Vetting and Barring

Today  we laid the terms of reference for the Review of the Vetting and Barring Scheme – the scheme that passes people as ‘safe’ to work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults.

On coming into Government the Coalition had a commitment to roll back this scheme to ‘common sense levels’.

So – we will be considering afresh the fundamental principles and objectives behind the vetting and barring regime, to recommend what, if any, scheme is needed now. Of course it is vital that we protect vulnerable adults and children – but the current scheme were it to go ahead is not proportionate. There should be a presumption that people wishing to work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults are safe to do so unless it can be shown otherwise and checks will only be made where necessary. That ‘where necessary’ is crucial to the review. If we can remodel the scheme in a proportionate way we will seek to reduce significantly the nine million people currently within reach of the scheme and limit the numbers of volunteers required to register.

We are also reviewing the criminal records regime which has developed piecemeal for years and is well due for an overhaul – to ensure that a balance is struck between preserving civil liberties and protecting the public.

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  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Vetting and Barring | Lynne Featherstone --

  2. Good to hear Lynne, I like this sentence in particular:

    “There should be a presumption that people wishing to work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults are safe to do so unless it can be shown otherwise”

    To be honest I think you should be more pro-active here and commit to tackling the “all men are paedophiles” type polices various companies/organisations operate. Unnecessary and offensive suspicion isn’t simply limited to the education sector and nor are its impacts.

  3. “Of course it is vital that we protect vulnerable adults and children – but the current scheme were it to go ahead is not proportionate. ”

    The ex-scheme proposed by Labour to monitor home educators wasn’t proportionate either but that didn’t stop too many MPs voting for it.

    “There should be a presumption that people wishing to work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults are safe to do so unless it can be shown otherwise and checks will only be made where necessary. ”

    There should always be a presumption that people are innocent UNTIL they are proven guilty – once again, a presumption that MPs were prepared to abandon earlier this year in the case of home educators.

    I hope that the parallel makes people think a bit.

  4. Thanks Lynne

    I am glad you have made an effort to bring positive changes not to criminalize law abiding citizen. I am sure you are aware of all the comments on ‘YOUR FREEDOM’ website as well as on your blog.I would appreciate if you could kindly consider all including the following,

    NHS whistleblowing and ‘OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION’ section of ECRB disclosure.

    There are instances when criminal charges are pressed against NHS whistleblowers which are either dropped or do not lead to caution or conviction.
    Sometimes the trial ends up in a hung jury and subsequently collapsing of the case.

    The Government must make appropriate amendments in the legislation to remove unfounded allegations from the enhanced CRB disclosure under ‘OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATON” section. The Chief Police Officer should be given clear directions that if a whistleblower is alleged of any criminal offence and produces evidence of victimization in the form of concerns being raised on poor quality of services in the NHS prior to allegations (emails/notes of conversation/letters etc during ‘interview under caution” or afterwards) and subsequently charged, the information must not appear on the CRB nor if the charges are dropped or lead to no conviction or caution.

    In real terms, there should be no ‘Standard and Enhanced CRB dislosure’. A single CRB disclosure for all employees could suffice and the ‘OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION’ section must be removed from the new CRB form.

  5. These are excellent policies, it really is important to repeal or fix all the harmful laws Labour has introduced.
    However we need to be aware that the “all men are dangerous and not to be trusted” attitude isn’t simply limit to schools and neither are its effects.

    It would be good to see the government go after all companies and charities showing extreme hostility to adults males, although its quite right for the state to get its house in order first.

  6. At the Chief Officers discretion should be removed.

    Repeal section 113A & B that was previously Police Act 115 1997

    To include non conviction information is ridiculous based on the theory that the information MIGHT be true ( it is a Chief Officers opinion, that it might be true, having no consitency from one borough to another)

    yet applying the evidential & public interest test by the Crown Prosecution service finding there is no grounds for prosecution and it is being still disclosed to employers.

