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Care home briefing 90 – Review of vetting and barring scheme

The new Vetting and Barring Scheme run by the Independent Safeguarding Authority was due to come into force this year. However, the new coalition government almost immediately suspended some aspects of this and ordered a review.

The purpose of the review is to consider afresh the principles and objectives of the scheme. The protection of children and vulnerable adults will be paramount. However, the government have also said that they wish to ensure that the arrangements are proportionate.

The terms of reference for the review are as follows:

  • Consider the fundamental principles and objectives behind the vetting and barring regime, including;
  • Evaluating the scope of the scheme’s coverage;
  • The most appropriate function, role and structures of any relevant safeguarding bodies and appropriate governance arrangements;
  • Recommending what, if any, scheme is needed now, taking into account how to raise awareness and understanding of risk and responsibility for safeguarding in society more generally.

In parallel, the government have announced a review of the criminal records regime.

This is to be undertaken in two phases:

In Phase 1:

  • Could the balance between civil liberties and public protection be improved by scaling back the employment vetting systems which involve the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)?
  • Where Ministers decide such systems are necessary, could they be made more proportionate and less burdensome?
  • Should police intelligence form part of CRB disclosures?

In Phase 2:

  • How should the content of a criminal record be defined?
  • Where should criminal records be kept and who should be responsible for managing them?
  • Who should have access to criminal records data bases, for what purposes and subject to what controls and checks? To what extent should police intelligence be disclosed?
  • What capacity should individuals have to access, challenge and correct their own criminal records?
  • Could the administration of criminal records be made more straightforward, efficient and cost effective?
  • Could guidance and information on the operation of the criminal records regime be improved?
  • How effective is the integration of overseas data in the criminal records regime?

It is anticipated that the reviews will be completed and recommendations forthcoming at the beginning of 2011. In the meantime, the Criminal Records Bureau will continue as usual.


One change to the CRB which has already been confirmed is the portability of CRB checks. It has been announced that the CRB will allow employers to share CRB checks and thus reduce the need for multiple checks. Legislation on this is to be introduced in due course.

Andrew Parsons
© RadcliffesLeBrasseur


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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