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Safeguarding and Accredited Registers

About Accredited Registers

A safeguarding gap?

To date, Accredited Registers have experienced challenges in accessing criminal record checks for their registrants. This has meant a gap in checks for registrants who are self-employed and not having these checks undertaken by employers.

Accredited Registers are organisations that hold voluntary registers of people working in health and care roles that are not required by law to be registered. To be accredited by us, they must meet our Standards for Accredited Registers. More about Accredited Registers can be found here.

What is safeguarding – criminal records checks?

Criminal record background checks are an important part of safeguarding measures to protect patients and the public. They are conducted by different agencies, depending on where in the UK the work is being carried out:

Employers are the main route for the checks taking place. Although the regulators and Accredited Registers are not employers, some undertake criminal records checks for self-employed registrants.

Safeguarding pilot

We are therefore pleased to have launched a pilot scheme aimed at addressing the current gap in checks of self-employed Accredited Register practitioners. We have launched the scheme in conjunction with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP), one of our Accredited Registers.

This pilot, along with the Government’s own review, will look at how safeguards can be strengthened for people seeking treatment from unregulated, self-employed health and care workers.

What will the safeguarding pilot cover?

The pilot will include DBS checks for self-employed practitioners registered with the Association of Child Psychotherapists. It will mean enhanced with barred list checks for a small, randomly selected sample of self-employed registrants on the ACP's register.

The pilot will be used to inform our understanding of eligibility and practical implications of Accredited Registers making these checks.

Government review

In parallel, in February 2022 the Government announced its Independent Review into the Disclosure and Barring Regime. The purpose of the review is to provide assurance to Ministers about the effectiveness of the disclosure and barring regime in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. It will include reviewing the definition of ‘regulated’ activity, used to determine who is eligible for a higher-level DBS check; and eligibility gaps for disclosure checks for the self-employed. ‘ The scope of the review, will be relevant to statutory regulators as well as the Accredited Registers.

What will happen next?

We will use the findings of our pilot and Government’s review, to decide whether a wider rollout of checks for Accredited Registers would be of value. This will consider how a cohesive approach across the four UK countries can be achieved

Further information about criminal records checks within the UK

Information about checks in Scotland

Changes are underway to criminal record checks in Scotland. The scheme in place operates on a different basis to that in the rest of the UK. The information below has been provided by Disclosure Scotland, for Accredited Registers.

What type of criminal record check should be used for an individual on a regulated profession or on one of the accredited registers?

The type of check appropriate for the role on an accredited register will depend on what the duties of the role involve. You should check with the relevant agency if you are unsure which type of criminal record check to apply for. 

We recommend that the highest level of check available for the role is carried out as part of safe recruitment practice. 

The PVG Scheme

The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership scheme is managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland. It helps ensure people whose behaviour makes them unsuitable to work with children and protected adults cannot do 'regulated work' with these vulnerable groups. A PVG Scheme member's certificate shows the information available on the day it was created. Membership of the scheme lasts forever though, and scheme members are continuously checked, unless they decide to leave the scheme.

Not all roles on accredited registers will be eligible for PVG membership and it’s important that you only access PVG checks when you’re entitled to do so. You can find out more about the types of work covered by the PVG Scheme on the Disclosure Scotland website

What type of PVG check can I use if I am employed by an organisation or if I have been employed under a contract of service/contract for services? 

If you’re working for an organisation in a role considered to be 'regulated work', your employer can ask you to join the PVG Scheme, either by applying for a Scheme Record or a Short Scheme Record. You can find out more about this on the Disclosure Scotland website.

These types of certificate provide confirmation of the individual’s scheme membership details, along with details of vetting information (or state that there is no vetting information.  

What type of PVG check can I use if I am self employed?

If you're self-employed and doing regulated work for an individual (rather than for an organisation), you can join the PVG scheme without an organisation countersigning your application.

This is known as a Scheme Membership Statement application. If you're working for an individual (a personal employer), you can choose to ask them to countersign your application. They'll be sent a copy of your PVG certificate.

A Scheme Membership Statement will provide confirmation of the individual’s scheme membership details and, if provided, the name and address of the personal employer. You can find out more about this on the Disclosure Scotland website.

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Use our check a practitioner tool to make sure that they are regulated or registered

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Accredited Registers research: how the public perceive concepts of efficacy

Read our qualitative research looking to understand how the the public interpret the Accredited Registers programme and efficacy and how this impacts patients’ decision-making and how they choose practitioners.