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TUC Congress – Review must address concerns about ISA eroding workers’ rights, urges CSP

CSP press release published on 16 September 2009

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) today joined the debate on the implementation of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) by presenting serious concerns in a motion to TUC Congress in Liverpool.

The CSP motion called on Government to ensure a just hearing process for all workers coming under investigation by the new regulatory body. The Society criticised current proposals for paper-based hearing, with no face-to-face contact between the ISA and those being investigated, and no opportunity for representation until appeal. The CSP wants a transparent process enshrining the right to full and fair hearing and appeal, based on best practice.

The Government was also urged to address the lack of clarity around how the ISA will work together with existing professional regulators. Physiotherapists and other allied health professionals already register with the Health Professions Council, and the CSP called for a guarantee that the regulation system is not complicated by duplicated costs and processes, and an insistence that the ISA makes the system clear to those affected by it.

The third recommendation was for it to be made mandatory for employers to pay the ISA registration costs on behalf of workers. The new regulatory body will largely cover professions that attract women and those who need flexible working arrangements, and it is therefore the low-paid who will be hardest hit by the charge. The CSP argues that the cost effectively means workers are paying to work, and that this can be avoided if employers foot the bill.

Alex MacKenzie, Chair of the Industrial Relations Committee at the CSP, presented the motion to Congress. She said,

"The news that there will be a review of the operational rules of the ISA is welcome. The CSP fully supports the principle of effective public protection, and in particular the protection of vulnerable groups, but like many others we have grave concerns about the ISA processes that are being proposed. The hearing and appeal process ignores basic workers’ rights around fair representation, there is no clarity on how the new regulator will cooperate with existing bodies, and there will be a registration fee that risks discouraging potential workers from applying for crucial public sector jobs.

"If the ISA scheme is to succeed, the Government must act now to respond to concerns and ensure that all regulatory processes are fair and proportionate for the eleven million individuals affected." Brian Strutton, National Secretary for Public Services at the GMB, which supported the CSP’s motion, said, "Very significant numbers of GMB members will be required to register with the ISA and pay a fee of £64. Unless it is made mandatory for employers to pay the fee, or voluntary agreements are reached with employers, many members will have to bear the cost themselves. This will have a disproportionate effect on the lower-paid, and some workers will have to pay a fee again in order to keep their jobs, despite having already had to pay for a check under existing systems."
The CSP motion was carried by TUC Congress.


Notes to editors

  1. For further information please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 1111 or Becky Darke, CSP media relations officer, on 07900 160349.
  2. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 48,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. Our previous press releases can be seen on this website:
  3. It is estimated that the Independent Safeguarding Authority will impact over 11 million workers and volunteers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. All those working with children and vulnerable adults, in such public services as health, education, child and social care, will need to register with the ISA from the middle of next year.


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