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Vetting and Barring Scheme

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

Since January this year, the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has been taking all barring decisions on new cases referred to it under the current barring provisions of POVA, POCA and List 99. This has replaced barring decisions by Ministers with independent decision making in relation to those persons considered unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults.

From 12 October this year, we will bring into force the barring provisions under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, significantly extending the range of activities and workplaces from which individuals may be barred to include all regulated activities, as defined by the Act. In particular, a wider range of posts and workplaces which provide for vulnerable adults will now be covered by the barring arrangements. The ISA will make independent barring decisions on cases referred to it, and bars will apply to paid employment and voluntary work in regulated activities. From this date, those barred under current arrangements who have been transferred to the new barred lists by the ISA will also be barred from the wider scope of regulated activities. It will be an offence for any barred person to work in regulated activities, and for any employer to employ someone he knows to be barred, in either a paid or voluntary capacity. Requirements will also come into force for employers to refer relevant cases to the ISA in instances of harm to the vulnerable groups.

With effect from July 2010, the final element of the new scheme will be phased in. Those wishing to work with children or vulnerable adults will be able to apply for registration with the new scheme; the ISA will consider all cases referred to it and will be able to bar those considered unsuitable for such work; and continuous monitoring of those registered with the scheme will commence. New entrants to the workforce and those changing posts will apply to the scheme first under plans to phase in the workforce gradually. In order not to disrupt normal recruitment processes over the summer period, relevant criminal offences will not be brought into force until November 2010. At this point registration with the new scheme and the requirement for employers to check registered status will become mandatory for the phased-in groups.