Vetting and barring scheme registration on hold for ‘fundamental remodelling’

Registration under the vetting and barring scheme for those working with vulnerable people has been put on hold while the system is “fundamentally remodelled” by the new government.

Voluntary registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority for new employees and job-movers who work with children and vulnerable adults was due to start on 26 July.

But registration has now be halted and the scheme will be remodelled following complaints from businesses and community groups that the current system was disproportionate, overly burdensome and infringed civil liberties.

The system was being introduced as a response to the Bichard inquiry, which called for better information sharing in the wake of the murders of two schoolgirls by school caretaker Ian Huntley in Soham in 2002. It was designed to protect children and vulnerable adults by preventing those posing a known risk from gaining access to them through their work.

Home secretary Theresa May said: “We’ve listened to the criticisms and will respond with a scheme that has been fundamentally remodelled.

“Vulnerable groups must be properly protected in a way that is proportionate and sensible. This redrawing of the vetting and barring scheme will ensure this happens.”

A spokesman for the Home Office could not confirm to Personnel Today whether registration would be started this year but said the scope of the remodelling process will be announced shortly.

Tom Hadley, director of external relations at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, welcomed the review but warned any system had to be “workable and proportionate”.
“The original premise of the scheme, following the Bichard inquiry into the Soham murders, was welcomed but there were a number of practical concerns, including the extra bureaucracy it would generate by duplicating the existing safeguarding measures for many roles where CRB checks are also required,“ he said.

“Additionally, there was a huge amount of confusion generated by the wide-reaching scope of the scheme because it would have extended to roles where it was questionable as to whether safeguarding concerns would arise. These issues we believed had not been properly addressed which is why we welcome the opportunity to take a step back and take stock of its contents.
“The principle of a regularly updated list which employers can reference is sound, but this must be implemented in a way that replaces the existing CRB system rather than running alongside it.”

The remodelling of the scheme will be co-ordinated by the Home Office in partnership with the Department of Health and the Department for Education.

New recruits to jobs were due to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority from 26 July under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

Under the original timescale, employers were required from 1 November to check that these staff were registered. Staff already employed in a regulated activity and who have not moved into a new role with a new employer were then due to apply for registration from 1 April 2011, with mandatory registration coming into force on 31 July 2015.

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