Clause 2

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 11 July 2006.

Alert me about debates like this

barred lists

Question proposed,That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Children, Schools and Families), Shadow Minister (Education), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I want to address one issue, an aspect considered in the December consultation. It is whether the IBB will have to provide employers with a summary of the reasons for including an individual on one of the barred lists. It is fairly clear, and it was implied in the early consultation, that employers will probably have to carry out a full risk assessment if they employ somebody, and they will need such relevant information. For example, if someone was barred from carrying out regulated activity work but was able to carry out controlled activity, the employer would know the situations that would carry more risk and could put measures in place to minimise risks.

That may be what is intended, but I am not sure that it is said anywhere, despite its being clearly referred to on page 4 of the December consultation. The suggestion was that to equip employers to make such determinations

“we are considering providing them with a summary of the reasons for a barring decision.”

What stage are we at with that consideration? On page 12 of the same document, one of the questions was on that very issue. If the information were provided, a supplementary question asked:

“Would this help those employing individuals in positions not covered by the bar to make a judgement whether to employ the individual with appropriate safeguards in place?”

A lot of issues were raised that have not been followed through in this part of the Bill.

Photo of Parmjit Dhanda Parmjit Dhanda Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Children, Young People and Families), Department for Education and Skills

Before I come to that point, let me make a couple of brief comments about clause 2. The clause requires the IBB to establish and maintain two barred lists: one that includes those barred from working with children, and another that includes those barred from working with vulnerable adults. The two lists relate to two distinct work forces. In some cases an individual will pose a risk to both groups, but that will not be true in every case. Where there is evidence of a risk only to a specific group, we cannot justify barring the individual from a much wider work force. Were the lists combined, they would cover upwards of 7 million jobs, which clearly raises the issue of whether a bar would be appropriate and fair in all cases.

Schedule 2 makes provision for determining whether a person should be included in the lists. The barred lists are necessary to maintain a record of those who are known to pose a risk to vulnerable groups. They replace the current schemes. POCA, List 99 and the disqualification order regime will be replaced by the children’s barred list, while POVA will be replaced by the vulnerable adults’ barred list.

Part 3 of schedule 2 provides supplementary provisions for the barring scheme, including procedures, representations and information gathering. The barred lists are an integral part of the scheme and will provide greater safeguards for children and vulnerable adults.

On the hon. Lady’s point about a controlled activity, I can confirm that an employer who is allowed to employ someone who is barred for a controlled activity will be given further information to ensure that they can put in place the necessary safeguards.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.