Child worker checks to be reduced, say ministers

Published on Friday, 11 February 2011 09:26
Posted by Scott Buckler

Millions of people in England and Wales who work or volunteer with children and vulnerable adults will no longer need criminal record checks, ministers say

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he wanted to lift the atmosphere of suspicion and distrust cast over adults who simply wanted to help.

But some child protection campaigners fear it will be easier for adults in positions of trust to abuse children.

The change is part of the government's Freedoms Bill, being unveiled later.

It also includes limits on police stop and search powers, ends indefinite storage of innocent people's DNA and gives residents more control over CCTV.

Mr Clegg said: "Of course we need checks on those people who are working regularly with children and vulnerable adults but not everybody who is volunteering, often on an irregular basis, simply trying to help out. We want to get it into proportion.

"Most people accept we were treated with too much distrust and suspicion and too many people were almost treated as if they were criminals by Labour in recent years.

"It's still going to be a scheme of some considerable size but one which does not cast that atmosphere of distrust over adults who are simply trying to do their best by their own children, by children in their own community."


The new bill calls for a merging of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority to form "a streamlined new body providing a proportionate barring and criminal records checking service".

That body will provide what ministers say will be a more "proportionate" checking service for about 4.5m people who work "closely and regularly" with children or vulnerable adults.

Teachers will continue to be vetted - but those who do occasional, supervised volunteer work will not.

Job applicants will also be able to see the results of their criminal record check before their prospective employer so mistakes can be corrected.

And the bill promises a "portability of criminal records checks between jobs to cut down on needless bureaucracy" and to stop "employers who knowingly request criminal records checks on individuals who are not entitled to them".

Source: ©BBC News

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