Joy Arkley Director of the HRDept Wales once again has released this timely press release:
Businesses who have workers and volunteers working in environments where there are children or vulnerable adults are still awaiting further news on whether the much maligned Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) will be scrapped or how far the VBS will be scaled back following the coalition halting the registration scheme and ordering a review of the VBS back in the summer 2010 by Theresa May, Home Secretary.
The scheme was to be administered by the now ‘under review’ quango, following a leaked Whitehall memo, The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The VBS originally designed to register nearly 11 million volunteers and workers was devised by Labour but following an outcry on its scope it was refined to volunteers or workers if they performed duties in a regulated activity. A regulated activity is where an individual in a paid or voluntary capacity works closely with children or vulnerable adults on a frequent basis. This means there were likely to be 9 million people registered under the scheme over a period time. Workers seeking paid or unpaid work in, or moving to another, regulated activity would have been forced to register with the VBS from 1st November 2010, failure to do so would have resulted in a £5000 for the individual if they tried to secure work without registering.
As the registration has now been halted businesses are now awaiting the outcome of the Home Secretary’s review and calls have been made recently by many commentators, including Civitas, an independent think tank, that the scheme should actually be scrapped all together because it is a ‘disproportionate interference’ that doesn’t make children safer. The NSPCC said the coalition government needed to "strike the right balance between keeping children safe and not deterring adults from volunteering or working with children", when considering its review.
Businesses will need clear guidance on what is going to happen next as the initial proposals for the VBS were fraught with confusing messages about who should actually register and it was causing concern in many volunteering and business sectors.
Naturally checks should always be carried out on individuals working in environments where children and vulnerable adults are being supervised or cared for and since its introduction in October 2009 the ISA has been administering two important lists barring individual who shouldn’t be working within these environments; the ISA Adults’ Barred List and the ISA Children’s Barred List. Employers also have a duty to inform the ISA should they dismiss workers or cease using volunteers in regulated activities because they think they have harmed or pose a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults. It goes without saying that employers must also not employ, or use a volunteer, who is a barred person on the ISA’s lists.
Joy Arkley,Director of The HR Dept West Wales comments that “Employers should still ensure they carry out the right checks as even if the VBS is not scrapped and scaled back or even replaced, it was never designed to replace established Criminal Records checks (CRB’s) or legal right to work checks in these environments. It seems common sense that there as rigid as checks as possible to protect vulnerable individuals, but businesses will want to ensure they have clear guidance on any scheme, on who they have to check, therefore we await the findings of the review with anticipation to see its impact”.
The HR Dept West Wales specialise in advising small and medium sized businesses on all employment and HR issues.
Member since: 10th July 2012
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