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The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (SVGA) 2006 introduced very significant changes in the way that people who work with children or vulnerable adults are vetted.

The purpose of this act is to restrict contact between children and vulnerable adults and those who might do them harm. The barring aspects of the Act came into force in October 2009. The Government is currently reviewing the implementation timetable for other parts of the Act, such as the provisions requiring employees to become ‘ISA-registered’.

The ISA will make all decisions about who should be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults. The Vetting and barring scheme will deal with activities that are classified as ‘regulated’ or ‘controlled’. These activities include both paid and unpaid (voluntary) work.

There will be two separate but aligned ISA Barred Lists one for those barred from working with children and one of those barred from working with vulnerable adults. Barred individuals will be placed on one or both of these lists.

Some offences will automatically result in the individual being barred, without leave to appeal or to make mitigating representations.
Relevant information about an individual can be referred to the ISA from interested parties such as employers, regulatory bodies, or even concerned members of the public.

Individuals listed on one of the ISA Barred Lists may have the right to appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal on a point of fact or law but not on the ISA’s decision.

A series of new criminal offences will be created to enforce the new scheme. These will relate to both employers and employees.

While the 2006 Act itself is very complex, its key principles are straightforward. Unsuitable persons should be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

Employers should have a straightforward means of checking that a person is not barred from working with children and vulnerable adults
Suitability checks on employees should not be one-offs, there should be an element of ongoing assessment of suitability to catch those who commit wrongs following a suitability check.