asked Her Majesty’s Government:
What representations they have received on the Hallé Orchestra’s concerns in relation to the risks involved for children and vulnerable adults in the Criminal Records Bureau’s current procedures; what reply they will send; and whether there is any action they will be taking. [HL2693]
The Hallé Orchestra has raised some concerns regarding the way in which the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) operates. In essence, these concerns relate to the effectiveness of the bureau being compromised in not notifying employers of any subsequent offences that may be committed by an employee and that it is therefore necessary for employers to obtain repeat clearance applications.
The CRB was set up under Part V of the Police Act 1997 to enable employers, through the use of disclosure information, to make safer recruitment decisions where a position involved regular supervision of, or caring for, children and/or vulnerable adults. Therefore, disclosure information is intended to be used as a recruitment tool in conjunction with the full range of other pre-appointment checks to ensure that a prospective employee is suitable for the post.
However, the Hallé Orchestra may be interested to hear that new legislation in the form of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 received Royal Assent on 8 November 2006. This creates a new vetting and barring scheme, led by the Department for Education and Skills, which is intended to minimise the risk of children and vulnerable adults suffering harm at the hands of those who are employed to work with them. It seeks to do this by ensuring that, where evidence suggests that an individual presents a risk of harm, he/she is barred as soon as possible from working with children and/or vulnerable adults by an Independent Barring Board (IBB).
The CRB will continually update the IBB as new relevant information comes to light, thereby ensuring that the status of the individual is kept under review. It is envisaged that, under the scheme, employers would be notified of any changes to an individual’s status. Further information on this scheme may be obtained from the Department for Education and Skills website at www.dfes.gov.uk.
I hope that this Answer proves helpful.