premier global membership association for international British schools overseas and corporate supporting members. COBIS is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults. COBIS delivers world class quality assurance and external validation through the COBIS Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance scheme. This scheme includes rigorous standards relating to safer recruitment and child protection. A fundamental aim of COBIS is to support its 500 plus members and represent their interests in Britain and overseas, particularly with Government, education authorities and educational associations. COBIS offers Safer Recruitment and Child Protection training for schools, supports schools with pre-employment checks, provides regular safeguarding updates, and is a founding member of the International Task Force on Child Protection. For more information visit find us on Twitter @COBISorg Statistics regarding the size of the international schools sector are courtesy of ISC Research Ltd ( ACRO
ACRO is a national police unit in the UK that provides a range of criminal records information services for the purpose of safer communities in the UK and across the world. A leader in managing criminal records and biometric information, it delivers a range of services to law enforcement and public protection agencies as well as directly to members of the public. ACRO is hosted by Hampshire Constabulary. For more information on our services, visit www.acro.police.ukor find us on Twitter @ACRO_PoliceSubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory

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