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More changes to vetting and barring

Ever since the POVA list was scrapped and the Independent Safeguarding Authority with its vetting and barring scheme was introduced, the system has been plagued with allegations that it is cumbersome, impractical and ineffective. In June 2010, the Government announced that the planned implementation of this scheme was to be halted. They agreed to a thorough review which would look to scale back the application of the vetting and barring scheme to what they called “common sense levels”.

The review of vetting and barring schemes has now come to fruition in the form of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which received Royal Assent on 1 May 2012. Whilst this is not yet in force and will be phased in once the timetable is agreed, the changes that it makes includes:

  • Merging the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority into one organisation to be known as Disclosure and Barring Service due to be up and running by December 2012
  • Redefining what amounts to a “regulated activity”, i.e. the roles subject to the barring requirements currently administered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority and abolishing “controlled activities”
  • Introducing a system of criminal records checks that allows for continuous updating of criminal record data, making the system more accurate and also allowing increased portability of criminal record checks between jobs
  • Abolishing the introduction of registration and monitoring requirements, for instance registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority

The first changes are expected to come into force in early September 2012 and in Spring 2013, the plan is to introduce a new online criminal records updating system and single applicant only certificates. This means that CRB certificates will be issued to the applicant only, rather than to both employer and applicant.

Remember that until the changes come into force, the barring function will be maintained and an organisation that knowingly employs a barred individual to work with children or vulnerable adults will also be breaking the law. Similarly staff who are dismissed or leave in circumstances where they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult must still be referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.


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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