The government has delayed the implementation of its vetting and barring scheme for staff working with children and vulnerable adults for the second time, it announced today.
The Independent Safeguarding Authority-run scheme was due to come into force in October 2009, after ministers announced last April that the original target of October 2008 would be missed.
At the time, the chief executive of the ISA, Adrian McAllister, explained the delay by saying that the scheme needed to be got right from “day one”.
Delayed until 2010
However, the Home Office said today that the scheme would not come into force in full until November 2010, to “ensure robust testing and maximise the safety of vulnerable groups”.
From October this year, the existing barring lists – the Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme for roles in adult social care; the Protection of Children Act list for children’s social care positions; and List 99 for education jobs – will be scrapped.
Banned staff will be transferred on to separate barring lists covering work with vulnerable adults and with children, and will be prevented from working in a wider range of jobs than applies under the current lists.
Duty to inform about possible abusers
Employers, social services and regulators will also come under a duty to inform the ISA of relevant information concerning individuals who may pose a threat to vulnerable groups from October this year. It will also become a criminal offence for employers to knowingly employ a barred individual or for a banned individual to seek or undertake work with vulnerable groups.
However, new entrants to the workforce and those starting new jobs will not be able to register with the ISA, to verify their suitability to work with children or vulnerable adults, until July 2010.
From that date, employers will be able to check whether a prospective employee is permitted to work. The duty on employees to register with the scheme and for employers to check their status will not come into force until November 2010.
Delay is ‘sensible’
Unison welcomed the delay. General secretary Dave Prentis said: ““The government’s decision to delay the ISA is a sensible step to making sure children are safe. The ISA will have to manage the information of 11 million adults, so it is crucial that the system is properly tested before it is put in place.”
He urged the government to “step in” to pay the one-off £64 registration fee that staff will be charged.