Government reins in vetting and barring scheme

The government has announced it is halting registration to the Vetting...

The government has announced it is halting registration to the Vetting and Barring Scheme, with plans to remodel the programme back to “proportionate, common sense levels”.

Voluntary registration with the VBS for new employees and job-movers working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults was due to start on 26 July, but will now not go forward.

Children’s minister Tim Loughton said: “Protecting vulnerable children is a top priority. Any vetting systems should not be a substitute for proper vigilance by individuals and society. At the moment we think the pendulum has swung too far.”

Loughton said the government should not be “driving a wedge” between children and well-meaning adults coming forward to volunteer with young people.

Home secretary Theresa May urged a “measured approach in these matters”.

“We’ve listened to the criticisms and will respond with a scheme that has been fundamentally remodelled,” she said.

The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) said that while it was in favour of the principle behind the scheme, the previous system did not make financial sense.

“The additional cost and administration of the scheme must not become a barrier to recruitment,” said UKHCA head of policy and communication, Colin Angel.

“If the government concludes that the ISA scheme genuinely offers additional protection to the public, it should be funded from the public purse, rather than effectively becoming a tax on people joining the social care workforce.”

Existing arrangements under the Scheme which will continue include the following:

● Since January 2009, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has been making independent barring decisions. It will continue to maintain two constantly updated lists, one for those barred from working with children, the other for those barred from working with vulnerable adults.

● Existing requirements concerning Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Access Northern Ireland checks will remain in place, and those entitled to such checks can continue to apply for them.

● Employers are still legally obliged to refer information to the ISA if they have moved or removed an individual because they have harmed or there is a risk of harm to a member of a vulnerable group.

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