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.