London, 09 February 2011. The controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) is set to be significantly scaled back, the Government is expected to announce.
The expectation is that the scheme will be scaled back substantially, with only half the number of people now affected. Crucially, individuals are no longer required to register themselves with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which would conduct criminal record checks and oversee a national database.
Instead, the onus will now shift to the employer to ensure staff are properly checked and cleared to work.
Alexandra Kelly is MD of HireRight’s background screening operations in EMEA, and also MD and founder of Powerchex.
“These changes are generally good news for individuals, as around 5million people who would have been subject to checks under the original scheme will no longer be affected.
“However,” continues Kelly, “much of the responsibility will now be placed on employers, who need to understand which of their staff need to be screened to meet requirements, and how to apply and use relevant checking systems. Employers also need to have an understanding of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act to avoid unlawful discrimination against ex‐offenders.
"Because the risk of non‐compliance is extremely high, I expect more and more organisations will turn to specialist background screening providers to assist with applying for relevant checks, and guidance any which checks should be conducted on which individuals without falling foul of legislation. As the requirements placed on employers become more burdensome and complex, outsourcing this service to specialist companies is likely to become the norm.”
Powerchex is the UK’s premier pre‐employment screening firm for financial institutions. Based in the City of London, Powerchex checks the background, employment history, criminal records and professional qualifications of applicants on behalf of financial institutions. It sets the industry benchmark of 5 days for a background check. www.powerchex.co.uk.