Government makes changes to Vetting & Barring Scheme

The Vetting and Barring Scheme which first came into force in 2009 aims to protect children and vulnerable adults by ensuring that people who are judged to present a risk of harm are not allowed to work with them.

It does this by improving the way barring decisions are made. In the past barring decisions have been taken by Ministers and civil servants. They are now made by an independent body of experts, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), and follow a clear and structured judgement process, which is about assessing the risk of future harm based on the information that is known about the individual.

The Vetting and Barring Scheme states that:

  • a person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law if they work or volunteer, or try to work or volunteer with those groups

  • an organisation which knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups will also be breaking the law

  • if your organisation works with children or vulnerable adults and you dismiss a member of staff or a volunteer because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or you would have dismissed them if they had not left, you must tell the ISA.

From 10 September 2012 following a review, the Government is scaling back the scheme to a more 'common sense' approach, giving more responsibility to the employer.

The key changes to the disclosure and barring scheme include :-

  • abolishing registration and monitoring requirements

  • redefining the scope of ‘regulated activities’

  • abolishing ‘controlled activities’ , however a barring function will be maintained

  • the minimum age at which an individual can apply for a CRB check is 16 years of age

  • the services of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will be merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) operational from December 2012

The Government has produced a publication detailing the changes to the disclosure and barring, and this can be accessed via the attached link.