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”.
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
- The need for checks to be drastically reduced to ‘common sense’ levels -now it will only apply to those who have the most close and regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, such as professional childcare workers or teachers. The total number who will need to undergo background checks will halve to around 4.5million, although who this includes does not appear to have been defined judging from the interview given by Nick Clegg his morning on BBC.
- Continual updating and portability will be enabled so that teachers and care home workers who do require checks will have their records constantly updated. This is seen as a key benefit and was already planned in by CRB.
- The content of CRBs will be reviewed – for instance the changes will also drastically cut the use of ‘soft intelligence’ when examining a person’s history. Unproven allegations will only be placed on a person’s record if a Chief Constable believes they are true.
Checks that are unnecessary and which breach an employee’s privacy could be referred to the data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner, and any employer found knowingly to have requested an unlawful check could face fines running to thousands of pounds. This will prevent the over zealous use of CRBs such as the school in Warrington that would not be allowed into the premises to see their children.
- the Independent Safeguarding Authority will be merged with the Criminal Records Bureau. Continue reading Reduced CRB regime announced
On BBC News, Mark Williams-Thomas a ex-policeman and specialist in child safeguarding gave the following interview:
Click to play
See also our page tracking stakeholder comments
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
From Hansard – written answer relating to the future of the ISA Continue reading Questions as the VBS review is awaited
Theresa May announced that further implementation of the vetting and barring scheme would be halted pending a review of the scheme. Continue reading Launch of Scheme delayed