ISA and Offences

David made this Freedom of Information request to Independent Safeguarding Authority

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Independent Safeguarding Authority,

I have two relevant concerns with relation to FOI requests:

-In your documentation you state that the ISA looks into relevant offences - what is a relevant enough offence for the ISA to look into please provide all relevant information relating to that. Which offences would deem a teacher or other person working with children unsuitable - examples would be helpful.

-Since the schools are able and have a responsibility to do this and the GTC do too; so I would be grateful if you could provide all relevant information that outlines exactly how the ISA is providing an extra dimension or additional impetus in safeguarding children/VA if all these organisations have already been working to achieve similar objectives. It would be useful to provide any key decision making that verifies the authority of the ISA in being able to do this.

I am exceptionally grateful for your compliance in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

David Knight

Thank you for your email enquiry. This is an automated email to confirm
that we have received your communication and a response will be
sent within the next 5 working days.

Kinds regards,

The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear David

Thank you for your recent email. Due to the nature of your query you will
need to contact the Independent Safeguarding Authority directly on 01325
953794.

Kind regards,

Victoria Rawlings
The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear VBS Info,

The nature of my inquiry is Freedom of Information and therefore it is reasonable to make this request in writing.

I will prefer a response to an FOI request in writing as they are usually made and not via telephone.

Yours sincerely,

David

Thank you for your email enquiry. This is an automated email to confirm
that we have received your communication and a response will be
sent within the next 5 working days.

Kinds regards,

The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear David

Thank you for your recent email.

I understand that you would prefer to have all correspondence dealt with
via post rather than telephone so I am forwarding our postal address to
you so that you may forward us your information request.

Independent Safeguarding Authority
PO BOX 181
Darlington
DL1 9FA

If you would like to be kept up to date in the future on the Vetting and
Barring scheme, please reply to this email with your preferred contact
details.

Kind regards,

Sarah Fenton
The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear VBS Info,

there has been some confusion. At the outset I wanted to solve the query through here. When I refer to 'in writing' I mean on here - this is my preference.

It would be easier for other people with similar queries and I believe this would incur less costs with postal charges e.t.c.

Yours sincerely,

David

Thank you for your email enquiry. This is an automated email to confirm
that we have received your communication and a response will be
sent within the next 5 working days.

Kinds regards,

The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear David

Your details have now been passed directly to the Home Office who will
reply to you directly. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Kind regards,
Karen Dicks
The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear Independent Safeguarding Authority,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Independent Safeguarding Authority's handling of my FOI request 'ISA and Offences'.

I have specifically asked the ISA for information related to and held by your organisation; so I do not believe it is acceptable to refer the FOI request to the Home Office. Also you have not indicated either way why they cannot undertake the FOI as requested within the ISA.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/is...

Yours faithfully,

David

Thank you for your email enquiry. This is an automated email to confirm
that we have received your communication and a response will be
sent within the next 5 working days.

Kinds regards,

The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear David

Sorry for any confusion caused, the reason your request has been sent to
the Home Office is we do not hold at the Helpline the information you
require. We have sent your query directly to the Home Office so it can be
dealt with correctly

Kind regards

Karen Dicks

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Dear VBS Info,

Is it not possible to refer that to the ISA proper? This is the contact for FOI requests for the ISA.

Yours sincerely,

David

Thank you for your email enquiry. This is an automated email to confirm
that we have received your communication and a response will be
sent within the next 5 working days.

Kinds regards,

The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Dear David

I do not have a direct email address for a contact at the ISA, our contact
at the Home Office will have all the information you require.

Kind Regards
Karen Dicks

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Dear VBS Info,

If the request is being handled by the HO then it should pertain to information held by the ISA.

If it does not then I insist on the internal review of my request as it is likely the HO do not hold such information since they are not the ISA.

Yours sincerely,

David

Thank you for your email enquiry. This is an automated email to confirm
that we have received your communication and a response will be
sent within the next 5 working days.

