Vetting & Barring Scheme

By admin at March 03, 2010 11:37
Filed Under: News

From 12 October 2010, it will be a legal requirement for individuals applying to work or to volunteer with children and/or vulnerable adults to be registered with the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS).

The Responsibilities of Employers and Volunteer Organisations

Employers and volunteer organisations who deal with children and vulnerable adults always need to check a person’s ISA status before employing them. You cannot have them in post – even supervised – before you know the outcome of the check. From July 2010, when you recruit someone new to work with children or vulnerable adults you may check their ISA status - this will be a legal requirement from 12 October 2010. This will determine whether or not you can employ them (or take them on as volunteers), and may affect what activities they can undertake. However, for those who currently work with children and/or vulnerable adults, organisations will be given up to five years to ensure that all current employees and volunteers are registered with the ISA. Employers will be able to carry out free online checks of a person's ISA registration status, however they will still need to apply for a CRB check for new employees.  

Only  an ISA-registered person can undertake regulated activity - it will be illegal to employ an unregistered person and can result in imprisonment or a fine of up to £5,000. An unregistered person is someone who has either not applied to register with the ISA or they are on an ISA-Barred list. For controlled activity, it is still mandatory to check the ISA status of an applicant before employing them. However, a barred person may be employed in controlled activity provided certain safeguards are in place. 

What is a "regulated activity"?  This is any activity (paid or voluntary) of a specified nature that involves contact with children or vulnerable adults frequently, intensively and/or overnight. Such activities include teaching, training, care, supervision, advice, treatment and transportation. This also includes any activity allowing contact with children or vulnerable adults that is in a specified place frequently or intensively - such places include schools and care home. Included is any activity that involves people in certain defined positions of responsibility - such positions include school governor, director of social services, and trustees of certain charities. "Regulated activity" is when the activity is frequent (once a month or more) or intensive (takes place on three or more days in a 30-day period.

What is a "controlled activity"? This covers frequent or intensive work in general health settings, the NHS and further education. Such work includes cleaners, caretakers, shop workers, catering staff, car park attendants and receptionists. This also covers any individuals that work for specific organisations, e.g. a local authority, who have frequent access to sensitive records about children and vulnerable adults; those who provide support work in adult social care settings including day centre cleaners, and those with access to social care records. "Controlled activity" is when this type of activity is frequent (once a month or more) or intensive (takes place on three or more days in a 30-day period).  

It is important for the success of the Vetting and Barring Scheme that information about individuals is shared by different organisations. The following organisations have a legal obligation to refer relevant information about an individual to the ISA: adult/child protection teams in local authorities; professional bodies and supervisory authorities named in the Act; employers and service providers of regulated and controlled activity; and personnel suppliers. All other employers of those working with children and/or vulnerable adults may refer relevant information to the ISA.

Please note that this is just a snap-shot of the Vetting and Barring Scheme - further details can be obtained from the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) on their website at or by telephone on 0300 123 1111.