Your Questions Answered
- What does the acronym 'ISA' stand for?
The Independent Safeguarding Authority
- Who runs the ISA?
The ISA is a Non-Departmental Public Body set up by the Home Office to provide a new vetting and barring service for those working with children and vulnerable adults. The ISA is independent of Government and run by Civil Servants.
- What will the ISA do?
The ISA will assess relevant information on individual applicants and, where they believe this indicates that the individual poses a risk, bar them from working in regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults. However, it is important to understand that in carrying out this function the ISA will not be barring every single individual with any kind of criminal conviction or based on other information known about them. Only those who pose an obvious risk will be barred. To gain a full picture of an individual's record employers will need to obtain a CRB check..
- Does the ISA cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
No. The ISA only covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland - Scotland has its own equivalent Scheme.
- When will the ISA Scheme launch?
12 October 2009
- What has caused the delay?
This scheme - like any that aims to safeguard children or vulnerable adults - is still a very high priority with Government. The launch date ensures that a full and robust testing regime can be followed so that the scheme will work properly from day one of operation. Whilst it is important to ensure that the new scheme is brought in as quickly as possible it is also vital to ensure that it can deal with the demand that it will create. The new launch date takes this factor into account
- Who is to blame for the delay?
The ISA Scheme will be the largest of its kind anywhere in the world and will affect some 11.3m individuals when it is fully implemented. Creating a large and complex system like this is a difficult task: it takes time to get right. The Home Office is confident that the ISA scheme it is creating will be thorough and robust, improving the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the UK.
- Who was awarded the contract to deliver the ISA scheme?
LogicaCMG was awarded the contract to deliver the IT services to support ISA and its new scheme.
- What part does Capita play in this new service?
Capita, CRB's private sector partner, operates the administration infrastructure and call centre for Enhanced and Standard CRB checks. Capita will support the CRB in making the changes necessary to the Disclosure service so that it can interface with the ISA IT system provided by LogicaCMG.
- Will I need to have all my staff and volunteers who are working with children and vulnerable adults registered with the ISA by 12 October 2009? No. The requirements to be registered with the ISA will be phased in over 5 years. No further details are available from ISA at this stage.
- Will it be illegal to employ someone who is not registered
Yes eventually, but organisations will be given up to 5 years to ensure all current employees and volunteers are ISA-registered.
- How much will it cost for an individual to register with
This is one-off registration fee
- Will volunteers have to pay the ISA registration fee?
- How can an employer check if someone is ISA-registered?
There are two ways to carry out an ISA check- both require the consent of the individual.
1) Online [£0.00]: This will confirm whether or not the person is registered with the ISA
2) Enhanced CRB check [no additional charge to the CRB fee of £36.00]: This will provide more information than the online check as it will reveal a person's full criminal record, any other relevant information and the ISA registration status. If the person is barred it will also provide the reason(s) for that bar.
- What happens if someone who is ISA-registered commits a
serious offence and as a result becomes barred?
The individual's ISA registration will cease.
An online ISA check will reveal that the individual is not ISA-registered.
An Enhanced CRB check will reveal that the person is barred and the reasons for that bar.
- Will the ISA notify the employer that the individual's ISA
registration status has changed?
The ISA will notify all organisations who have registered an interest in the persons ISA registration status.
- How will an organisation register an interest in an
individuals ISA registration status?
This process has yet to be defined by the ISA. This registration of interest will be an online process and organisations will need the consent of the individual.
- Does the ISA replace the Criminal Records Bureau?
No. The ISA is a new service that will enhance the current service to employers provided by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
- Does ISA replace the 3 current government lists of those
banned from working with children and the vulnerable? (POCA, POVA and List 99).
The ISA will maintain two registers, one for the children and one for the vulnerable adult workforce.
- What is the difference between the service offered by the
ISA and the CRB?
The ISA will prevent the most unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults by making it a legal requirement for everyone who is working with children or the vulnerable to be registered with the ISA. The CRB will continue to support employers by providing them with access to an individual's full criminal record and other information so that they can assess the individual's suitability for the particular post or position.
- Does an ISA check replace a CRB check?
An ISA check will reveal if the person is registered and able to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.
