Criminal record checks to be significantly scaled back

More than nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults will no longer have to undergo criminal background checks after the Government today unveiled plans to scale back the vetting and barring scheme (VBS) and the criminal records regime to “common-sense” levels.

The proposals, which according to the Home Office will continue to ensure appropriate protection for the vulnerable, come after a comprehensive review of the existing system.

Only those working closely and regularly with children and vulnerable adults will need to be checked. The checks will be made portable between jobs to cut unnecessary red tape.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The Freedoms Bill will protect millions of people from state intrusion in their private lives and mark a return to common-sense government.

“It delivers on our commitment to restore hard-won British liberties with sweeping reforms that will end the unnecessary scrutiny of law-abiding individuals.”

The proposals also include:

  • the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority;
  • an end to the requirement for those working or volunteering with vulnerable groups to register with the VBS and to then be continuously monitored ; and
  • measures to stop employers knowingly requesting criminal records checks on individuals who do not require checks.

The Government will also keep the scope of CRB checks under review to ensure that they are not putting people off volunteering.

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone added: “I feel the changes that are now being made strike the balance between our own personal liberties whilst ensuring vulnerable people are protected.”

Read further detail on the legal issues surrounding today’s announcement on XpertHR.

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