Category: Parliamentary Affairs

Updated definition of Regulated Activity for Adults

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November 2, 2012 5:49 am

From 10 September 2012, the definition of regulated activity related to ‘vulnerable adults’ will change. The Department of Health has published information on the scope of regulated activity in relation to adults: link here: Regulated Activity (adults)

Regulated activities are the activities that the Independent Safeguarding Authority can bar people from doing. It is a criminal offence for a barred person to seek to work, or work in, activities from which they are barred. It is also a criminal offence for employers or voluntary organisations to knowingly employ a barred person in regulated activity.

Regulated Activity (adults) sets out the scope of the barring regime for adults from 10 September 2012. For people who work in these roles the Criminal Records Bureau can provide an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate with information about whether the individual is barred from working in regulated activity.

Some of the changes were made by secondary legislation – links available here:
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/2112)
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 2012 (SI 2012/2113)


‘Death in Custody’ crime created

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September 1, 2011 9:31 am

A ‘Deaths in custody’ corporate manslaughter crime has been created so that Police and other authorities can now be prosecuted over deaths in custody in England, Scotland and Wales.

BBC News highlights that the new legislation of  The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act, which has now come into effect means police forces, the MoD, UK Border Agency and private firms managing people held in custody can be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter. Corporations can already be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter or for the equivalent offence (corporate homicide) in Scotland.  The extension of these offences to public bodies involved in detention means they could be prosecuted if they failed to ensure the safety of someone in their care.  Examples could include deaths during an immigration removal or when someone has been restrained using an unauthorised or badly taught body hold.

The law does not cover incidents abroad, such as where someone dies in the custody of British forces. However, British nationals can be convicted of causing a death through gross negligence, even if the fatality occurred overseas.  The provisions are not retrospective, meaning the law could not apply to cases such as Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan man who died during his deportation in October 2010.

Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act of 2006, priosoners were included as ‘vulnerable adults’.  However the Protection of Freedoms Bill will remove this status when it becomes law.

Continue reading '‘Death in Custody’ crime created'»


Review of vulnerable adult protection in NI

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August 18, 2011 10:23 am

There will be a review of vulnerable adult protection in Northern Ireland.

Edwin Poots,The Northern Ireland Health Minister is looking into creating new policy to ensure the protection of vulnerable adults in care.  His announcement of a review of the system came after the number of people alleging abuse against vulnerable adults was revealed to be 1,184 referrals to health trusts in 2009-2010, the last year for which there is accurate data.  Of these 1,184 referrals almost two-thirds, 750, were considered serious enough for a protection plan to be put in place.

Responsibility for child protection falls to the department of health and the five health and social care trusts who are individually responsible for providing residential care services to children and young people within their areas.

There were also 1,271 child protection referrals for the quarter ending 31 March 2011, which was almost 20% higher compared with both the previous quarter and the same quarter in 2010. Continue reading 'Review of vulnerable adult protection in NI'»


Whistleblowing in Health & Social Care

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July 27, 2011 3:28 pm
Whistleblowing in Health and Social Care settings will be under close scrutiny as former health secretary Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the Health Select Committee, announces that there will be a parliamentary inquiry into claims that NHS ‘whistleblowers’ who reveal poor standards of care in the health service are being ostracised and even having their careers ruined.

At the same time, the committee has accused the General Medical Council (GMC) of putting people at risk by not stamping out sub-standard practices in the health service. In a report the committee said: “Some of the decisions made by fitness-to-practise panels of the GMC defy logic and go against the core task of the GMC in maintaining the confidence of its stakeholders. Furthermore, they put the public at risk of poor medical practice.”
Continue reading 'Whistleblowing in Health & Social Care'»


Police pick up charging powers from CPS

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May 23, 2011 8:57 pm

The power to decide charges for those suspected of crimes will be passed from the Crown Prosecution Service to the police under plans announced by the Home Secretary on 9th May.   Theresa May said the Home Office will pilot doubling the number of charges transferred to the police, making them responsible for 80% of charging decisions, including shoplifting cases.

Rationale for change

Charging defendants by post was among other measures outlined today to provide a ‘new, simpler and potentially quicker’ way of bringing a defendant to court for a prosecution.  May said that in ‘appropriate bail cases’, this will allow officers to send a written charge by post, requiring the defendant to attend court on a specific date to answer the charge, rather than calling the suspect back to the police station.

The moves are part of raft of changes  aimed at reducing police bureaucracy and giving police more control over the way they operate. They follow up a pledge made by the home secretary a year ago to give the police more freedom.

The Home Office estimates that the package of reforms could save over 2.5 million police hours every year, the equivalent of 1,200 police officer posts.

Background statistics

Under the present arrangements the police can only charge in these cases when a guilty plea is anticipated. 

