A re-think of how the barring regime operates for those working with vulnerable groups is among many changes to the vetting and barring rules proposed in the Protection of Freedoms Bill, which has recently received its second reading in the House of Commons. The Bill’s measures to narrow the scope of the worker vetting requirements envisaged by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act have been widely anticipated. However, its provisions to change the barring arrangements, which were introduced in 2009, have received less publicity.

The Bill takes into account last year’s challenge to these arrangements brought by the Royal College of Nursing (see our previous posting here). If it becomes law, automatic barring for the most serious offences will apply in more restricted circumstances. Where barring is not automatic, workers will have the right to make representations before a decision is made. This will be a change from the current rules, where lower risk individuals can be provisionally barred, subject to a right to make representations subsequently. ISA has confirmed that pending the implementation of these changes, the current barring rules will continue to apply.