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
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
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
Barnardo’s has published a report highlighting that children as young as 13 are being released from custody into unsafe or unsuitable accommodation, which can lead to a cycle of homelessness and reoffending. The research found that supported accommodation could provide savings of more than £67,000 per child over a three year period. Continue reading Children leaving custody at risk
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
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.
Following a number of enquiries, we are organising a briefing event in London on Thursday, 14th April with Simon Morrison, previously Head of Communications for the VBS , Mark Williams-Thomas, a criminologist who is frequently interviewed in the media about child protection issues and Liz Morrison who led the VBS roadshow programme. Continue reading Expert briefing – London 14th April
The chief executive of the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), Simon Bass, has highlighted that there are major loopholes in the Protection of Freedoms Bill that will be exploited by those determined to abuse children and vulnerable adults. He said that the Government’s plans to scale back the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) “will make it easier, not harder, for unscrupulous sexual predators to abuse in churches.”
The VBS Remodelling Review document recognises that removing barring arrangements for some activities could give rise to an increase in safeguarding risks. He was concerned that the review gave Sunday-school helpers as an example of where criminal records checks would not be required . He explained that a convicted abuser who is banned from working in a ‘regulated activity’, such as teaching, may, without any checks, alternatively gain access to children through becoming a Sunday-school helper, with potentially devastating consequences. Mr Bass said
“these changes show that the Government is prepared to tolerate a level of risk in churches that we — with long and painful experience of dealing with abusers in church — find unacceptable. We think it inevitable that potential predators will see children in churches as soft targets and will act accordingly.”
He agreed with other commentators that proposals in the Freedom Bill to allow the sharing of CRB checks between employers was “eminently sensible”.
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
The UK Supreme Court has ruled that lifelong monitoring on the UK’s sex offenders register is a disproportionate interference in the offender’s family lives and have granted two convicted sex offenders the right to challenge their inclusion on it. The case paves the way for other offenders to seek to have their details removed.
Offenders are placed on the register for life if they are sentenced to 30 months or more in jail, and once released have to notify police about where they are living and what name they are using. There are some 32,000 registered sex offenders in England and Wales and approximately half of them received sentences leading to lifelong monitoring. Continue reading Sex offenders register challenged
The Capita Group has been appointed as preferred supplier by the Department for Education to run the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).
TPS online provides the current quick check facility for barred status. Continue reading Capita win Education contract
The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has applied for a judicial review of the refusal by the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, to identify and contact children who may have been unlawfully restrained in privately run secure training centres.
Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, all prison and probation officers would have been checked and monitored for their ongoing suitablity for the role as prisoners and people on probation would have been considered as being ‘vulnerable adults’. It remains to be clarified whether this promised level of protection will be compromised under the halving of the numbers defined as doing ‘regulated activity’ under the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Continue reading Judicial review of unlawful child restraint
The NHS is failing to treat elderly patients in England with care, dignity and respect, an official report says. Of nearly 9,000 complaints made to the Health Ombudsman last year, 18% were about the care of older people. In total, it accepted 226 cases for investigation – twice as many as for all the other age groups combined. Continue reading NHS fails elderly vulnerable adults
Volunteering England, Fair play for Children, NACRO, NSPCC and Barnados are among those who have commented about the impact of the new disclosure and vetting laws on volunteering. Continue reading Mixed response from voluntary sector
On the day that the changes to the Vetting and Disclosure system were announced, two relevant cases were highlighted. William Mayne, the author who abused his relationships with children after meeting them in schools, and Brixton photographer David Trainer. Continue reading William Mayne, David Trainer
The London Safeguarding Children Board has launched a new set of guidance and tools to help social workers, teachers, police, health workers and other agencies identify and support children who have been trafficked. These children can be subjected to sexual exploitation, enforced labour or drug dealing, sold or forced to commit crime by the organised gangs or individuals who have brought them into the country or trafficked them between cities within the UK. Continue reading New guidance to tackle child trafficking
About 500 people a month are being referred to Leicestershire police’s newly formed specialist adult referral unit. It was created to ensure vulnerable adults do not slip through the net following criticism after the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter in October 2007. Ms Pilkington killed herself and her daughter Francecca after years of torment from yobs. Continue reading 500 referrals to Pilkington unit each month
An article in the Telegraph pre-empts the announcement about the results of the criminal records regime review by Sunita Mason and the parallel one into the Vetting & Barring Scheme. Headline: “An anti-paedophile vetting scheme that would have involved nine million adults will be ripped up next week in a major reworking of how background checks are conducted.” Continue reading CRB & ISA to merge into new body
The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, raised five areas of concern about children being groomed for sexual exploitation. His question in the House of Lords was what steps are being taken to ensure the safety of children, especially of children in the care of local authorities, from being groomed for sexual exploitation. Continue reading Lords debate exploitation of children
It has been confirmed that on 28 February 2011, the Scottish Government is to introduce a membership scheme to replace the current disclosure arrangements for people who work with vulnerable groups.
Continue reading Scottish PVG Scheme launch date confirmed