Independent Safeguarding Authority agrees to review volunteer vetting system

Chair Sir Roger Singleton will respond to concerns about regulations

Volunteering groups have welcomed the announcement that the chair of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, Sir Roger Singleton, is to revisit a new system for vetting people who work with children.

Under the scheme, which was to be introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from October, anyone that has "frequent or intensive" contact with children or vulnerable adults was to have been checked by the authority and would face a £5,000 fine if they failed to register for the checks by July 2010. 

But children's secretary Ed Balls said yesterday that it was important to define "frequent or intensive" contact correctly. He said he had asked Singleton to review this and report by December.

Today Singleton told the BBC that he accepted it was necessary to seek a better definition of the meaning of "frequent or intensive".

Debbie Usiskin, vice-chair of the Association of Volunteer Managers, said: "Volunteers who work with vulnerable people need to be monitored and managed continuously. The new vetting and barring scheme will be an extremely complex process, so we are very glad it is being considered in more depth."

Mike Locke, director of public affairs at Volunteering England, said: "It is important that the scheme is seriously examined and considered. We would expect it to put some people off volunteering if it was not properly thought through, so it is good that there will be more time to make sure it is as user-friendly as possible in its implementation."

Third Sector reported last week that volunteering groups and opposition politicians feared the new system was intrusive and would put people off volunteering, particularly in the case of parents driving other people's children to sports and social clubs.



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