The vetting and barring scheme for people working with vulnerable people will start a year later than planned to ensure it works from the first day. That was the message from Adrian McAllister, chief executive of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, which will run the scheme, after the Home Office announced it would go live in October 2009 – not its original target date of autumn 2008.
IT an issue
McAllister said “it would be churlish to deny” that getting its IT system right was not a consideration in the 2009 start date. But he said many employers would need time to prepare themselves for the scheme, which will cover 11.3 million people seeking paid or voluntary work with children or vulnerable adults.
He pointed out that many employers would be new to vetting arrangements, not being covered by the three main existing schemes the ISA scheme will replace: List 99 in education, the Protection of Children Act in children’s social care and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults for adult care.
McAllister said the ISA, which will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland, would offer “clearly defined guidance” to employers on those roles – known as “controlled activities” – where barred individuals can be employed despite having contact with vulnerable people or sensitive records.
Warning from adult protection groups
However, adult protection groups have warned that “controlled activities” should be treated in the same way as “regulated activities” – involving frequent, intensive or overnight contact with vulnerable people – where it will be a criminal offence to employ a barred individual.