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‘Excessive’ vetting scheme to be reviewed

The government has halted registration for a new scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to vet millions of people who work with children and vulnerable adults.

The first phase of registration was due to start on 26 July but following criticism a review is to be launched to try to find a less ‘burdensome’ system.

New controls were called for after the so-called ‘Soham’ murders of two schoolgirls in 2002 in order to prevent those who pose a known risk from working with vulnerable groups. But critics claimed the vetting and barring scheme, set up under the Independent Safeguarding Authority, was excessive and over-bureaucratic for organisations such as schools, charities and voluntary groups.

Home secretary Theresa May said the scheme would now be ‘fundamentally remodelled’ to ensure people were protected in a way that was ‘proportionate and sensible’. Nearly all CSP members, like many health professionals, would have had to register eventually, given the nature of their work.

CSP senior negotiating officer Elaine Sparkes said: ‘Details of the review have yet to be announced and trade unions, including the CSP, are working together to ensure they have input into the discussions.’

She said local discussions involving stewards on policies for ISA registration or payment of ISA registration fees were now likely to be put on hold.

Meanwhile, in Scotland a similar initiative, the protection of vulnerable groups scheme, is proceeding as planned and is due to be phased in over a four-year period starting later this year.

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