The Vetting and Barring Scheme

Posted 27th February 2010

If you work with children or vulnerable adults and don't already know about the new Vetting and Barring Scheme you should read the folllowing article

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 was passed as a result of the Bichard Inquiry arising from the Soham murders in 2002, when the schoolgirls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells were murdered by Ian Huntley (a school caretaker).

 

The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was set up as a single agency to prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. 

 

As a case manager you will have a current CRB check, but from November 2010 any new employees must register with the ISA fit they are performing a regulated activity.  For certain posts and organisations CRB checks will still be required, however, it has not been possible to determine whether Case Managers will fall into this category.  During 2011 all employees who work with children or vulnerable adults in any regulated activity, either with or without a current CRB check will need to register with the ISA. 

 

This means that in November 2010 if an applicant for a post performing any regulated activity has not registered with the ISA you cannot employ them. 

 

All employees working with children and vulnerable adults will have to register during 2011.

 

There is a great deal of detail regarding ‘regulated activities’ and ‘controlled activities’ which is available via this link

 

 

This does appear to leave some margin for interpretation, especially for the case manager role.  As there are varying levels of contact with clients for case managers, depending on their client base, members should read the information regarding the activities carefully before deciding whether they should register.  However, the information does specify that ‘any activity that involves people in certain defined positions of responsibility’ is a regulated activity, and therefore it will be mandatory to register.

 

The term ‘vulnerable adult’ does not apply to people just because they may be older or have a disability.  The term is defined according to the service, setting or situation where staff or volunteers are in a position of trust and people have a right to expect that trust will not be abused.

 

 

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 defines a vulnerable adult in section 59:

 

 

 (1) A person is a vulnerable adult if they have attained the age of 18 and

(a) they are in residential accommodation,

(b) they are in sheltered housing,

(c) they receive domiciliary care,

(d) they receive any form of health care,

(e) they are detained in lawful custody,

(f) they are by virtue of an order of a court under supervision by a person exercising

functions for the purposes of Part 1 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act

2000 (c. 43),

(g) they receive a welfare service of a prescribed description,

(h) they receive any service or participate in any activity provided specifically for

persons who fall within subsection (9),

(i) payments are made to them (or to another on their behalf) in pursuance of

arrangements under section 57 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 (c. 15), or

(j) they require assistance in the conduct of their own affairs.

 

Employers’ duties and responsibilities

 

  • It will be a criminal offence for an employer to allow a barred person, or a person who is not yet registered with the ISA, to work for any length of time in any regulated activity.
  • It will be a criminal offence for an employer to take on a person in a regulated activity if they fail to check that person’s status.

 

Employees’ duties and responsibilities

 

  • A barred individual must not take part in any regulated activity.
  • An individual taking part in a regulated activity must be registered with the ISA.
  • It will be a criminal offence for a barred person to take part in a regulated activity for any length of time.

 

Domestic employment

 

Domestic employers (eg parents and carers) do not have to check that their employees are ISA-registered but the new scheme will give them the opportunity to check the status of an individual (with their consent) if they wish to do so.

 

It will be an offence for a barred person to take part in any regulated activity in a domestic circumstance.

 

The basics

 

From July 2010, when you recruit someone new to work with children or vulnerable adults you may check their ISA status. This will determine whether or not you can employ them (or take them on as volunteers), and may affect what activities they can undertake.  Registration and checking registered status will become mandatory for phased-in groups from November 2010.

 

Only an ISA-registered person can undertake regulated activity – it is illegal to employ an unregistered person and can result in imprisonment or a fine of up to £5000. An unregistered person means that a person has either not applied to register with us or that they are on an ISA Barred List.

 

For certain organisations and posts you will also need to carry out a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check on applicants.

 

Existing employees

 

You will also need to ensure that existing employees are ISA-registered.

 

First you should ask those who have not been previously checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) to apply for ISA registration.

 

Next you should ask those who have been CRB checked to apply, beginning with staff whose CRB checks are the oldest.

 

Registering

 

It is the individual applicant’s responsibility to apply to register with the ISA. If they have not applied for registration you can’t employ them. It is your responsibility to check a potential employee or volunteer’s status. If an applicant is not ISA-registered they have either not applied or are on an ISA Barred List.

 

You will not be charged for checking someone’s ISA status.

 

Once you have registered your interest in an individual as their employer, you will automatically be contacted should their status change – that is, if new information leads to an ISA decision to bar them.

 

Your responsibilities for referring information to us

 

In order to continuously monitor ISA-registered individuals, we need information from employers.

 

Employers, professional and regulatory bodies, and child/adult protection teams in local authorities will be under a duty to refer relevant information to the ISA.

 

All other employers of those working with children or vulnerable adults may provide information to us.

 

Employers must inform the ISA about an employee they have dismissed, or whom they might have dismissed but who resigned first, because he or she harmed – or might harm – a vulnerable person.  The ISA will assess those individuals who are referred to them on the grounds that they pose a possible risk of harm to vulnerable groups.  The pre-employment vetting will ensure all those known to present a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults are not allowed to work with them in the first place.  They will use information such as criminal convictions, cautions, and police intelligence to make decisions.  In all but the most serious cases, if the ISA is considering barring, then people will be given the opportunity to make representations and to express their views on the information used to take the barring decision.

 

Registrants will have to pay a one off administration fee of £64 (£58 in Northern Ireland).  People who work only as volunteers will not have to pay unless they later start paid employment, and then they will be asked to pay a fee. 

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