Basingstoke Sports Council

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Child Protection

Q & A: Vetting and Barring Scheme - BBC News 11th September 2009

 

The government's new Vetting and Barring scheme will begin operating from October 2009. Critics have branded the new rules as "insulting" and say they could deter volunteers.

What is it?

The Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland was a recommendation of the inquiry into the murders of two schoolgirls by school caretaker Ian Huntley in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.

 

The system replaces the three current barring lists in England and Wales (Protection of Children Act (PoCA) List, List 99 -the list of those prohibited from working with children in education- and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) List) with two new barred lists administered by the ISA rather than several government departments.

In Northern Ireland it replaces the Disqualification from Working with Children (DWC) List, the Unsuitable Persons List (UP List) and the Disqualification from Working with Vulnerable Adults (DWVA) List

A separate but aligned scheme will be introduced in Scotland next year and anyone barred in any part of the UK will also be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults anywhere else.

The Scottish scheme places the onus on the employer or organisation to make sure vetting is carried out - individuals will not be held responsible.

The scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland launches on 12 October 2009 and individuals will be able to register from July 2010.

 

Vetting flow chart

Who will run it?

Parliament has established a statutory body to take decisions on who should be barred, called the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

This has a board of 10 members with expertise in safeguarding, chaired by Sir Roger Singleton, and more than 200 caseworkers/decision makers.

People can apply for vetting with the ISA via the website.

Who has to apply?

Anyone who works or applies to work with children or vulnerable adults - either in a paid or voluntary capacity.

There is a one-off £64 fee for those seeking employment, which is waived for volunteers.

So the scheme covers teachers, private tutors and sports coaches but also people such as doctors and nurses, opticians and dentists and taxi drivers on education contracts.

I volunteer at my child's sports club - do I have to apply?

Yes, anyone working or volunteering on behalf of a third party organisation - for example a sports club or a charity ¿ who has frequent or intensive access to children or vulnerable adults will have to be registered with the scheme. For volunteers, registration is free.

However, the VBS does not cover personal or family relationships, so parents making informal arrangements to give lifts to children will not have to be vetted.

If you volunteer with more than one club you only need to be registered once - the club can then check you have a registration - as long as you give your consent.

How will it work - can anyone check my ISA registration?

No, all information held by the ISA about individual applications and cases will be secure.

Prospective employers are only able to check if the person is ISA-registered if they have the explicit consent of the individual, along with a unique reference number and other personal data.

A feature of the scheme is that the status of individuals will be continuously updated on receipt of new information, such as convictions or referrals from employers.

Does it replace CRB checks?

No. What ISA registration shows is that there is no known reason why the applicant should not work with children or vulnerable adults.

It does not check for malpractice or all criminal convictions if they are not relevant. Employers concerned about wider issues will still need to obtain an Enhanced CRB check.

So who and what is deemed unsuitable?

Anyone who engages in conduct that endangers a child or vulnerable adult, or is likely to, by causing physical, sexual, emotional or financial harm.

This includes having sexual material relating to children or depicting sexual violence against people, or conduct of a sexual nature involving a child or vulnerable adult if the ISA thinks it is inappropriate.

Some practices will result in automatic barring. Others are deemed to represent a very probable risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults but not necessarily in every conceivable case - so people will get a chance to make representations to the ISA.

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