On 22 October 2010, the government set out the scope of a thorough review of the much maligned vetting and barring scheme (VBS). The review will re-examine whether the scheme is the most appropriate mechanism to protect children and vulnerable people and, if so, how many roles should be covered by it. It will consider:

  • The fundamental principles and objectives behind the VBS and evaluate the scope of the scheme's coverage.
  • The most appropriate function, role and structures of any relevant safeguarding bodies and appropriate governance arrangements.
  • Make recommendations as to what, if any, scheme is now needed.

The VBS was put on hold by the government in June 2010 pending the review. Recommendations following the review are expected in early 2011.

A review of the criminal records regime will also take place, reporting on the employment vetting systems which involve the Criminal Records Bureau, followed by a report on the broader regime. The review will examine whether the current regime strikes the right balance between respecting civil liberties and protecting the public. The government expects the review to propose a scaling back of the use of systems involving criminal records.