The CPS took over charging decisions in the most serious, sensitive and complex cases in 2006, but police always retained around 67% of all charging decisions – made up of high volumes of less serious cases.  The CPS will continue to make charging decisions in the most complex and serious cases.   ‘The ‘Public Prosecutions’ Guidance on Charging’ set outs these new charging responsibilities for police officers and the role of prosecutors.


Bill to build awareness of abuse of elderly people

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May 23, 2011 8:43 pm

A Bill to promote awareness of abuse of elderly people  entitled ‘Support and Protection for Elderly People and Adults at Risk of Abuse Bill 2010-11′ has been introduced under the Ten Minute Rule motion by Nigel Dodd MP.

It is expected to scheduled to have its Second Reading debate on 21 October 2011.  It’s objectives are:

  •  to promote awareness of abuse of elderly people and adults at risk,
  • to promote training on how to recognise and respond to such abuse amongst those who are likely to encounter abuse in the course of their work,
  • to promote greater awareness and understanding of the rights of victims of abuse amongst agencies with responsibilities for providing, arranging, commissioning, monitoring and inspecting care services,
  • to promote the development of local strategies for preventing abuse of elderly people and adults at risk and for ensuring that victims are assisted in recovering from the effects of abuse’

GTCE handover responsibility for teacher misconduct and barring in April 2012

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April 13, 2011 6:42 pm

The General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) will be handing over its regulatory functions to the Department for Education in April 2012, from which time Mr Gove will become accountable for cases of teacher misconduct and maintaining the list of those barred. The changes were outlined in the recent Education Bill, which is currently being scrutinised by Parliamentary committee. Continue reading 'GTCE handover responsibility for teacher misconduct and barring in April 2012'»


PQ follows up NSPCC Safeguarding concerns

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March 31, 2011 12:50 pm
    Lord Hunt asked a Parliamentary Question about ” what response the Government  have made to the concerns of the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children that the proposed changes to child protection measures could put children at risk”  

PQ on EU Criminal Record exchange

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March 22, 2011 3:37 pm

In a Parliamentary Question Anas Sarwar  asked what steps the Home Office is taking to increase sharing of criminal records files with other EU member states.  Lynne Featherstone  replied in a written statement as follows:

Criminal record exchange within the European Union takes place within the framework of Council Decision 2005/876/JHA on the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record. Between 2007-08 and 2009-10 the amount of criminal convictions exchanged has increased:

  • Notifications received of UK nationals convicted in the EU increased from 3,120 to 6,298.
  • The number of notifications from the UK to other member states about the convictions of one of their nationals here has increased from 12,736 in 2007-08 (when only the first conviction of an EU national was sent) to 33,583 in 2009-10 (when all convictions were sent).
  • The number of requests received for the criminal record of UK citizens subject to criminal proceedings in other member states has increased from 190 to 341 in the same time period.
  • The number of requests made by the UK police and law enforcement agencies in relation to EU nationals subject to criminal proceedings here increased from 2,372 to 6,513.

Continue reading 'PQ on EU Criminal Record exchange'»


Ofsted Consultation on School Inspections

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March 22, 2011 3:21 pm

Ofsted has launched a consultation on the inspection of maintained schools and academies in England, following proposals announced in the 2011 Education Bill.  This Bill aims to re-focus school inspection on  the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom, backed by leadership and good discipline in schools. The consultation seeks views on how Ofsted will implement these changes, including when Ofsted should inspect.

Outstanding schools will no longer be subject to routine inspections unless concerns about their performance are identified, and the consultation asks for views on the factors inspectors should consider when assessing whether an inspection is needed. In addition, it asks for views on plans to carry out more frequent inspections of weaker schools and on the circumstances in which schools may request an inspection.   Ofsted will also be testing the new inspection arrangements in pilot inspections, with a view to introducing the new system in January 2012, subject to the successful passage of the Education Bill. Continue reading 'Ofsted Consultation on School Inspections'»


Freedoms Bill committee stage

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March 21, 2011 2:41 pm

The Protection of Freedoms Bill Committee will hear oral evidence on Tuesday 22 and Thursday 24 March, these meetings are open to the public. The Committee will then continue to consider the Bill every Tuesday and Thursday from that point concluding on Tuesday 17 May.  The relevant times for the safeguarding regime aspects of the Bill are below: Continue reading 'Freedoms Bill committee stage'»


CRB fee increase

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March 16, 2011 8:22 am

CRB has announced an £8 increase  for Enhanced Disclosures to £44.00, effective from 6th April 2011 .  The Standard CRB Check  (£26.00) and  ISA Adult First check  (£6.00) remain at existing prices and CRB checks will remain free of charge for volunteers .

