The Independent Safeguarding Authority has today taken over the vetting and barring of staff working with children and vulnerable adults in care and education services.
From now on referrals for children’s social care and health staff under the Protection of Children Act, adult social care staff under the Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme, and education workers through List 99 will be handled by the ISA.
Poca and List 99 referrals were previously handled and determined by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and Pova cases by the Department of Health.
The system for appeals against barring decisions has also changed. People will only be able to challenge ISA decisions if they feel the authority has made an error in fact or law – not, as before, on grounds of suitability or proportionality.
In October this year, the ISA will launch a new vetting and barring scheme covering all those working directly with children and vulnerable adults, not just the occupations covered by the existing lists. There will be two lists – one for staff barred from working with children and the other for those forbidden from working with vulnerable adults.
Guide to schemes
Under the Protection of Children Act 1999, regulated child care organisations in England and Wales – those providing accommodation, social and health care – must refer people to the DCSF whom they have dismissed or disciplined for misconduct involving harm or the risk of harm to a child. They must also check all potential new employees working in regulated positions – those who care for children, have unsupervised contact with them or are in senior positions -against the Poca list and List 99. It is open for other organisations, such as sports clubs or scout associations, to use the scheme.
This bars people from working in schools, further education settings and council-run educational settings in England and Wales on the grounds of misconduct, unsuitability to work with children, inclusion on the Poca list or medical grounds. New employees must be checked against the list. Referrals come from a range of sources including schools, the police and councils.
Care home, domiciliary care and adult placement employers must check potential care staff against the Pova list. They must also refer people to the DH who have harmed a vulnerable adult or put them at risk of harm.
It will be a criminal offence for employers to take on anyone listed on the ISA scheme or not registered with the ISA from working in a regulated activity: work that involves intensive, overnight or frequent contact with children or vulnerable adults, or frequent or intensive contact in specified places; fostering and childcare; or work in specified positions of responsibility. It will also be an offence to hire anyone without checking their ISA status. Adult and child protection teams in councils, providers of regulated services and certain other bodies will be under a duty to refer staff to the ISA if they have harmed or may harm a child or vulnerable adult or they believe that they should be barred.
Vetting and barring head says scheme must be right ‘from day one’