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Criminal record checks to be scaled back

  • Published: Monday, 14 February 2011

The Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) and criminal records regime are to be scaled back to 'common sense levels', the government has announced. Under the new plans 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.

Changes to VBS and criminal records regime

More about the Vetting and Barring Scheme and pre-employment checks

The government has proposed the following changes to the Vetting and Barring Scheme and criminal records regime:

  • reducing the number of positions that need checks to just those working most closely and regularly with children and vulnerable adults
  • letting criminal records checks be transferred between jobs to cut down on bureaucracy
  • ending the requirement for those working or volunteering with vulnerable groups to register with the VBS and then be continuously monitored by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)
  • merging the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and ISA to form a new body responsible for barring and criminal records checking
  • 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 they don't put people off volunteering.

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."

Care Services minister Paul Burstow said: "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."

Necessary changes in law 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.

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