    This country has gone mad this a law states you are guilty when innocent and there is noway to challenge this, you are not even tried in the courts, where is the justice.

    Please go to see the comments there about the review and a petition to have this removed.

  7. Good news, lets hope common sense takes over…. and things do change but I guess will believe it when it happens.
    I believe like many if you were not convicted of anything then nothing should show up on your CRB checks…….I worked in the PCT working with vulnerable people, was about to whistle blow because of bad practices going on, before I could do that banged into a service user while holding a A4 file, and was suspended for abuse……unreal I hear you saying..that s not all was arrested for assault laughable I know…………after 9 months suspended and 5 months on bail all charges dropped, and back at work doing the same job, but it is still mentioned on my CRB checks…why or why ?

  8. I hope that Sunita Mason is prepared to review her initial recommendations made after her own review last year. Whilst her recommendations go some way to redressing the balance, her suggestions are still discriminatory in nature and based on the incorrect premise that those with cautions are of a more dubious character than those without.

    For instance, she makes a few clear distinctions in her recommendations:

    1) those who received cautions aged 18 or under are of less dubious character than those who received cautions as an adult;
    2) those who have more than one caution must be of a more dubious character than those who have just one caution; and
    3) those who have cautions for any form of violence (common assault, etc) must be of a more dubious character than those with cautions for theft.

    If the Government accepts these distinctions and indeed starts discriminating between recipients of cautions based on age, number and type of misdemeanour then this is as injust as the current system in place and will open up another can of worms.

    The only fair thing that should be done is to ensure that ALL cautions are removed from CRB checks. They are ‘soft’ (but dangerous) intelligence held by the police, and no different from a false allegation. They are NOT a statutory criminal offence and hence should not be included in a person’s statutory criminal record.

    Until a person has been found guilty of an offence in a court of law where formal procedures are followed, where they have had the chance to defend themselves in front of a qualified judge and jury, and have had access to legal representation then they are STATUTORILY INNOCENT.

    It is morally and ethically wrong for potential employers to be allowed to sit as judge and jury with regard to ‘soft’ information including penalties and cautions issued by an informal body such as the police. As has been seen time and time again, the police don’t always follow procedures, are not qualified lawyers, and often deny legal advice being given before they recommend or cajoll someone into accepting a ‘caution’. As such, the flaky well-worn phrase that the recipient ‘accepts they are guilty’ is simply poppycock as far as I’m concerned and should not form the basis to subject them to a lifetime sentence. As
    such, any penalty issued by the police is NOT STATUTORY.

    The CJ&I Act 2008 which incorporated the recipients of cautions into the ROA 74 did nothing to protect the recipients of cautions from discrimination (especially when so many occupations are now exempt from the act) but did everything to label them as ‘EX OFFENDERS’ with a ‘CRIMINAL CONVICTION’, who have been ‘REHABILITATED’ after a period of time. This is WRONG.

    Mrs Mason and the review panel also must not forget that many people whose occupations do not involve children or vulnerable adults are adversely affected. Accountants and anyone working in a financial institution are affected and must undergo the same CRB checks as teachers. Why? In order that the banking/financial industry can discriminate against those with cautions or any other dubious ‘soft’ information on their CRB checks. That way, they can claim to their counterparts and investors that they are ‘risk free’, tick all the boxes on their SOX audits and comply with FSA legislation, thereby maintaining their risk ratings.

    Much needs to be repealed.

    1) Repeal the CJ&I Act 2008 (S10,Sch49) that incorporated recipients of Cautions into the ROA 74
    2) Repeal S 115(7a & 7b) of the Police Act 97
    3) Repeal the various exemptions from ROA74 that have been passed in recent years allowing occupations which have nothing to do with children or vulnerable adults, whatsoever, to be exempt from ROA and have access to PRIVATE information ie ECRBs.
    4) Ensure all cautions are stepped-down as previously and removed from databases after the step-down period AND ensure that this is done without the need for the recipient to request it to be done
    5) Remove unproven false allegations/hearsay made by disgruntled ex partners, neighbours, etc, etc from police databases
    6) Remove DNA, fingerprints etc from all police databases of ALL innocent parties (including those who are STATUTORILY innocent ie those with cautions).

