Our aim is to help protect children and
vulnerable adults by providing a first-class service to support
organisations recruiting people into positions of trust.
News item: Radical shake-up of Criminal Record Regime
and Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS)
More than nine million people working or volunteering with
children and vulnerable adults will no longer need to register and
be monitored by the state following an overhaul of the checking
The government today unveiled plans to scale back the VBS and
Criminal Records Regime to common sense levels while ensuring
vulnerable groups are appropriately protected.
The proposals, which come after a comprehensive review of the
existing system, include:
- the merging of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and
Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to form a streamlined new
body providing a proportionate barring and criminal records
- a large reduction of the number of positions requiring checks
to just those working most closely and regularly with children and
- portability of criminal records checks between jobs to cut down
on needless bureaucracy;
- an end to a requirement for those working or volunteering with
vulnerable groups to register with the VBS and then be continuously
monitored by the ISA; and
- stopping employers who knowingly request criminal records
checks on individuals who are not entitled to them.
The government will also keep the scope of CRB checks under
review to ensure that they are not disincentivising people putting
themselves forward for volunteering.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
“The Freedoms Bill will protect millions of people from state
intrusion in their private lives and mark a return to common sense
government. It delivers on our commitment to restore hard-won
British liberties with sweeping reforms that will end the
unnecessary scrutiny of law-abiding individuals.
“We inherited a messy criminal records regime that developed
piecemeal and defied common sense. Our reviews concluded that the
systems were not proportionate and needed to be less bureaucratic.
They will now be scaled back to sensible levels whilst at the same
time protecting vulnerable people.”
Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said:
“I came into this department and was immediately struck by the
need to look again at the VBS and Criminal Records Regime.
“I feel the changes that are now being made strike the balance
between our own personal liberties whilst ensuring vulnerable
people are protected.”
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said:
“Protecting children and keeping them safe remains our top
priority, but it’s also important that well meaning adults are not
put off working or volunteering with children.
“The new system will be less bureaucratic and less
intimidating. It will empower organisations to ask the right
questions and make all the appropriate pre-employment checks, and
encourage everyone to be vigilant.
“This is a common sense and proportionate approach which will
ensure that children are properly protected without driving a wedge
between them and adults.”
Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:
"Our plans will create a thorough system of checks that won’t
over-burden people with bureaucracy. Vulnerable people and their
families will be able to have confidence in the new safeguards,
while the doctors, nurses, social care workers and many others who
need to be checked will have a more user-friendly system.
"I look forward to working with other departments in putting the
plans into action. Together we will create a better way of
safeguarding some of society's most vulnerable people."
The proposed changes will be introduced gradually to ensure a
The necessary legislative changes will be included in the
Protection of Freedoms Bill. Subject to parliamentary approval, the
Bill is expected to become law by early 2012. The new regime would
be introduced as soon as possible after this.
- Registration for the first wave of workers and volunteers with
the VBS was halted on 15 June pending the remodelling of the system
back to common sense levels.
- The VBS report makes a number of recommendations including a
new streamlined body to provide a national barring system and
criminal records disclosure service. The new scheme will also
capitalise on technological developments to provide an online
checking function for employers and applicants whilst allowing
checks to be transferred easily from one company to another.
- The review of the criminal records regime was carried out by
the independent adviser on criminality information, Sunita Mason. A
number of her recommendations are reflected in the Protection of
Freedoms Bill. Mrs Mason is now continuing with the second phase of
her review, which deals with broader issues relating to the
handling of criminal records. The government will make a full
response to the whole review once this work is complete.
- The review sought views from a range of partners and members of
the public via the ‘Your Freedom’ website which called for
portability of CRB checks from one job to another. This is
one of the proposals that will be introduced under the new
- The latest information can be found at;
News item: Go live announcement for the PVG Scheme in
13 January 2011
The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (PVG)
will now be introduced in Scotland on 28 February, The Scottish
Children's Minister Mr Adam Ingram announced on 12 January
This Scheme had initially been intended to go-live in November
last year but was postponed to ensure that the new IT system was
robust enough to cope with the requirements. This new Scheme is
designed to improve the protection of Scotland's most vulnerable
groups and to ensure that people with a history of harmful or
abusive behaviour are not put in positions of trust with vulnerable
people. Through a membership scheme that continually updates
relevant information, the new process will also improve
arrangements by reducing the need for people to complete a lengthy
application form every time a disclosure is required. The system
will replace the Enhanced Disclosure processes within Part V of the
Police Act 1997 for those positions which involve working with
Children or Protected Adults.
The full news release is available at www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/01/12100422
Further information on the PVG Scheme is available on the
Disclosure Scotland website www.disclosurescotland.co.uk
News item: Equalities Strategy Speech - Historical
22 November 2010
On Wednesday 17 November 2010, The Home
Secretary Theresa May announced plans to tackle inequality by
treating people as individuals rather than labelling them in
The speech, made at the Coin Street Community
Centre in South London also underlined the Government’s ongoing
commitment to equality and fairness. In line with the
Coalition Government’s commitment to reviewing the criminal records
regime, the Home Secretary announced that a measure in the Freedom
Bill will allow people who were prosecuted for consensual gay sex
at a time when this was illegal to apply to have their convictions
removed from the Police National Computer (PNC) and other police
records. As a result, once the Freedom Bill is in place, the
historical convictions will no longer be released as part of a CRB
These provisions will also ensure that an
individual’s sexuality to be respected by preventing any disclosure
as a result of a decriminalised offence being revealed by a CRB
The Freedom Bill is due to be published in
January next year, following which individuals will be able to
apply to have these historical convictions deleted. The
details of the process have not yet been finalised and the
Government will consult with interested organisations about the
implementation of any new arrangements in due course.
This agreement is specifically relating to
offences for consensual gay sex and does not apply to any other