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Government expects £277m from vetting scheme

That'll be £64 to you, squire

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The Home Office has disclosed the amount it expects to raise from applications to the Vetting and Barring Scheme.

Home Office minister Meg Hillier said that the £277m of revenue expected in the scheme's first three years is intended to cover the estimated costs of both the Vetting and Barring Scheme and the Criminal Records Bureau. She was responding to written parliamentary questions from James Brokenshire, her Conservative shadow counterpart.

The cost for each application will reflect the anticipated average cost of £64 for each application, she said. Some £28 of this will be the cost of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which is responsible for running the scheme, and £36 for the services of the Criminal Records Bureau.

The fee is charged to people who apply for clearance to be allowed to work with organisations for children and vulnerable adults. Since 12 October last year people have been checked on a voluntary basis, but from June this year it will be compulsory.

Brokenshire also asked for an estimate of the number of people who are likely to be referred to the ISA because of fears that they pose a risk. The minister said that in the first year of operation this is estimated at 28,000.

Responding to his questions about estimates of the number of public sector workers registered with the ISA, and the number of agency workers, pensioners and unemployed people who will be required to pay the full fee for registration, the minister said estimates had not been made "in the form requested".

She said that a helpline had been set up to provide information on the Vetting and Barring Scheme, which is run under contract with a commercial company.

The introduction of the Vetting and Barring Scheme has prompted widespread controversy. Children's author Philip Pullman, who regularly gives talks to children in schools, has said he will stop doing so. "Why should I have to pay £64 to a government agency to give me a little certificate saying that I am not a paedophile," he said. "It's so ludicrous that it's almost funny, but actually it's rather dispiriting and sinister."

This article was originally published at Kable.

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