Feeds

Gov hits brakes on vetting scheme

Buh-bye barring

Top three mobile application threats

Further erosion of New Labour’s Big Brother state looks likely to take place later today when Home Secretary Theresa May announces that the government is stopping implementation of the Vetting and Barring scheme (VBS), which was due to go live next month.

As regular readers will be aware, this scheme required any adult who built up a position of trust with children or vulnerable persons to be vetted by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). Failure to be vetted would have been a criminal offence, with both employer and employee subject to substantial fines.

According to the Home Office, the scheme would eventually have covered some nine million adults; but our own analysis, taking into account social pressures to be seen as "safe", suggested a much higher figure - possibly as high as 14 million.

A series of critics, from children's authors to most recently the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), expressed concerns that this scheme was intrusive and potentially unjust. It would enable the state, on the basis of hearsay evidence alone, to determine whether a third to a half of the adult population in the UK could work in their chosen profession. The RCN believed it constituted a fundamental breach of human rights.

Voluntary registration with the VBS for new employees and job-movers working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults was due to start on 26 July. This registration has now been stopped.

The Home Office, in partnership with Department of Health and Department for Education, are currently putting the finishing touches to the scope for a remodelling exercise, with details to be announced shortly.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The safety of children and vulnerable adults is of paramount importance to the new Government. However, it is also vital that we take a measured approach in these matters.

"We’ve listened to the criticisms and will respond with a scheme that has been fundamentally remodelled. Vulnerable groups must be properly protected in a way that is proportionate and sensible. This redrawing of the vetting and barring scheme will ensure this happens."

Children’s Minister Tim Loughton reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protecting vulnerable children, but expressed concerns that it would drive a wedge between children and well-meaning adults. He said: "Any vetting system should not be a substitute for proper vigilance by individuals and society. At the moment we think the pendulum has swung too far."

For Labour, Shadow Home Office Minister Meg Hillier MP said: "Labour had already reviewed and altered the scheme. It was never about vetting private family arrangements or infrequent contact with children.

"The scheme was designed to ensure that parents could be certain their children were safe when in the care of professionals and regular volunteers who may be unknown to them. Once again we see a kneejerk reaction, a symbolic halt and yet another review."

While the review takes place, existing arrangements under the Scheme will continue. The ISA will still maintain two constantly updated lists: one for those barred from working with children, the other for those barred from working with vulnerable adults.

Existing requirements concerning Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Access Northern Ireland checks will remain in place, and employers are still legally obliged to refer information to the ISA if they have moved or removed an individual because they have harmed or there is a risk of harm to a member of a vulnerable group.

While many will welcome this announcement, the questions that the scheme was originally set up to answer now return. The existing CRB system is cumbersome: it requires frequent renewal of registrations and also requires multiple registration, where adults have several separate points of contact with vulnerable groups.

These issues will still need to be resolved under any new scheme. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.