Report on the consultation outcome
We have now published our report analysing the responses we received on introducing requirements for Accredited Registers to access criminal records checks. The report is available in both English and Welsh or find out more about our plans to take this work forward.
What happens next?
The Government’s response to the Bailey Review (see below) recommendations will be a key factor in future decisions on criminal records checks.
There are inconsistencies in terms of eligibility and access to criminal records checks for both Accredited Registers and the statutory regulators. From September 2023, we will widen the focus of our work on safeguarding to consider the wider regulatory landscape to gain a better understanding of the inherent risks, with a focus on arrangements for self-employed registrants.
We will continue to engage with relevant bodies to work towards a risk-based, consistent approach. These include the UK Government and the agencies overseeing criminal records checks across the UK (the DBS, Disclosure Scotland and AccessNI).
Related to safeguarding, in April 2023 the Government’s Independent Review of the Disclosure and Barring Regime (‘the Bailey Review) was published. The findings of the Bailey Review, and related Government reviews and Inquiries have potential implications for both the Accredited Registers and the statutory regulators of health professionals that we oversee.
We are considering the findings of the Bailey Review, alongside those of our public consultation. We plan to publish the full consultation report, and next steps, later in the summer. In the meantime, we continue to engage with the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and other key interested parties such as the Disclosure and Barring Service.
What was the consultation about?
Criminal record background checks are an important safeguarding measure which protect patients and the public. They are conducted by different agencies, depending on where in the UK the work is being carried out.
Some practitioners on an Accredited Register are not subject to a criminal record check by an employer, for example, if they are self-employed. We believe there must be confidence in how practitioners are vetted, and appropriate levels of checks conducted regardless of employment status.
Earlier this year, we completed a pilot to test the practical arrangements for Accredited Registers to access checks in England and Wales, with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP). This showed that despite not being an employer or a statutory body, in some circumstances, Accredited Register practitioners are carrying out ‘regulated activity’ meaning they are eligible for the highest level of DBS check.
Why were you consulting?
We wanted to better understand how introducing these changes would affect the Accredited Registers, practitioners, members of the public and people with criminal records.
We will also consider the findings from the Government’s Independent Review into the Disclosure and Barring Regime, which was announced in February 2022. 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.
If you have any questions about the consultation, please get in touch by emailing us at AccreditationTeam@professionalstandards.org.uk
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.
Find out more about the Safeguarding pilot