Improved safeguarding arrangements go live 12 October 2009 11:46 Department of Health (National)
Children and vulnerable adults are to be better protected from today with the start of the new Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS).
The new scheme will be delivered by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). Its tighter regulations are at the heart of the Government’s strategy for increasing the protection of vulnerable members of our society.
The new VBS was created following the Bichard Inquiry into the Soham murders, which recommended a number of key improvements to the system that bars unsuitable individuals from working with children or vulnerable adults. Stricter controls will begin to replace existing arrangements that determine who can’t work with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
New entrants and volunteers working with vulnerable groups will need to start to apply to become ISA registered from July 2010.
The following increased safeguards will be introduced from today, further enhancing protection of children and vulnerable adults:
- the existing criminal offence for barred individuals who apply to work with children or vulnerable adults will be extended to a wider range of posts. Employers also face criminal sanctions for knowingly employing a barred individual across a wider range of work;
- the three current barring lists (POVA, POCA and List 99) will be replaced by the creation of two new barred lists administered by the ISA rather than several Government departments. From now on checks of these two lists can be made as part of an Enhanced CRB check;
- additional jobs and voluntary positions will be covered by the barring arrangements, including moderators of children’s internet chat rooms and a large number of NHS and prison service staff; and
- employers, social services and professional regulators have a duty to refer to the ISA any information such as why they stopped or considered stopping an individual from working with vulnerable groups where they consider them to have caused harm or posed a risk.
Home Office Minister David Hanson MP said:
“Today marks a major step forward in the protection of the most vulnerable members of our society. The new scheme means greater assurance that anyone who regularly works or volunteers with children or vulnerable adults will be appropriate to do so. We believe this is a common sense approach, and what the public would rightly expect.”
Children's Minister Delyth Morgan said:
"Keeping children and young people safe is a top priority for Government and a robust vetting and barring system is crucial to that.
“Our aim has been to develop a system that is proportionate, balanced and effective and meets the concerns of parents without being a burden. We recently asked Sir Roger Singleton to check that the Government has drawn the line in the right place in relation to those who have to register with the scheme, because of the frequent or intensive nature of their contact with children. He is due to report back to Ministers by the beginning of December.
"The launch of the scheme today paves the way for a world-leading system that has the confidence of employers and parents."
Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:
"Protecting the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, is one of the most basic functions of the NHS and care services, but it is also the most important. The Vetting and Barring Scheme extends protection to all those who receive health and social care services.
"I want to make sure that we do all we can to give employers and charities the information and support they need about the changes. In particular, I want to ensure that volunteers, who are so vital in the charity work they do with vulnerable adults and children, will continue to provide their valuable contribution to communities across the country."
Sue Berelowitz, Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England, said:
“The safety of children is paramount. It is essential that children are properly safeguarded and we must do all that we can to ensure that they are protected from those who might do them harm.
“Under this new scheme, anybody working with children, whether they are a taxi driver regularly taking a child to school on behalf of the local authority or a volunteer accompanying children on an overnight Cubs or Scouts trip, will be required to undergo vetting to ensure they are suitable to work with children.
“This new system will better protect children and meets the concerns of parents, while not being over-bureaucratic and not limiting opportunities for volunteers to work with children.
“The Government’s task is to do all it can to protect children. We believe this is a sensible and measured response to the quite understandable concerns and worries that were raised across the country following the terrible events in Soham.
“However, parents must remember that they should always remain vigilant and take seriously any worries that their children might have.”
Derek Twine, Chief Executive of The Scout Association, said:
"Scouting welcomes the single registration scheme that bars unsuitable adults from working with children and vulnerable people. This scheme helps reduce perceived red-tape and administration costs. We also welcome the continual updating of individual records provided by the new scheme."
Justin Davis Smith, Chief Executive of Volunteering England, said:
“Volunteering England are working with the Home Office and Independent Safeguarding Authority to ensure that the new Vetting and Barring scheme provides an effective system to support the volunteering movement in working with children and vulnerable adults.”
Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said:
“This scheme is caricatured as undermining trust when it is all about restoring trust: giving parents the confidence that the volunteer at school and the local scout leader have been vetted and because of that children are safer. Believing that those adults who seek to harm children will not otherwise position themselves in such posts is naïve.”
Alan Meyrick, Registrar, General Teaching Council said:
“The GTC works very closely with the ISA to ensure that there is coherence and clarity around the referral of information relating to safeguarding children. These new requirements strengthen the mechanisms already in place and we welcome them.”
Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Mencap, said:
"Mencap welcomes any move to provide better protection for adults with a learning disability who may be vulnerable to abuse.”
Paul Snell, Acting Chief Executive of the General Social Care Council, said:
"We welcome the launch of the Vetting and Barring scheme which will further enhance the safety of children and vulnerable adults.
“As the professional regulator, we will be working closely with the ISA to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working as social workers in social care."
Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said:
"Society has a high expectation of staff who work with older and dependent people and we are confident that the majority perform their work with sensitivity and caring, but it is right that we should do everything possible to exclude those who may seek to do harm.
“This is an excellent scheme which will increase protection for those who are most at risk."
Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has an important role to play in protecting hundreds of thousands of people. As the care market expands we welcome these tighter controls which will offer vulnerable people with dementia more protection.
“It is particularly important that individuals using personalised budgets are made aware of the scheme, so that they can choose to take advantage of the important protection it provides.”
Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:
“Everyone supports the need to safeguard children from harm, and this scheme is a reminder of our collective responsibility in this regard. We know that more needs to be done to keep our children safe and we look upon this scheme as a positive development”.
Jane Haywood, Chief Executive of the Children's Workforce Development Council said:
"Protecting children and young people is the responsibility of us all. The Vetting and Barring Scheme is an important step forward in helping us to safeguard children by providing additional checks on people who work with them, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity."
David Pearson, Chief Executive of Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service, said:
“We are delighted with this new scheme. We are convinced it represents a major step forward in the protection of children and vulnerable adults.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The UK already has one of the most advanced systems in the world for carrying out checks on all those who work in positions of trust with children and vulnerable adults.
2. The new VBS will be delivered under the Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which was passed by Parliament following the Bichard Inquiry.
3. In January this year, the ISA took over responsibility for the decisions on new cases referred under existing regulations (List 99, POCA and POVA) from Government Ministers.
4. Further milestones in the new Scheme follow later. In particular:
- July 2010 - new entrants and employees looking to work or volunteer with vulnerable groups can start to apply to become ISA registered;
- November 2010 – new entrants must become ISA registered before starting work with vulnerable groups; and
- April 2011 – existing workers must start to become ISA-register.
5. The Vetting and Barring Scheme covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A separate but aligned scheme will be implemented in Scotland in 2010.
6. Further information can be found at www.isa-gov.org.uk
, including guidance from the ISA for employers on how to fulfil their new duty to refer an employee who causes harm or poses a risk.
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department