The new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is due to commence operations in October 2009 and will be responsible for vetting the millions of people seeking to work with children or vulnerable adults. The ISA was established in January 2008 by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

The authority will maintain the database of people who are barred from working with children and vulnerable adults, bringing all existing barring arrangements under one roof.

Registration with the ISA will be compulsory for all those who wish to work with people in either category. A fee of £64 will be payable, which will cover registration with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the fee for the search of the records of the CRB.

The ISA’s remit is to help to avoid harm or the risk of harm to children and vulnerable adults, by preventing those who are unsuitable from working with them from gaining access to them through their work. It will gather information on such persons in partnership with the CRB and store the information securely, making barring decisions on a case by case basis. It will operate independently of the Government.

It is hoped that the bringing together of the relevant databases within one organisation should act to give a more robust and quicker vetting system, which will come as a relief to employers seeking to recruit staff who will work with children or vulnerable adults.

Further details of the ISA’s mode of operation and the system for appeals against its decisions will be announced in due course.