New arrangements announced for criminal record and safeguarding checks

25 January 2012
New arrangements announced for criminal record and safeguarding checks

The Home Office has announced changes to the Vetting and Barring Scheme in England and Wales which are proposed as part of the Protection of Freedoms Bill 2011-2012.

This legislation is expected to become law this Spring.

Two organisations, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will be merged into one organisation called the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The provisional date for the merge is November 2012.

Guidance will also be issued on the remodelled checking schemes in due course.

What we know now:

  • The concept of “regulated activity” will be narrowed to cover only those working closely and regularly with children and vulnerable adults
  • The concept of “controlled activity” (which affected individuals working in certain environments) will be scrapped
  • Organisations will still be able to request CRB checks
  • Volunteers will not need to pay for CRB checks
  • There will be provision for portable CRB checks that individuals can take from one organisation to another, if individuals opt in.

Ongoing duties for individuals and organisations that still apply:

  • If you dismiss or remove an employee or volunteer because they harmed (or risked harming) a child – or you would have dismissed them had they not left you first, you must tell the Independent Safeguarding Authority
  • A person barred by the Independent Safeguarding Authority from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law if they try to do so
  • An organisation that knowingly engages someone who is barred to work with children and vulnerable adults, will commit an offence.

Other areas of the UK:

  • Northern Ireland is planning to make parallel amendments to its legislation
  • Scotland’s Protection of Volunteer Groups (PVG) scheme, will continue.

For further information, register with the Independent Safety Authority for future updates here. See also HRBird's section on safeguarding.

Please note that HRBird by its very nature offers general information. If you're looking for advice specific to your situation, speak to an HR professional or solicitor. Got a question on staff or volunteers? To submit an anonymous query for the HRBird blog, contact us.

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