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Vetting and barring scheme guidance issued

Vetting and barring scheme guidance issued

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 19 March 2010

Full guidance to assist employers and voluntary groups in implementing the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) was published today by the Home Office.

The new scheme, which is delivered by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), aims to prevent unsuitable people who could pose a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults from being able to work or volunteer with these groups.

The publication comes ahead of the implementation of key changes which mean that, from July 2010, employees starting work in an organisation or role affected by the new rules and volunteers working with vulnerable groups can apply to become ISA registered.

The guidance document contains detailed information about what actions employers and employees will be required to take under the scheme. It also outlines what they should do in preparation for 25 July, when registration to the scheme begins.

The Home Office Minister responsible for the VBS, Meg Hillier, said:

"We have worked hard to ensure that employers, employees and volunteers have the information they need to meet the requirements of the Vetting and Barring Scheme. The publication of this guidance is the latest step in that process.

"Over the last year we’ve delivered face-to-face briefings to more than 40,000 employers, charities and voluntary groups up and down the country, and the feedback from them has been overwhelmingly supportive.

"I’m confident that this guidance will quickly become an invaluable tool for all organisations working with vulnerable groups over the coming months and years as the scheme is rolled out.

"The benefits of the VBS are clear – better sharing of information, portable registration status for employers and volunteers, and clear decisions on who is unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups."

A link to the guidance has been sent directly to almost 26,000 employers, charities and voluntary groups. The document is also accessible on the Directgov and Business Link websites at www.direct.gov.uk/vetting or www.businesslink.gov.uk/vbs

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. To view the guidance, log on to www.direct.gov.uk/vetting or www.businesslink.gov.uk/vbs

2. Hard copies of the guidance are available for those who do not have internet access by calling the VBS helpline on 0300 123 1111.

3. The VBS is delivered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Access Northern Ireland (AccessNI), and overseen by the Home Office.

4. From 12 October 2009 the following changes came into effect to further enhance protection of children and vulnerable adults:

• it is now a criminal offence for barred individuals to apply to work with children or vulnerable adults in a wider range of posts than previously. Employers also face criminal sanctions for knowingly employing a barred individual across a wider range of work;

• the three previous barred lists (POVA, POCA and List 99) have been replaced by the creation of two new barred lists – the ISA Children’s Barred List and the ISA Vulnerable Adults Barred List, maintained by the ISA rather than several government departments. Checks of these two lists can be made with an Enhanced CRB check; and

• employers, local authorities, professional regulators and inspection bodies have a duty to make referrals to the ISA. They must pass on information - such as why they stopped, considered stopping or moved an individual working with vulnerable groups where they consider them to have caused harm or pose a risk - ensuring threats to vulnerable groups can be identified and dealt with.

5. Applying to register with the scheme will be quick and easy, and the vast majority of applicants will be registered within seven working days.

6. Registering with the scheme will be free of charge for volunteers. Registration for those in paid employment will cost £64 (£58 in Northern Ireland).

7. The following milestones are still to come:

• July 2010 - new entrants to work with vulnerable groups can register with the ISA;

• November 2010 - new entrants must register with the ISA before starting work; and

• April 2011 - existing workers can start to register with the scheme.

8. For all media enquiries call the Home Office Press Office on 020 7035 3535.

Contacts:

Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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