Headlines: October 16th, 2006



New regulations, which would see more sex offenders banned from teaching, have been put out for consultation. The draft regulations would mean that individuals cautioned, as well as convicted, for sexual offences against children would be automatically entered on List 99 and barred from working in education.

Children’s Minister Parmjit Dhanda said the changes would fulfil the Government’s pledge to tighten the current system of barring until it is replaced by new vetting and barring procedures in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

The regulations have been developed with leading child protection experts. They set out three ways in which an individual with a caution or conviction for an offence against a child can be added to List 99. These are, Automatic Barring, under which individuals cautioned or convicted for a specified offence would be automatically entered on List 99 without the possibility of making representations against their entry for at least 10 years; Automatic Inclusion, which would see individuals added to the list but with the opportunity to make representations against their entry. They would remain on List 99 during the process and it is unlikely theirrepresentations would be successful where an offence has occurred; Discretionary Barring, which will continue in certain circumstances until the introduction of the new vetting and barring system. In these cases decisions would be made in line with the advice of a panel of child protection experts led by the former head of Barnado’s, Sir Roger Singleton.

The proposals now out for consultation suggest that automatic barring would also apply to individuals whether or not they have previously worked with children. The categories of offences covered would also be extended to include conspiring, inciting, aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of offences.

Mr Dhanda said the Bill now before Parliament would deliver the toughest ever vetting and barring system for all those working with children and vulnerable adults. “However, ahead of this legislation being passed, we are taking action to ensure that anyone who is cautioned as well as convicted for sexual offences against children will automatically be entered on List 99 and barred from working in schools and other education settings,” he added. The Day Care and Child Minding Disqualification Regulations will also be changed so that the same regime applies to those working in day care settings. The Government expects the new regulations to come into force early in the new year after the consulatation.