Independent safeguarding Authority (ISA) explains how VBS works

Published: 02/10/2009


The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) role is to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.

ISA will assess every person who wants to work or volunteer with vulnerable people, through the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) which is operational from 12th October 2009.

Potential employees and volunteers will need to apply to register with the ISA.

Applicants will be assessed using data gathered by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) including relevant criminal convictions, cautions, police intelligence and other appropriate sources. Using this information ISA will decide on a case-by-case basis whether each person is suited to this work. ISA will securely store information about people’s ISA status for employers and voluntary organisations to use when they are recruiting. Only applicants who are judged not to pose a risk to vulnerable people can be ISA-registered. Once the scheme has been fully rolled out, employers who work with vulnerable people will only be allowed to recruit people who are ISA-registered.

How ISA works

ISA will assess every person who wants to work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults. We will do this by working closely with the Criminal Records Bureau (new window) (CRB).

The CRB will receive applications to the ISA and will gather and monitor information. It will also use the information previously found in:

  • the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) list;
  • the Protection of Children Act (PoCA) list; and
  • List 99 (a list of people considered unsuitable for work with children, held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families).

 ISA will then assess this information and decide whether to give the individual concerned ISA registration or put them on one of the ISA Barred Lists.

ISA's records will be constantly updated as fresh information is gathered. If new data indicates that an individual might pose a risk to vulnerable people, they will be put on one of the ISA Barred Lists and their current employer will be informed immediately.

Independent decision-making ISA will be independent. Ministers will no longer be involved in making decisions on individual cases. ISA will make all the discretionary barring decisions that are currently taken by the Secretary of State based on clear criteria and evidence.

Balance of expertise

A board of public appointees and a team of highly trained case workers based in Darlington will support us in our work. ISA will also ensure that the police and other experts are represented.

Clear accountability

Whilst ISA are independent of any one particular government department, they are a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). This means that ISA have certain statutory responsibilities and that our performance, efficiency and effectiveness will be scrutinised closely by both government and stakeholders.