Feeds

Overzealous anti-paedo scheme not dead yet

Scale back and rebrand of VBS is likely later this week

The Power of One Infographic

Volunteers and those working with children will only need to undergo intrusive vetting of their private lives in future if they work in "sensitive posts" or "have intensive contact with children or vulnerable people".

That, at least, is the claim made by the Telegraph, in an exclusive on the "demise" of New Labour’s much-maligned Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) last week. A spokeswoman for the Home Office was rather more reluctant to confirm that this is the case, telling us only that registration had been "halted in June to allow the new Government to bring the criminal records and Vetting and Barring regime back to common sense levels".

She went on: "The terms of reference for the remodelling of the VBS and of the criminal records regime are currently being considered and a further announcement will be made shortly."

This seems likely to happen later this week, according to the Telegraph, when the Government publishes the long-awaited Freedom Bill, which begins in earnest the task of unpicking some of the more nannyish of the last government’s legislation.

It is therefore slightly premature to be reading the last rites on this scheme: anything could yet happen in the course of the parliamentary horse-trading likely to follow. Otherwise, though, the VBS is on course for very significant shrinking and reduction in scope.

Key changes, according to a Whitehall source, include:

  • a shift to the employer of the duty to ensure staff are properly checked and cleared to work;
  • criminal record checks being sent first to the individual being checked – to allow them to check and challenge inaccuracies before misinformation is passed on to a potential employer; and
  • the removal of minor offences from checks.

This last move indicates a major shift in government thinking: hard-coded into the current VBS is the view that the system should not simply exclude individuals who had committed crimes in the past – but that it should also attempt to predict (and exclude) those likely to do so in future. This it would do by collating details of minor crimes committed, as well as interests (such as violent erotic films) that might statistically indicate a propensity for future real-life violence.

In addition, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) – which currently supervises the VBS – will be merged back into the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), creating a single national organisation responsible for checking into people’s backgrounds.

This was a key issue in the setting up of the VBS: it had been originally envisaged, in part, as a way to do away with the multiple checking that had become a feature of the CRB system. But it turned out that the ISA would not substitute for a CRB check – but would instead add yet another layer of bureaucracy to individuals looking for work. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.