Charities alarmed at vetting loophole

Direct payment recipients could be put at risk by a loophole in the new scheme to vet people working with children and vulnerable adults, charities say.

Voice UK, Ann Craft Trust and Respond said the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill, which will implement the scheme, did not classify direct payments recipients as regulated activity providers, so they would not need to check prospective employees against the list.

This could encourage unsuitable people to provide direct payment services, the charities said.

The bill, published last week, will introduce the vetting and barring scheme developed after the Bichard inquiry into the Soham murders. The scheme will be administered by the Criminal Records Bureau.

Employers will be able to make real-time checks against the list, and a new independent statutory  body, rather than ministers, will be responsible for barring decisions.

It is still unclear whether the bureau would need to charge for checks against the list.

In its attempt to become selffunding, the bureau last month said it would raise its charge for criminal record disclosures by £2 and also introduce a £6 fee for fast-track checks against the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list, previously a free service.

Last year, the government said the vetting scheme would cost much more than initial estimates (Vetting scheme to cost more to run, 10 November).


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