Vetting & Barring: The end is nigh

Okay, so maybe not a surprise given the scale and scope of the public sector cuts being planned, that something costing £80m would receive particular attention. But it was with some sadness that read that the Vetting & Barring scheme and the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) would be ‘scaled back’.

Formal confirmation is due in the Freedom Bill, but it seems probable that the ISA is to be merged with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). So where does this leave parents, as consumers and tutors?

Parents will be disappointed that there will not be a independent website where they can check tutors online, and that noone will be required to be forever vigilant, constantly updating people’s suitability to work with children, when circumstances change. As I see it the problem with CRB checks is that they only reflect the CRB’s information on an individual at a point in time, whereas an ISA check was a much better control as it was similar to a driving license.

As tutors, maybe you are not concerned either way, as the industry is unregulated and there is no requirement per se for private tutors to be CRB checked in any case. The cost of a CRB check is normally met by employers, and you would expect this not to change with the ISA.

What do I think? Well on one hand I was concerned about the whole subjective review process and power seemingly in the hands of a team of bureaucrats. On the other hand, I think that we may have ‘thrown the baby out with the bathwater’ – does child safety come with a price? Would the ISA have stopped Ian Huntley, if you think like me that it would, then surely we will have got the balance between personal freedom and child safety wrong.

The devil will be in the detail, and maybe the Freedom Bill will keep some of the features of ISA registration, in which case I may feel much more comfortable about it.
Only time will tell.