CRR & VBS Reviews – FAQ

The results of two reviews into the future approach to Vetting and Criminal Records was announced in Februiary 2011.  The reviews were:

  • A Common Sense Approach – the independent review of the Criminal Records Regime by Sunita Mason

  • The internal review of the Vetting & Barring Scheme (VBS)

Click here for a Quick Summary of  the CRB & VBS Reviews  with all the recommendations divided by topic.

Links to the key documents are here: 

The main head lines from the two reviews are as follows:

  • The Vetting & Barring scheme will be abolished, therefore, there will be no registration scheme.  However existing legislation that came in in 2009 stands until abolished. 
  •  The CRB & ISA will be merged and  the new combined body will continue to run disclosures,  the barring lists and make barring decisions.  
  •  The definition of regulated activity will be the tool by which the scope of criminal records checks and the numbers of people impacted will be managed.  Although the media reports that it will be significantly scaled back, who is eligible,  the level of contact and frequency is not yet clear.
  • Controlled activity will not be retained, which reduces the coverage by c 500,000 people such as pharmacy and opticians assistants in retail outlets.
  • The definitions of Children and Vulnerable Adults is also a mechanism by which the scheme can be scaled back.   
  • The CRB Disclosure will become fully portable and employers will be able to check (on-line) for updates. 
  • The CRB Disclosure will be sent to the applicant who can show it to employers, who will not get a copy directly
  • Penalties will be introduced for employers who knowingly do unnecessary checks, supervised by the Information Commissioner.


Frequently Asked Questions about the new approach to CRB Disclosure and Barring Service 

Some of the commonly asked questions and answers about the criminal records review are below. 

Who is conducting these reviews?

The review of  the Criminal Records Regime will be led by Mrs Sunita Mason, the Government’s Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management. 

The review of the VBS will be conducted jointly by officials from Department for Education, Department of Health and the Home Office.

What is Sunita Mason’s background?

Mrs Sunita Mason is the former Director of Legal Services for the National Youth Advocacy Service. She is a leading family law solicitor and a member of the Law Society Children Panel. She is the Chair of the Law Society’s Family Law Committee, and also holds a judicial position, sitting as a Deputy District Judge on the North-Eastern circuit. She is also a director and vice-chair of Hill Holt Wood, a charity working with disadvantaged young people excluded from mainstream education.

What will the CRB and ISA be doing during the review period?

 Although the government has indicated that they intend to ‘review the criminal records and vetting and barring regime’, which encompasses both the CRB and ISA , it is business as usual for both organisations as the current legislation still remains in force.  Therefore changes made when the Vetting and Barring Scheme was launched in October 2009 are still in place, as is eligibility for CRB  disclosures – those entitled to checks can continue to apply for them.

When will CRB checks be legally portable?

In October 2010, the CRB said it would adopt an idea suggested by the public through the Spending Challenge process so that CRB disclosures could become portable.  Thiswould save time and money by reducing the need for multiple checks, but will require legislation.  This is likely to be included in the Freedom Bill once detailed proposals have been modelled, developed and tested.  Since current CRB disclosures are a snapshot in time, continuous updating would be a desirable aspect to include.  More about Portability

Where can I find more information ?

The CRB has a detailed FAQ page covering a range of aspects about the organisation and application process

How can I get more briefing for my organisation ?

It is unlikely that the government will set up briefing events to communicate the results of the reviews.  ">Contact us if you would like a briefing event organsied for your sector or organisation