Kinds regards,

The Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team

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Roberts Richard,

Dear Mr Knight

The Vetting and Barring Scheme contact centre is run by the Home Office
and are a private contractor. Their remit is to deal with issues
relating to the Scheme, as distinct from those dealt with by the ISA, an
independent body.

We understand, however, that the VBS and the ISA are synonymous for
many and so we aim to deal with FOI requests received through our
contact centre in a humane and sensible manner. It would be unreasonable
for us to provide an 'information not held' response to every request
that should have gone to the ISA directly.

This requires that the contact centre pass requests to us as soon as
they receive it so that we may determine where it should be directed to.
If necessary, we will contact the applicant directly to establish which
agency they are requesting the information from.

In this case, your request was passed to the ISA, who will contact you
direct.

Regards,
Rich

--
Richard Roberts
Vetting and Barring Scheme - Home Office
4th Floor Fry
2 Marsham Street
SW1P 4DF

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Rees Jones Haydn, Independent Safeguarding Authority

Mr David Knight

[1][FOI #28573 email]

9 March 2010

Dear Mr Knight,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST IG/FOI/085/2010

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) on 10 February 2010. I
note you seek access to the following information:

1. In your documentation you state that the ISA looks into relevant
offences - what is a relevant enough offence for the ISA to look into
please provide all relevant information relating to that. Which offences
would deem a teacher or other person working with children unsuitable?

2. Since the schools are able and have a responsibility to do this
and the GTC do too; so I would be grateful if you could provide all
relevant information that outlines exactly how the ISA is providing an
extra dimension or additional impetus in safeguarding children/VA if all
these organisations have already been working to achieve similar
objectives. It would be useful to provide any key decision making that
verifies the authority of the ISA in being able to do this.

Although the Independent Safeguarding Authority is not subject to the
Freedom of Information Act, your request has been considered in the spirit
of the legislation.

In answer to question one above, relevant offences are the prescribed
criteria in relation to the duty to refer. These are set out in
legislation and available on the OPSI website. The legislation is the:

o Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (Prescribed Criteria and
Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2009/37
(http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20...)
o Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (Prescribed Criteria) (Foreign
Offences) Order 2008/3050

(http://www.uk-legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si...).

Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act (Information accessible to
applicant by other means) would apply as this information is available in
the public domain and is reasonably accessible.

In answer to your second question, the ISA was created to make decisions
on who should or should not be prevented from working with children or
vulnerable adults due to the potential risk of harm they pose to these
groups.

In his report following the Soham murders, Sir Michael Bichard recommended
a new scheme that would require those who wish to work with vulnerable
groups to be registered. Part of that recommendation (recommendation 19)
was for a central authority of experts who could take decisions based on
ALL available information.

Before the introduction of the Vetting and Barring Scheme information was
retained by individual authorities and could only be shared subject to
Data Protection legislation. As a result no one organisation could develop
a complete picture of an individual on which to base a risk assessment.
Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (2006 Act) those
organisations who hold relevant information will be under a legal duty to
provide it to the ISA.

The ISA also understand the importance of other organisations in
safeguarding vulnerable groups, and the different powers provided for
different sectors. For example the ISA will take decision on whether or
not a person should be prevented from working with children or vulnerable
adults in all areas of regulated activity. Where the ISA do not think this
is appropriate other organisations such as professional regulators may
wish to make an assessment in relation to their particular sector.
Section 43 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 places a duty on
the ISA to share this information with keepers of registers.

The most important and fundamental benefit of the Vetting and Barring
Scheme is the ability to gather and share information to ensure the right
organisations have the right information to make consistent, robust, fair
and transparent decisions that will protect children and vulnerable
adults.

I trust this response fully addresses your questions; however, if you are
dissatisfied with the handling of your request for information you can
lodge a complaint with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to have your
request reviewed.

The Independent Safeguarding Authority must be notified of your intention
to complain within two months of the date of this response to your
request.

