Latest (Jun 2010) News on the Vetting and Barring Scheme

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Jun 152010

Having spent the best part of a weekend trying to understand the latest ISA “Guidance” document and update the appropriate chapter for the Ops Manual the news today that the government have halted progress of the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) was greeted with mixed feelings!

The VBS will now be reviewed and the need for new volunteers to register from Nov of this year is no more.  Further information will appear here as we know more.  However, do remember that certain bits of associated legislation introduced in Oct 09 remain in force.   In particular :-

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.

If Remap knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups we will also be breaking the law.

If Remap dismisses a volunteer (or they leave)  because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult we must tell the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

It is also still possible for local authorities to insist upon CRB checks being carried out on Panel members if the Panel does work for the LA or accepts grants from it.  They shouldn’t, as Remap work is not a “Regulated Activity” as defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.  However,  some do.

ISA – Introduction

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Feb 062010

The introduction of the ISA continues onwards.  The latest (Dec 09) pronouncements appear to take Remap out of the legislative need to register all members however local authorities may still require this for Panels or individuals working with them.  There is somewhat of a lack of guidance from the ISA on the whole issue and all we can say at the moment is “watch this space”. 

Currently it seems the most probable outcome will be that there will be no blanket requirement for all Remap members to be ISA registered however :-

  1. Some members may in their work with Remap exceed the statutory contact limits.  They will need to ensure that if it looks as if this might happen they register with the ISA or make sure they alter their contact arrangements to avoid exceeding the limits.
  2. Local Authorities are unfortunately quite likely to impose more restrictive conditions than the law requires and insist upon registration of individuals in organisations they work with even when it is not otherwise necessary.  Regrettably they are perfectly entitled to do this under the current safeguarding legislation.  This would not necessarily mean every member of a Panel which works with such an authority requiring registration but those working on jobs arising out of LA tasking would require to be registered. 

Incidentally the ISA scheme does not altogether replace the existing CRB checks which will still continue to be available.  It is possible some Panels will come across particularly risk averse local authorities or other quangos/public bodies who will require both ISA registration and enhanced CRB checks.  Most of the ISA guidance still refers to the October rules and take no account of the changes made in December.  Until some of these documents are amended we can do little more than wait.

We are continuing to investigate how HQ can help with registration if it is needed because although the checks themselves are free to volunteers they must be done through “umbrella bodies” who often charge an administration fee of £15-£25 per application.