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ARC - Fears over new layer of registration

Delegates heard of concerns about a new register of people working with vulnerable adults and children, and backed a call for the Society to highlight the issues.

The Independent Safeguarding Authority registration scheme comes into force in October this year. ARC delegates attended a lunchtime briefing to explain the authority’s role and implications for members, and also debated a motion on the authority.

The ISA was set up following the inquiry into the 2002 Soham murders, which raised concerns about the way information was held by different agencies and not always shared effectively. The new body will gather information on, and hold a register of, all individuals working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults, using Criminal Records Bureau checks, police intelligence and other sources.

All working CSP members are likely to need ISA registration as it will cover all health professionals providing treatment to patients.

The scheme is being phased in over five years. The ISA has said the cost of registering will be £64 in England and Wales, and £58 in Northern Ireland, with details for Scotland still to be revealed.

Paula Porter, for Thompsons solicitors, said the scheme placed a substantial burden on employers, adding: ‘It will be a criminal offence if you employ someone and subsequently discover they are not registered.’

There was also a concern that the new scheme, though designed to simplify current arrangements, would duplicate existing registration for three million public sector workers including physiotherapists.

Ms Porter said it was too early to say if the scheme would be good for professionals or not. ‘There are too many points that need to be ironed out,’ she said.

CSP senior negotiating officer Elaine Sparks said the Society had numerous concerns. Any barring process should be fair and transparent and include the right of appeal. Physios could be vulnerable to allegations of inappropriate behaviour as they had close physical contact with patients. There should be no duplication of regulatory mechanisms, Ms Sparks said.

‘Individuals should not have to pay twice; you already pay out to the Health Professions Council,’ she told delegates at the briefing. The CSP was seeking meetings with the ISA to raise concerns, she added.

Conference agreed the Society should work with other trade unions to ensure the scheme operated fairly, did not duplicate regulation or require duplicate fees and protected the security of data.

Motion 31 was carried on the conference floor (and also on iCSP)

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