Northern Ireland Helps To Check Children, Vulnerable Adults

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Northern Ireland Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey today announced that procedures to prevent unsuitable individuals from working with children and vulnerable adults would transfer to the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

This is part of a wider Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) which aims to improve protection for the most vulnerable in society. The establishment of the VBS emanated from the 2004 Bichard Inquiry into the deaths of two young children in Soham.

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The Minister said: “Under the new vetting and barring arrangements, decision-making about who is placed on barred lists, preventing them from working with children and vulnerable adults will transfer from my Department and the Department of Education to a new Independent Safeguarding Authority.

“The decision to transfer responsibility to the ISA is a direct outcome of the Bichard Inquiry report, which recommended that decisions about who should be barred from working with the most vulnerable should be taken by experts, who are independent of Government.”

The Minister continued: “My Department is leading on the implementation of a new Vetting and Barring Scheme in Northern Ireland. The ISA will be central to this new scheme. It will work on behalf of Northern Ireland, England and Wales by establishing and maintaining lists of individuals barred from working with children and vulnerable adults and making decisions about who can join. Over time, only those individuals, who are members of the VBS, will be permitted to work with vulnerable groups.”

From 13 March 2009 all new barring decisions will be made by the ISA. Work on the establishment of the Vetting and Barring Scheme is continuing and further guidance and information will be made available to employers, employees and volunteers in the coming months.

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