A CRB check will reveal if the person has a criminal record or if any relevant non-conviction information
A person could be registered with the ISA but still have a criminal record that if known by the employer would make the person unsuitable to do a particular job.
- Will I still need to carry out CRB checks?
For those individuals registered with the ISA scheme, further Enhanced CRB checks will be at the employer's discretion and organisations may still wish to apply for CRB Enhanced Disclosures to obtain an individual's full criminal record. However, where there is a legal requirement to check or they are required by a regulatory body such as the OFSTED, it is envisaged that existing statutory requirements for CRB Enhanced Disclosures will still apply. Please contact the relevant organisation(s) for more information.
- How will individuals apply to register with the ISA?
Individuals in England and Wales will apply to the CRB, through one of its Registered Bodies, for registration with the ISA.
Individuals in Northern Ireland will apply through AccessNI.
- Why do individuals have to apply through the CRB for an ISA
The CRB was selected by the government to provide the administrative support to the ISA for the application process. The benefit of this is that the CRB has the experience of handling large volumes of applications for CRB checks. However, the decision to register or bar a person will rest with the ISA.
- How many organisations are registered with CRB and willing
to process ISA registration applications?
The CRB has around 5,000 registered organisations who can apply directly to the CRB for CRB checks on their own staff. These organisations will also be able to submit ISA Registration applications and ISA checks.
Of these organisations, around 1,500 also process CRB checks on behalf of other non-registered organisation - these are referred to as Umbrella Bodies. These Umbrella Bodies will also be able to submit ISA Registration applications and ISA checks for their clients.
The CRB will update its search facility of its online Umbrella Body database to highlight which organisations will process ISA registration and ISA checks.
- Does this mean that there will be a new CRB application
You will be able to apply for ISA registration and a CRB check (including an ISA check) on the same form.
- When will the new application form be available?
The new application form will be available to customers in plenty of time for the launch of the ISA Scheme. This will provide customers time to train their staff and make any changes to their own systems and procedures.
- Will the criteria for Standard and Enhanced CRB checks need
to change as a result of the SA scheme?
Yes. If you currently apply for a Standard CRB check on those working with children and/or vulnerable adults you will in future be entitled to an Enhanced CRB check
An Enhanced CRB check will continue to be available to individuals who are not required to register with the ISA, for example those working within the Gambling Commission.
A Standard CRB check will be for all other positions covered by the Exceptions Order 1975 to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, for example positions within the Security Industry and Financial Services.
Will the CRB
be able to cope with the massive increase in demand for the new ISA checks?
Yes. The CRB has been fully involved in all discussions as a key partner and stakeholder for the development of the ISA scheme. The CRB will be fully equipped and ready to administer the checks needed for the rollout of ISA registration.
- Where can I go to get more information?
The CRB will keep its customers updated with developments through its monthly newsletter.
In the coming months the CRB will also develop a dedicated section of its website (www.crb.gov.uk <http://www.crb.gov.uk/>) to provide guidance on the ISA application process.
In the meantime, for information about the ISA and its new service please visit the ISA's website www.isa-gov.org <http://www.isa-gov.org/>
- Where can I go to get more information about the
arrangements for Northern Ireland and Scotland?
For Northern Ireland: AccessNI is a new body, established by Northern Ireland Office (NIO), to provide criminal record checks. It replaces the Protection of Children (POC (NI) and Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA (NI) Services, provided by DHSSPS, from 1 April 2008. More information is available from AccessNI at www.accessni.gov.uk <http://www.accessni.gov.uk/>
For Scotland: Disclosure Scotland is currently a service provided by Scottish Ministers to manage and operate the Disclosure service in Scotland as provided for in Part V of the Police Act 1997. From October 2007, Disclosure Scotland will form part of a (shadow) Scottish Government agency which will plan then manage and operate the new vetting and barring service as provided for in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007. www.disclosurescotland.co.uk <http://www.disclosurescotland.co.uk/>
For information about the Independent Safeguarding Authority please visit the ISA website www.isa-gov.org <http://www.isa-gov.org/>. You can also visit the latest news page of our website www.crb.gov.uk <http://www.crb.gov.uk/> to read the latest news from CRB.