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Changes to the Vetting and Barring Scheme

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The Vetting and Barring Scheme first came into force in 2009 to prevent unsuitable individuals from working with children and vulnerable adults. Following a review, the Government is scaling back the scheme from next month to a more 'common sense' approach, giving more responsibility to the employer. Find out what this means for your business.

The Vetting and Barring Scheme states that:
  • a person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law if they work or volunteer, or try to work or volunteer with those groups

  • an organisation which knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups will also be breaking the law

  • if your organisation works with children or vulnerable adults and you dismiss a member of staff or a volunteer because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or you would have dismissed them if they had not left, you must tell the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

What's changing?

From 10 September 2012, there will be two levels of enhanced criminal records bureau (CRB) check:
  • An enhanced CRB with the barred list check
  • An enhanced CRB without the barred list check.
The barred list check considers a wider range of information when deciding whether an individual is to be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.
The type of check required is based on 'regulated activity'. This is being scaled back to only work which involves close and unsupervised contact with vulnerable groups. A full description of regulated activity can be downloaded here >
So, only if an individual works with children or vulnerable adults and receives no supervision whilst undertaking their job will an enhanced CRB with the barred list check be required.
If an individual does receive supervision, then an enhanced CRB without the barred list check will be sufficient.
Also changing:
  • 'Controlled activity', which covered people who might have less contact with vulnerable groups, will no longer exist. From September you will not be able to check whether these people are barred, though they still be eligible for a CRB check depending on their role.

  • Registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and continuous monitoring, which has been proposed by the original Vetting and Barring Scheme, will NOT be introduced.

  • Police forces will not be legally bound to provide 'additional information' about applicants to employers, though they will be able to do this under common law powers.

  • You will not be able to CRB check someone under the age of 16.
From December, the CRB and the ISA will be merged into one body called the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
From early 2013, a new update service will be introduced, which will CRB checks will be more portable between organisations.
There will also only be one certificate sent out, which will be sent to the applicant only.

What's staying the same?

  • You must still make all appropriate referrals to the ISA if you think an employee has harmed a child or vulnerable adult. Any illegal activity should be referred to the police.

  • You must not let anyone you know has been barred by the ISA carry out a regulated activity.

  • Everybody within the pre-September definition of regulated activity will remain eligible for enhanced CRB checks whether or not they fall within the post-September definition of regulated activity.
Please note: Businesses in Scotland are covered by the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme, not the Vetting and Barring Scheme.
For support with recruiting and managing staff, find out how the Forum can help you stay on the right side of the law - call 0845 130 1722.

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