Government launches consultation on protection of vulnerable groups

The government has launched a consultation on its plans for barring unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.

It wants to gather views on who the scheme will protect, who will need to join the scheme, how to refer information to the scheme, how applications will be made and how the scheme will be phased in.

An Independent Safeguarding Authority will take decisions as to who should be included in the lists of people who will be barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Children’s minister Kevin Brennan said: “We want to have the toughest ever centralised vetting and barring system to protect the most vulnerable groups in our society.

“But we need to ensure that our system is fair and just, and really works for children and vulnerable adults and those at the front line of delivering their services, which is why we would encourage those working with these groups to take part in our consultation. We welcome their input.”

Topics covered by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act:

Those who pose a risk to children or vulnerable adults will be prevented from getting access to them via paid or unpaid work.

There will be tough penalties for those employers who fail in their responsibility to carry out the necessary checks or recruit people who are not members of the scheme – including fines of up to £5,000

It will be a criminal offence for a barred individual to even seek a job in regulated activity working in close contact with children or vulnerable adults

Employers and parents will be able to make an online check that a prospective employee is a member of the scheme and thus not barred

Vetting decisions will be reviewed when new information becomes available and employers who have registered an interest will be notified when an individual ceases to be a member of the scheme.

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