Independent Safeguarding Authority

The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was a British non-departmental public body, that existed until 1 December 2012, when it merged with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The ISA was created by the Labour Government 2007-2010. The tabloid media campaign and the decision to set up the ISA followed an inquiry headed by Sir Michael Bichard that was set up in the wake of the Soham Murders. The ISA was to oversee a new Vetting and Barring Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which was to have required all those working with vulnerable groups to undergo an enhanced vetting procedure before being allowed to commence any relevant duties.

On 15 June 2010, the new coalition government Home Secretary Teresa May announced that plans under which all new applicants for jobs working with children and the vulnerable along with those changing posts would have to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority were being halted and that the Vetting and Barring Scheme would be severely "scaled back". This will save the UK taxpayer around £100 million a year. The Home Secretary went on to say that the protection of children and vulnerable adults would from here on focus upon "common sense" rather than the measures Labour introduced. She said that "what we have got to do is actually trust people again you were assumed to be guilty, in a sense, until you were proven innocent and told you were able to work with children."

A review into the Vetting and Barring Scheme was published on 11 February 2011. This made recommendations for the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority into one non-departmental public body, responsible for barring individuals and completing criminal record checks. Under the Protection of Freedoms Act, the new scheme will not require registration, nor in most cases will any details be retained on a database. The exception will be for those who are barred, whether this be on the basis of a crime or on the basis of 'soft intelligence', e.g. a dismissal by an employer. This has led to continued criticism from a variety of organizations.

Read more about Independent Safeguarding AuthorityBackground, The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, Vetting and Barring Scheme, The Original Structure and Design, Comparison With CRB Disclosures, Implementation, Initial Criticism, The Singleton and Munro Reviews, Criticisms 2009-2012

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