Complaints should be made in writing and addressed to:

Elaine Lowcock

Independent Safeguarding Authority

PO BOX 181

Darlington

Co Durham

DL1 9FA

In all possible circumstances the Independent Safeguarding Authority will
aim to respond to your complaint as soon as practicable and in any case
within two months.

Yours sincerely,

Haydn Rees Jones

Information Governance Officer

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #28573 email]

Dear Rees Jones Haydn,

Can I clarify that, is it the ISA's judgement to concentrate on sexual/violent offences or all judgements on suitability to work with children in general? There is a degree of cross over I presume with some of the selection undertaken by the GTC and I have made a separate request to them. I am very satisfied with the information provided so far; and thank you sincerely for what has been given.

Yours sincerely,

David Knight

Rees Jones Haydn, Independent Safeguarding Authority

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office today and will return on
Monday 29 March 2010. I will reply to your email on my return. If you
query is urgent please contact Elaine Lowcock on 3742.

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Rees Jones Haydn, Independent Safeguarding Authority

Mr David Knight

[1][FOI #28573 email]

31 March 2010

Dear Mr Knight,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST IG/FOI/104/2010

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) on 30 March 2010. I note
you seek access to the following information:

Is it the ISA's judgement to concentrate on sexual/violent offences or all
judgements on suitability to work with children in general? There is a
degree of cross over I presume with some of the selection undertaken by
the GTC

Although the ISA is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, your
request has been considered in the spirit of the legislation.

The ISA's barring decision-making process is designed to ensure all
barring decisions are made on a fair, rigorous, consistent, transparent
and legitimate basis. The ISA gathers and considers facts and information
from a number of sources including employers, Police, local authorities
and professional regulators with the aim of getting a complete picture of
the person and the case from all available information.

All information is carefully assessed and evaluated. For a case to
progress through the decision-making process it must be backed by verified
evidence. The ISA only makes barring decisions where there is sound
evidence and

where the person poses a future risk of harm to children or vulnerable
adults.

When considering a case under the ISA's decision-making process, the ISA
looks at the harm or risk of harm to children and / or vulnerable adults.
Harm is not defined under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and
as such can take many dimensions such as physical, sexual, emotional,
neglect, financial etc.

There are also offences known as `autobar' or `auto-inclusion' offences.
If a person is cautioned or convicted for one of these offences they will
`automatically' be placed on a barred list. Some of these offences may
permit representations to be made for removal from a barred list. Lists of
these offences can be found on the ISA website.

The ISA works closely with professional regulators such as the General
Teaching Council (GTC) and shares information appropriately in accordance
with its legal powers. However there are important differences between our
roles. For example, the GTC considers both misconduct and safeguarding
cases under its fitness to practice processes. The ISA on the other hand,
only considers safeguarding cases involving children and vulnerable
adults. However, an ISA bar is in force across the entire regulated
workforce while the GTC only regulates its specific sector.

I trust this response fully addresses your questions; however, if you are
dissatisfied with the handling of your request for information you can
lodge a complaint with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to have your
request reviewed.

The Independent Safeguarding Authority must be notified of your intention
to complain within two months of the date of this response to your
request.

Complaints should be made in writing and addressed to:

Elaine Lowcock

Independent Safeguarding Authority

PO BOX 181

Darlington

Co Durham

DL1 9FA

In all possible circumstances the Independent Safeguarding Authority will
aim to respond to your complaint as soon as practicable and in any case
within two months.

Yours sincerely,

Haydn Rees Jones

Information Governance Officer

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #28573 email]

Dear Rees Jones Haydn,

Alsop High School have informed me that you provide schools with a list of offences that would debar someone. Please indicate these to me.

Yours sincerely,

David

INFOGOV, Independent Safeguarding Authority

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Knight,

Please see attached.

Information Governance

Independent Safeguarding Authority
Stephenson House
PO Box 181
Darlington
DL1 9FA

www.isa-gov.org.uk


<<Response 04052010_.doc>>

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