Government makes vetting and barring U-turn
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The government has taken a U-turn on plans to scale back the age limit on vetting and barring arrangements for children's professionals.
Under the Protection of Freedoms Bill the arrangements would have no longer applied to those working with only 16- and 17-year-olds.
But ahead of a debate at the committee stage of the bill today the government has added an amendment to keep the cut off age at 18.
Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC, which had lobbied for the amendment, said: "The government’s amendment is absolutely right. We welcome this wholeheartedly as it will make a huge difference to the safety of young people.
"Young people can be particularly vulnerable to grooming and abuse from adults who work with them and wish to develop inappropriate relationships. Therefore it is important that adults working closely with these young people are subject to robust checks."
Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone confirmed that the amendment has been made following discussions with the NSPCC and other children’s charities.
She said: "We have engaged with children's charities, including the NSPCC, throughout the process and are today amending the Protection of Freedoms Bill so the scheme includes people working with 16- and 17-year-olds to address their concerns and ensure children and vulnerable people are protected."