    Give people back the ability to provide for themselves, in short give people back their lives.

    Too many people would like to work but cannot because of this. Some are on JSA, others on ESA because they are too ill with the trauma/depression of being made to relive harrowing events in their lives. Those on ESA are most probably on medication which is a drain on the NHS. All of this is a long-term drain on the state. These people do not want to be a drain / burden on anyone but are prevented from living independent lives because of petty laws which are not only breaching their human rights but which are in effect make them prisoners of the state!

  9. What about those arrested then no further action is taken. They have never been charged with anything or found guilty of anything, yet the accusation they were arrested for shows up on a CRB / ECRB, which in turn affects the jobs they are allowed to do.

    Information about accusations should not be disclosed to anyone, except the police themselves, for an investigation.

  10. As above, I had an allegation made against me (I was a teacher), I was suspended, I was never interviewed by the Police, no criminal charges were made, I was cleared by the education authourity after an internal investigation (the allegation being that I had assaulted a student by throwing an apple at him) as winesses supported my version of events, I denied the incident.
    The same child went on to make a similar allegation after I left, fortunately for the teacher in question there was another adult in the room and the allegation was dismissed.

    I resigned my post,because of the stress of the situation and also because after 5 months suspension I felt I couldn’t return to the same school,the Head gave me an excellent reference and the education authority cleared me, AND YET, the allegation STILL appears on my CRB and is preventing me from getting a job as a teacher as the attitude of employers is ‘there is no smoke without fire’.

    Furthermore, for 2 years the Police recorded the fact, without any evidence whatsoever, that I was ‘unsuitable to work with children’!

    Afger 1000’s of pounds of legal costs and the threat of a judicial review the Police have now removed this but the allegation remains.

    I haven’t been able to work as a teacher for 3 years.

  11. This law does need changing. As a person that was assaulted because of my transgender status once by a neighbour attacking me in my own home and then once in the street following botched facial surgeon imagine my surprise that nearly 3 years later this information shows up as two allegations against me accusing me of being the aggressor not the victim.

    I was never arrested, never charged and had worked happily for nearly 12 years in social housing with my own home in London

    Thanks to the previous labour government, I struggled to find a solicitor to take the case on, challenged it went through the motions, was told I had been arrested received the notes which showed independent witnesses seeing me attacked by the other party and yet this appears on what was previously a clean crb and I had no cautions or convictions and it had nothing to do with vulnerable people or children but was done because I was transexual.

    Having found a solicitor that it turns out bled me dry and gave me bad advice after nearly 2 years unemployment I managed to get an amended entry and the case was settled against my better judgment. Having had a meeting with the police myself I then get the final entry removed and my pnc record cleared and an apology. However, I haven’t worked for nearly 3 years, my trans status is now well known when I don’t look that bad, I was left traumatised which affected my speech though this is now returning and to top it all I cleared my own name. Doubtless to say I am now suing the previous solicitor for negligence and trying to pursue a case against the police for malicious intent against me. Clearing my name is all well and good and receiving an apology but for me it is too little too late – Abolish both the CRB and ISA they don’t stop criminals they just ruin innocent people’s lives. The police in the UK are untouchable because government allows it. I know I am lucky very lucky to have cleared my crb but I should be rightly compensated for what was done to me by the state too and my career.

  12. I’m sorry for those concerned with the worry of Police cautions. Under the current system they will remain subject to disclosure in criminal record disclosures until the reformed offender’s 99th birthday. The story seems clear the the one size fits all system is not working.

    For further information and guidance visit our website:

    The Association for Reformed and Rehabilitated Offenders.