CRB CHECKING – A NEW APPROACH TO SAFEGUARDING
WHO CONTROLS THE VETTING AND BARRING SCHEME?
As a result of recommendations made following the Soham murders, a newly created Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will maintain a single central list of individuals who are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. This new central register replaces the previous separate lists of those persons deemed unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults: List 99 (educational restrictions) / POCA (Protection of Children Act) / POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults)
This new Vetting and Barring Scheme is being introduced from 12th October 2009 in England and Wales (a similar Scheme is to be introduced in Scotland in 2010). It provides that:
1) all individuals who want to volunteer or work with children or vulnerable adults will be required to register with the ISA who will check the individual's name against the barred list, and provided there is no adverse information, will register the individual.
Individuals who work whilst barred face criminal prosecution; similarly if an individual fails to register, they face a £5,000 fine.
2) Employers will be required to check the status of individuals before employing them in "regulated activities" through an online facility. Unfortunately, the new Register and online checking facility will not be up and running until November 2010, so employers will still be required to undertake Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on new staff who work in "regulated activities" in the meantime.
On 12th October 2009, a new criminal offence of knowingly employing a barred person in a “regulated activity” will come into effect.
The definition of a "regulated activity" is based on a complex formula for working out whether an individual works frequently enough with children/vulnerable adults for them to be required to register with the ISA. Three categories of regulated activity are: -
"Frequent" – one or two days a month, "intensive" – on three or more days in a 30 day period or "overnight" – between 02.00am and 06.00am.
Other "regulated activities" affected include the transportation of children or vulnerable adults; training and face-to-face advice services.
Impact on Contractors
Trades people (Builders, electricians, plumbers, and painters/decorators etc) who do work at child nurseries, schools, hospitals or care premises, even if their work is not care-related could also find that they need to be registered with the ISA.
Essentially, anyone who works in a field that requires more than a minimal amount of contact with children and/or vulnerable adults will have to register and be vetted by the ISA.
Staff at the ISA will ask the Criminal Records Bureau if the individual has committed any offences that should make them ineligible to work with children or vulnerable adults, and can also check with previous employers.
Registration will begin in July 2010. Those already in employment will be phased in over the following five years. Once registered, individuals will be subject to continuous monitoring, and employers will be alerted if an individual they employ is removed from the register and barred from working with Children/Vulnerable Adults.
Therefore, Employers within the Care/educational sectors will need to look at their recruitment procedures. Equally those Employers who undertake work at locations involving children/vulnerable adults will need to look at whether they and/or their employees need to be registered with and vetted by the ISA.
Given the history of website crashes on other national database systems, we can’t help thinking that if the estimated 6 million workers in this sector are all checked at the same time something will ‘give’ in the system.
As usual we will keep you posted with developments.