On-going concerns over post-Bichard vetting scheme

Despite widespread support for a centralised vetting scheme to check the suitability of individuals working with children and vulnerable adults, concerns remain about the potential associated costs and delays.

Responses to the government consultation on the introduction of a central vetting scheme reveal that the vast majority of those working in the sector support the proposed model, put forward following the Bichard inquiry into the appointment of Soham murderer Ian Huntley as a school caretaker.

Nine out of 10 are confident such a scheme would have a positive impact in terms of improving safeguards for children and vulnerable adults by preventing unsuitable people from entering the workforce.

However, 30% of respondents are concerned that there may be delays in checks in the new system, with possible consequences for the recruitment process such as candidates withdrawing. Just under half of respondents feel that, in order to prevent this, the majority of initial disclosures ought to be returned within two weeks.

Despite on-going concerns around security and confidentiality, the majority of respondents agree that an on-line checking facility is the best way for employers to check whether an applicant is barred.

However, most people feel this service ought to be either free or subsidised, or at the very least paid for on an annual fee, rather than case-by-case, basis.

Opinion is divided over whether or not only the most serious offences should lead to barring, although there is widespread support for taking referrals from social services into account when considering individuals’ suitability.

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