On 21 July 2021, the Government published their “Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls” strategy. The strategy sets out a raft of measures capturing activity across Government to prioritise prevention, support victims and survivors and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. The strategy also set out measures to strengthen and ensure the systems and agencies in place both take action to tackle violence against women and girls and work together to do so. This included the commitment that the Home Office would undertake a review of the disclosure and barring regime to provide assurance on its effectiveness in safeguarding the vulnerable. The regime helps employers to make informed and safer recruitment decisions through the disclosure of relevant criminal records. The review will assess the effectiveness of the regime in England and Wales in safeguarding the vulnerable.
I am pleased to announce today that I have appointed Simon Bailey, ex chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary and National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection and abuse investigation, to lead this review. With over 35 years of experience serving with the police and working on those areas to protect those most vulnerable within society, including the creation of a project to change the way the police service responds to vulnerability, exploitation and abuse, Mr Bailey brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge.
To further support the review I have also appointed Stephen Linehan QC, who holds extensive experience of dealing with victims, witnesses and defendants and has worked on cases related to rape and serious sexual offences, including those involving children, young persons and vulnerable adults. Mr Bailey will also engage with those offering expert knowledge on areas linked to those delivering the regime, a representative of victims and survivors and an independent representative to provide input on policy delivery.
The review will commence immediately and will aim to report to me in the summer of 2022. Its focus will be to identify key issues of concern about the current regime; consider current responses to them; assess and advise on risks and opportunities; and make recommendations for improvement.
I will place a copy of the terms of reference for the review in the Libraries of both Houses.