Search

How can we help?

Icon

Reform of the Criminal Records Bureau as it merges with the Independent Safeguarding Authority

Changes are soon to be made to the present system of criminal records checks, including the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority to form the ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’. The changes, made under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, were first set in motion two years ago when the government put an immediate halt to the requirement for individuals working with children or vulnerable adults to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority, insisting that the Vetting and Barring Scheme ( the ‘VBS’) needed to be scaled back to ‘common-sense levels’.

The current position

Under the current system in place since October 2009, employers need to check the ISA status of all individuals working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults in either a “regulated” or a ‘controlled’ activity. The ISA are responsible for administering two lists, the children’s barred list and the adult`s barred list, containing the names of individuals who are barred from working in a regulated activity. Checks against these lists are made by the Criminal Records Bureau as part of the enhanced disclosure process. It is an offence to permit a barred individual to be engaged in a regulated activity. It is also an offence to engage a barred individual in a controlled activity without the necessary safeguards in place.

The mandatory requirement for individuals working in a regulated or controlled activity to register with the ISA, enabling employers to monitor their ISA status, would have been phased in from November 2010 had the government not intervened just months earlier and launched a thorough review of the scheme. The outcome of the review was published in February 2011 and its recommendations are given effect by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The government estimates that the changes being introduced will scale back the VBS reducing the number individuals subject to the scheme from 9 million to a more proportionate 5 million.

For employers, the key changes to note are that, from 10 September 2012, the definition of controlled activity will be repealed and the definition of regulated activity will be amended to cover only those working closely and regularly with children and vulnerable adults. There are a number of changes but, broadly speaking, regulated activities will no longer include supervised roles, which if unsupervised would be regulated activity. Statutory guidance is to be issued to help employers decide what level of supervision is needed to take the activity out of regulated activity. Only individuals engaged in a regulated activity will be eligible for a for barred list check. Individuals engaged in non-regulated activity, will still be eligible for an enhanced CRB check without a barred list check depending on the nature of the role.

Lucy Densham Brown

Solicitor

View profile

+44 118 960 4655

The new service will allow an organisation, with the individual’s consent, to carry out an online status check to establish if further relevant criminal information has been identified since a CRB check was last carried out.

The proposed compulsory registration and monitoring provisions will not come into force. Instead, a new Update Service is to be introduced, possibly from April 2013, which aims to improve the transferability of CRB checks and reduce the burden of carrying out unnecessary repeat checks. The new service will allow an organisation, with the individual’s consent, to carry out an online status check to establish if further relevant criminal information has been identified since a CRB check was last carried out. The Update Service will be subject to an annual subscription fee and will be entirely voluntary.

The CRB and the ISA are to be merged to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (‘DBS’), a new non-departmental public body, which is due to become operational from the start of December 2012. The DBS will be responsible for bringing in other reforms to the vetting process as provided for by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This will include changing the current system so that the certificate is sent only to the individual to give them the opportunity to challenge its content before it is disclosed to the interested third party.

A Home office a leaflet ‘Changes to disclosure and barring: What you need to know’ explains these and other changes and sets out in more specific detail the new definition of regulated activity. A copy can be downloaded from here.

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Lucy Densham Brown

Solicitor

View profile

+44 118 960 4655

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 01 June 2023
  • Employment

Facts employees should know about their personal data

We previously published an article on facts an employer should know about holding personal data, so it is only fair that we also write about the other side of the coin – facts employees should know as individuals whose personal data is held by their employer.

art
  • 26 May 2023
  • Employment

Avoiding discrimination in flexible working requests

The right to request flexible working is currently available to employees with at least 26 weeks’ service and is set to be extended further under new Government reforms.

art
  • 25 May 2023
  • Employment

Carer’s Leave Bill set to become law

On 19 May 2023, the Carer’s Leave Bill had its third reading in the House of Lords, and upon receiving Royal Assent, will become law. There is not yet a date for the implementation of this bill, however it is likely that this will happen relatively quickly upon receiving Royal Assent, so is definitely one to keep an eye on.

art
  • 16 May 2023
  • Employment

10 facts an employer should know about holding personal data

Personal data is any information that can be used to identify an employee.

art
  • 11 May 2023
  • Employment

Employment Law Changes – Spring 2023

The government has just announced that it plans to scrap the Sunset Clause, which would have revoked almost all retained EU law at sunset at the end of 2023.

art
  • 10 May 2023
  • Employment

Reasonable adjustments for mental health in the workplace- FAQs

Acas has recently released guidance for employers and employees on reasonable adjustments for mental health in the workplace.