The justification for the increase is a direct link to the Government’s decision to scale back the Vetting and Barring Scheme andwill fund the retained elements of the Scheme without the income which would have been raised through the £64 fee for registration.   This will cover the ISA’s budgeted costs of £17.1m per year – with the remaining money covering the other retained elements of the Scheme and contribute towards the development of the current criminal records regime, including portability.


Scale of CRB checks on Volunteers

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March 14, 2011 3:45 pm

The Daily Mail reported on a press release by the Manifesto Club about the scale of volunteer vetting.  “Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that almost a million checks were made last year, a six-fold increase since the CRB was launched in 2002.”

 The Club, which campaigns against over-regulation, claims that many local authorities – even Tory ones – are still demanding ‘blanket’ vetting of volunteers.   Josie Appleton, director of the Manifesto Club, said: ‘The  Government has made some fine statements criticising over-use  of the CRB checks but these haven’t affected anything on the ground.  ‘CRB checking is leading to the collapse of valuable community services and the loss of the best and most generous volunteers in our communities.’

A Home Office spokesman said the CRB was working to restore ‘proportionality’ to its service and added: ‘We are also clear that there are occasions that these checks are vital to protect public safety.’

Daily Mail Article


Sunita Mason to conduct NI review

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March 14, 2011 10:43 am

Sunita Mason, the Government’s Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management, is reviewing the Criminal Records Regime in Northern Ireland and is seeking stakeholders opinions. 

The Northern Ireland Criminal Records Regime (NICRR) review will examine the use of the criminal record disclosure system for employment vetting in Northern Ireland to determine whether this is proportionate ,while still protecting the public and vulnerable groups.

 It will consider specific  aspects of AccessNI’s work ,  how criminal records are currently managed in Northern Ireland and consider whether there are any improvements that could be made.  The consultation will be open until 13 May.

Terms of Reference

Submissions to Consultation


Public access to Sentencing Records

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March 8, 2011 4:39 pm

Policing Minister Nick Herbert has indicated that details of sentences handed down to criminals could be published online in future, making public access to sentencing records much easier. 

He said he hoped to build on the success of the new crime-mapping website which shows how many offences have been committed in particular streets:  ”This website is a strong example of this government’s commitment to greater transparency in public services, giving communities the information they need to hold their local police to account.” Continue reading 'Public access to Sentencing Records'»


Sport challenges safeguarding changes

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March 8, 2011 11:20 am

An alliance of Sports Governing Bodies are challenging the new definition of Regulated Activity that is emerging from study of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Some of the proposed details are open to interpretation and will have significant impact on established practice and policies.   For instance :

  • Regulated Activity will no longer include any supervised teaching, training or instruction. In a sporting context, this requires clear definition. as the environment is so different to a school.  The Faith sector are also likely to be unhappy with the implications of this change.
  • Current proposals are that only the applicant will receive the CRB disclosure. Clarity is needed on how National Sports Governing Bodies, and other professional regulators will receive this
  • There will be a charge for the updating service. How this will work for volunteers and whether they will still be able to get checks for free is not clear.

Continue reading 'Sport challenges safeguarding changes'»


Second Reading of Freedoms Bill

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March 1, 2011 5:49 pm

The second reading of the Protection of Freedoms Bill will take place on Tuesday 1 March in the House of Commons. This is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the Bill. The Government minister, spokesperson or MP responsible for the Bill opens the second reading debate. The official Opposition spokesperson then responds with their views on the Bill.  Key points from the debate will be added here.

Continue reading 'Second Reading of Freedoms Bill'»


PQ about CRB income

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February 28, 2011 11:19 am

A parliamentary question  by Frank Field was answered by Lynne Featherstone and indicated that there were 4,294,977 certificates issued to Registered Bodies in 2009-10.  933,271 applications were for voluntary positions which the CRB issues free of charge.  Full text below  Continue reading 'PQ about CRB income'»


Your chance to be heard

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February 25, 2011 1:11 pm

The Protection of Freedoms Bill is the first time that a new element called a “Public Reading Stage” will be introduced.  It means that members of the public can comment directly on clauses of the Bill. These comments should contribute to the points made by MPs across all parties during the debates and committee stages – so it is an important opportunity.  

The website can be found here – http://publicreadingstage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk  – do add your perspectives with practical examples from your sector as this a very complex area which has been subject to  sweeping misrepresentation in the media.  Since only very low level stakeholder engagement is likely this is the best opportunity to amend some aspects of the legislation such as the availability of disclosures, scope of regulated activity and the level of guidance available. 

Also register with us so that you receive our briefing papers on each of these topics and more.


Changes to Sex Offenders Register

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February 18, 2011 2:23 pm

The Government response to the Supreme Court ruling about the human rights of sex offenders is to make the minimum possible changes to the law in order to comply with the ruling.  These are summarised below. Continue reading 'Changes to Sex Offenders Register'»


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