Headlines: March 20th, 2009

The Government has released details of its revamp of measures to vet adults who have contact with children and vulnerable adults.

Over the next five years the number of largely public service workers who will need CRB checks will rise from six to eleven million.

The checks required for those whose work brings them into contact with children or vulnerable adults are currently conducted by cross-referencing with three different lists of those considered unsuitable. One list is held by the Department of Health, and two by the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

From October these lists will be combined into two – one for adults and one for children both administered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which has seen its remit expanded since formation in January last year.

The new vetting and barring scheme (VBS) will also impose a new duty on employers and others to share information with ISA about individuals who pose a threat. It will also become a crime for a barred individual to seek or undertake work with vulnerable groups; and for employers to knowingly take them on.

The VBS is a direct response to the recommendations of the Bichard Inquiry which followed the Soham murders in 2002.

ISA is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Home Office. The scheme is promised to be largely self-financing. From July, individual applicants wishing to seek work with vulnerable groups will pay a fee of £64. Those who only wish to work as unpaid volunteers will not have to pay. Employers will be able to check the registration status of the individuals they intend to employ on line and for free.