Schedule 4

Part of Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 13 July 2006.

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Photo of Parmjit Dhanda Parmjit Dhanda Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Children, Young People and Families), Department for Education and Skills 2:45, 13 July 2006

No. I have worked with officials on the scheme but that has not been a principal issue. It is a matter of getting the right structure and process in place to give the right information. I will come to that in a moment, when the hon. Lady may wish to respond to what I say with further comments and questions.

We will table amendments on Report that will change the online check to show whether an individual is subject to monitoring, which is confirmation that he is being vetted by the scheme and is not barred. That fundamental reassurance will enable the employer to proceed to the other checks that are necessary on recruitment, such as taking up references and verifying qualifications. We will table similar amendments to clause 26 so that employers are notified that monitoring has ceased, rather than that the individual has been barred.

When an individual is shown as not subject to monitoring, it may mean that he has not yet applied to the scheme, that he has withdrawn from it or that he is barred. For regulated activity providers recruiting to a regulated activity, the effect is the same: they can employ only people who are subject to monitoring, as the Bill lays down. We shall ensure that the online check facility provides clear messages for employers and parents about the implications of an employee being subject, or not subject, to monitoring and the further steps they need to take in recruiting. We shall develop and test those messages as we prepare for implementation.

The revised approach to the information conveyed by the online check will ensure that it directly supports employers’ needs and helps them to find appropriate staff, and that notification will be quick. We are committed to delivering the improvements that online checks offer and to implementing them in the most effective way. No one will forgive us if we do not develop the best possible system to protect children and vulnerable adults.

Over time, we would like as many people as possible to be monitored in the vetting and barring scheme. We intend that the scheme will encourage employees in the relevant work forces to be monitored and employers to use good employment practice and recruit only those  who have been vetted and who are monitored. The monitoring will ensure that information about employees is continuously updated and that employers are notified of changes in status. That approach to the online check will help to secure the benefits of monitoring while ensuring that employers have fast and easy access to information about employees’ status.