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The Vetting and Barring Scheme

Monday 1st Oct 2012

You may remember back in 2009/ 2010, all parts of the NHS and other organisations who provide services to children and vulnerable adults were preparing for the implementation of major new regulations relating to working and safeguarding.  It appeared the a very complex new scheme was about to be implemented that would have resulted in around 11 million workers having to register with a new Independent Safeguarding Authority and being subject to ongoing monitoring of their suitability to perform their role.

The coalition government put a halt on this scheme instantly and begin the process of reviewing to develop a scheme that would protect children and vulnerable adults but was manageable and affordable for employers. The results of their review are now about to come into force and need to be understood by all employers.

The New Scheme and Timescale

10th September 2012

  • A revised definition of regulated activity
  • Removal of the term “controlled activity”
  • No requirement for individuals to be registered or subject o to monitoring
  • Minimum age for CRB check is 16

December 2012

  • CRB and ISA merge to become The Disclosure and Barring Service

The changes that have been made to the scheme will make it much more manageable for small employers such as GP practices  and also takes away n onerous responsibility from every individual.

Definition of Regulated Activity

Regulated activity is defined in the regulation for both children and adults. Someone provides regulated activity for children if they perform:

  • Unsupervised activities including caring for, providing guidance or advice on well being
  • Work in an establishment where there is opportunity for contact
  • Relevant personal care including healthcare

The definition for regulated activity for adults is different.

Adults are no longer defined as vulnerable as a definition, the regulated activity is defined by the setting in which it is delivered. People carrying out the following activities and their supervisors  will be covered by the regulations:

  • Those providing healthcare
  • Those providing personal care – washing and feeding ( for example)
  • Those providing social care

Responsibility of the Employer

ISA will remain the body who manage the lists of people identified as being unsuitable to work with children or adults who are vulnerable and they make decisions to bar people from such work where appropriate. It remains an offence for  any employer to employ a barred person in such a role. There are two separate lists and individuals could be on one or both.

Employers also have a responsibility to refer to ISA details of any person who has , during their employment, harmed a child or vulnerable person – or where there was a risk of harm.  This would often be following the use of the practice’s disciplinary procedure , although employers must also make this referral if the individual left before the process was used or they were dismissed.

Every practice will need to review the roles and responsibilities of the clinical team and consider everyone who provides regulated activity to Children or Adults. If a team member does, the practice will need to ensure that the appropriate CRB check has been carried out and that they have also been checked by ISA against the lists of barred people . This aspect of the regulation came into force on 10th September 2012.

These new regulations will  have a direct impact on any new employees in the practice. Every  employer will also need to consider their policies in light of safeguarding responsibilities under CQC. The Criminal Records Bureau  do not stipulate the frequency of rechecking CRB status – they consider this is a matter for practice policy. A  frequency for rechecking for any member of staff performing regulated activity should be established internally

In early 2013 the merged CRB and ISA organisation will be starting  a scheme on online checking. Early details suggest that :

  • Individuals will be able to pay a small fee to CRB to  engage in the process of on- line updating
  • They will then be able to give their employer permission to access this data
  • The employer will then be able to see details of any criminal activity since the full CRB disclosure was carried out

Full details will be on the CRB website when available.

Action Planning

  • Look at the ISA website and make any recruiting managers familiar with the new system.
  • The CRB website also contains information about the process and explains the need to request checks against the barred lists for those delivering regulated activity.
  • Review your policy on CRB checking to consider if your frequency for rechecking employees is appropriate and would meet CQC outcomes for Safeguarding and Staffing.
  • Review the job descriptions of staff to make sure you have  established who does perform ay regulated activity for children or adults.
  • Make sure you are familiar and complying with the NHS Recruitment Check Standards which can be found on the NHS Employers website.

Thornfields provides a comprehensive range of training that supports practices in meeting legal and regulatory obligations. In particular our courses on:

Would be particularly relevant to this topic area.


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