MPs voice doubts on safeguarding bill

The government faced fresh calls to amend its Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill during its second reading last week.

Labour MP Joan Humble said she was concerned that people barred from working with vulnerable adults would still be able to work in formal day centres in support roles such as cooking or cleaning.

The bill would prevent people on the barred list from working in any jobs in residential care for vulnerable adults, but in other settings, such as day centres, they could be considered for support roles.

She called for “sensible changes” to the bill during its Commons committee stage so it covered these circumstances.

She also pointed to the deaths and ill-treatment of young recruits at army barracks and said military instructors training under-18s should be covered by the proposed vetting and barring scheme to be established by the bill.

Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke said the committee would need to address the government’s “very imprecise” definitions of some of the bill’s terms, including those of “harm” and “frequent”.

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes said the government would help employers worried about the quality of criminal records data from foreign countries.

Her pledge came after opposition MPs raised concerns over employers’ ability to adequately check people from abroad who wish to take up employment in UK social, education and health services.

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