Vetting and barring scheme: what can charities expect?

A new system will replace CRB checks next year. Clare Smith, director of human resources at Leonard Cheshire Disability, explains how it will work and how you can have your say

Clare Smith, Director of Human Resources, Leonard Cheshire Disability
Clare Smith, Director of Human Resources, Leonard Cheshire Disability

Anything that helps to protect vulnerable people is to be welcomed, but it is important to strike a balance between bureaucracy and effectiveness.

In October 2010, the new Vetting and Barring Scheme will replace the current system of CRB checks, and another layer of bureaucracy will be added to the already difficult task of attracting good employees and volunteers.

Between 2010 and 2015, 11 million people working with children and vulnerable adults are likely to be registered with the scheme. So what extra protection will the new VBS scheme provide?  

Staff and volunteers who have frequent or regular contact with children or vulnerable adults will need an enhanced disclosure, as at present.  

The disclosure will then be sent to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, which will check it against what used to be the Protection of Vulnerable Adults and Protection of Vulnerable Children lists and list 99, which is what the CRB checks do at the moment.  

The key difference is that the ISA will then also compare the disclosure against a list of very high-level criminal offences, and will then make a decision about whether to register the person or not.  

There are some really good things about the Vetting and Barring Scheme. For example, an individual employer will be able to obtain a CRB check on their carer, or their child's piano teacher.  

The scheme will be kept up to date as people's convictions change, so employers can check on the status of their staff.  In theory, this should mean that staff and volunteers should only ever need one CRB check, which would be transferable.  

The ISA has promised to consult on the rules and it will be holding meetings to explain the new scheme, so take this opportunity to have your say.  

You can also contact your sector CRB consultative group, the CRB or the ISA with your views.

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