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MPs call on Government to act to protect children

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In a new report a cross party group of MPs and Peers calls on the government to act to prevent unsuitable people working with children.


The report by the Child Protection All Party Parliamentary Group, Vetting and Disclosures: Getting it right in practice, notes that the Protection of Freedoms Bill reduces the scope of ‘regulated activity relating to children’, a situation which could leave many people who have not gone through the vetting and barring system continuing to work and volunteer with young children. 


The Child Protection All-Party Parliamentary group undertook an enquiry during June and July 2011 into the implementation of the changes to vetting and disclosures. They heard evidence from organisations that employ staff or volunteers who work with children; met Lynne Featherstone MP the Minister responsible for the scheme, and conducted two online surveys to seek further views.


This report draws out the key messages from the evidence the group received, and sets out recommendations for government.


Meg Munn MP, Chair of the All-Party Group said:


“Parents need to be reassured that the vetting scheme will protect their children from known paedophiles and the government should improve the legislation to tighten up the loopholes we have identified.


It is very important that the regulated activity category covers all those positions where individuals have regular close contact with children and can easily develop trusting relationships with them. A lack of clarity in the legislation will make it easier for unscrupulous people to target children.”


Alongside recommendations around the ‘regulated activity relating to children’, the report calls for greater support and guidance from government for the organisations these changes would affect, creating greater clarity and understanding for all those involved. The report suggests an advice service and support system for employers making decisions on the basis of information they receive in a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, as well as communications with the public to develop support for the proportionate use of checking.


A spokesperson from the NSPCC said:


"Proper use of the criminal records checking and barring schemes is an essential part of keeping children safe. We strongly welcome the All Party Parliamentary Group’s focus on how the schemes will work in practice.


The NSPCC agrees that there must be effective communication about the scheme to the public, employers and volunteering organisations. It is also important that organisations are given wider support to keep children safe from harm:  vetting and barring regulations are vital but, as the report acknowledges, they are only one element of effective safeguarding practice.


We encourage the government to respond to the All Party Parliamentary Group’s recommendations as soon as possible."


During the enquiry the group received tremendous feedback from organisations that work with children, and consider the implementation of the suggestions in the report would be beneficial for all.


The report is available online:




The Child Protection All-Party Parliamentary Group was established in 2010 to raise the profile of child protection issues in Parliament and to investigate relevant policy matters.


The Vetting and Barring Scheme aims to prevent unsuitable people from undertaking certain paid or volunteer work with children or vulnerable adults (‘regulated activity’). It does this by vetting all those who wish to do such work and barring those who have committed certain offences or where the barring authority believes they pose a risk of harm to vulnerable people.


Everyone working in regulated activity must be Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked, and barred individuals will be prohibited from working in these positions (although they can work with children in positions outside regulated activity).


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