A press release from the Home Office
Registration with the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) has been halted to allow the government to remodel the scheme back to proportionate, commonsense levels, it was announced today.
Voluntary registration with the VBS for new employees and job-movers working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults was due to start on 26 July.
This registration has now been stopped.
The government recognises that many businesses, community groups and individuals see the current scheme as disproportionate and overly burdensome, and that it unduly infringes on civil liberties.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
"The safety of children and vulnerable adults is of paramount importance to the new government.
"However it is also vital that we take a measured approach in these matters. We've listened to the criticisms and will respond with a scheme that has been fundamentally remodelled.
"Vulnerable groups must be properly protected in a way that is proportionate and sensible. This redrawing of the VBS will ensure this happens."
Children's Minister Tim Loughton said:
"Any vetting system should not be a substitute for proper vigilance by individuals and society. At the moment we think the pendulum has swung too far.
"We shouldn't be driving a wedge between children and well-meaning adults including people coming forward to volunteer with young people. Such individuals should be welcomed, encouraged, and helped as much as possible, unless it can be shown that children would not be safe in their care."
Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:
"Protecting the most vulnerable people in society is a basic duty of any government. While we must be confident that the systems we have in place are up to the job, we must also be sure that they are proportionate.
"We will look in detail at what should be done to ensure that the scheme meets both these tests."
The VBS is designed to protect children and vulnerable adults by preventing those who pose a known risk from gaining access to them through their work.
Existing arrangements under the Scheme which will continue include the following:
- Since January 2009, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has been making independent barring decisions. It will continue to maintain two constantly updated lists, one for those barred from working with children, the other for those barred from working with vulnerable adults;
- Existing requirements concerning Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Access Northern Ireland checks will remain in place, and those entitled to such checks can continue to apply for them; and
- Employers are still legally obliged to refer information to the ISA if they have moved or removed an individual because they have harmed or there is a risk of harm to a member of a vulnerable group.
The scope of the remodelling process - to be co-ordinated by the Home Office in partnership with Department of Health and Department for Education - is currently being finalised and will be announced shortly.
More than 66,000 employers, charities and voluntary groups are now being informed directly of the change. Up to date information is also available to businesses, other organisations and individuals on www.direct.gov.uk/vetting or www.businesslink.gov.uk/vbs.