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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:18 am on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee 11:18 am, 17th October 2019

Has my right hon. Friend seen my early-day motion 2769, which points out a major flaw in the Sexual Offences Act 2003?

[That this House notes the ease with which registered sex offenders and criminals are able to change their name via deed poll, for as little as £15 online, as an automatic right; further notes that, under Section 84 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the onus is placed on the sex offender to notify the police of any such name change; understands that this loophole in the law has the potential to allow many convicted sex offenders to go under the radar of authorities; acknowledges that the safer recruitment process and DBS checks are being undermined by the lack of regulation and robust due diligence provided for by the existing legislation in this area; further acknowledges that this is potentially placing society’s most vulnerable people at risk of harm; and therefore urges the Government to reform legislation to remove the automatic right of sex offenders to change their name online by deed poll, to set up a regulatory system to create a more joined-up approach between the relevant bodies and to introduce interim measures to protect the safety and security of children and vulnerable people presently at risk.]

My Harlow constituent and founder of the Safeguarding Alliance, Emily Konstantas, has conducted research showing that convicted criminals are able to change their name by deed poll for as little as £15 online and evade vetting processes and DBS checks under a new name, allowing them to work in an environment around vulnerable people. May we have an urgent debate on the state of safeguarding legislation?