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Children: Protection

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on co-operation between European Union countries on preventing sex offenders from gaining employment with children, with particular reference to the exchange of information on criminal records. (140660)

I have been asked to reply as the Home Office is leading UK negotiations within the EU to enhance the contents and format of the criminal records which are exchanged.

A framework decision has recently been agreed under which member states will be obliged to inform other member states of all criminal convictions imposed against their nationals as soon as possible. These provisions, which will improve and speed up existing exchange systems, will ensure that each member state holds a complete criminal record for its nationals, containing all convictions imposed by EU member states. Disqualifications arising from criminal convictions must also be exchanged where they are recorded in the criminal record. This will facilitate the taking into account of the final judgments of the courts of other member states in the course of new criminal proceedings and in employment vetting in the state of nationality.

A new Vetting and Barring scheme is being introduced under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 which will focus on providing the maximum possible protection for children and vulnerable adults from possible harm from unsuitable persons in the workplace.

There will be a further opportunity to look at these issues as part of the review of criminality information currently underway.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent representations he has received on the ability of sex offenders in the European Union to move between countries and take up employment with children. (140661)

I have been asked to reply as the Home Office is leading UK negotiations within the EU to enhance the contents and format of the criminal records which are exchanged.

I refer the hon. Lady to the reply I gave in response to her question on 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1781W.

There have been no representations on the ability of sex offenders in the European Union to move between countries and take up employment with children to the Home Office.