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Working with children

18 November 2009

There have been enough howls of protest and ridicule about the new Independent Safeguarding Authority and its sweeping remit, without the need for more of the same from us. The latest move is the ISA’s new ‘Vetting and Barring Scheme’. A Willans Partner highlights some of the implications for employers.

The scheme was launched at the beginning of October and replaces the current barring lists. It requires people to be registered with the ISA if they work regularly with children or vulnerable adults, either on a paid or voluntary basis.

The ISA has the power to bar individuals who are considered unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults. It is a criminal offence to allow such a person to engage in regulated activity. The requirement to be registered is being phased in over a five-year period. Although it does not yet apply to everyone, we are advising employers to carry out checks on all prospective employees or volunteers to be certain they are not barred.

An important duty has now been placed on organisations such as schools and care homes that are responsible for the management or control of regulated activity. They must refer to the ISA any information showing that a particular person poses a risk to children or vulnerable adults. This would include instances where someone has been dismissed or has resigned because they have harmed, or may harm, a child or vulnerable adult. Employers be warned – failure to refer information is a criminal offence and can lead to a fine.

To avoid unwittingly committing a criminal office and risking a fine or even imprisonment, employers should seek advice if they are unsure about their new obligations.

If you need clear and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.

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