Guidance relating to the management of allegations against professionals and volunteers was first introduced following the Bichard Inquiry into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham (2002). A range of recommendations were made that were designed to make it harder for unsuitable people to have access to children and young people through their employment or volunteering activities, and to deal efficiently and effectively with any allegations made against them.
Definition of an allegation
Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child, or
Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or
Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.
There may be up to three strands in the consideration of an allegation:
- A police investigation of a possible criminal offence;
- Enquiries and assessment by children’s social care about whether a child is in need of protection or in need of services; and
- Consideration by an employer of disciplinary action in respect of the individual.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
The DBS was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and started operating on 1 December 2012. It carries out the functions previously undertaken by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for England and Wales and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In June 2010, Ministers announced that the implementation of the vetting and barring scheme was to be halted, pending a review which was published in February 2011. The vetting and barring scheme remodelling review recommended merging the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority into a new non-departmental public body that could administer a central vetting service.
The new scheme would retain the features of the vetting and barring service, but does not require registration or monitoring, and would only cover those who have regular or close contact with vulnerable groups, defined as ‘regulated activity’ in legislation.
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What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is when someone raises a concern about a dangerous or illegal activity or any wrongdoing within their organisation.
Raising a concern is known as “blowing the whistle” and is a vital process for identifing risks to people’s safety.
Sharing information or talking through a concern can be the first step to helping an organisation identify problems and improve their practices.
If you think an organisation is putting children at risk, even if you’re not certain, call the NSPCC Whistleblowing Advice Line to talk through your concerns.