It’s not surprising that you’re confused. The vetting and barring scheme was in the process of being implemented when the new government halted its progress. Most people agreed that it was too burdensome and unwieldy. The review confirmed this and a new vetting and barring scheme is to be introduced in its place.
In the meantime, what should schools do? The following regulations from the original scheme still exist and were introduced in October 2009. They include that:
- a person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law if they work, volunteer or try to work with these groups
- an organization who knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups will be breaking the law
- if an organization dismisses a member of staff or volunteer because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult or would have done so if they had not left, the Independent Safeguarding Authority must be informed.
ISA does still exist but all you need worry about at the moment is that if you should have a member of staff who you dismiss or are considering dismissing for child protection reasons, that ISA are informed.
There are further changes pending but these are likely to make compliance easier rather than more complicated. They include:
- abolish registration and monitoring requirements
- redefine the requirements of ‘regulated activities’
- abolish ‘controlled activities’
- create one body to be responsible for criminal records disclosure and independent barring function (merging of the CRB and ISA)
- enable greater portability of the CRB check so that organisations can pay to have them transferred rather than re-doing them
So, the requirement to register with ISA will no longer come into operation and ISA itself is likely to merge with CRB.
When is all this likely to happen?
- February 2011 – introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Bill (the legislation that will enable changes to the present scheme to take place)
- November 2011 – the Bill become law
- 2012 – the provision in the Bill begins to be put into place
- 2012 – a new barring regime is created
- 2012 – introduction of continuous criminal records updating
- 2013 – new disclosure and vetting service begins to work
My advice to you is to continue with your present arrangements until further details of the new vetting and barring scheme emerge. In the end, more decisions about who should be checked will be down to individual schools.
It is likely that you have checks in place for all your staff and as such it will be no great effort to maintain this until all guidance is issued and instructions are clear. In the meantime, at least you do not have any additional requirements to fulfil as far as ISA is concerned.