The Independent Safeguarding Authority Scheme

What is the IndependentSafeguarding Authority?

The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is a new public body which has been created to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. From October 2009, all individuals working or volunteering with vulnerable adults or children will be required to register with the ISA. This will affect over 11 million people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland an aligned scheme is being set up under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG)(Scotland) Act 2007. Proposals on the implementation of the PVG legislation will be consulted on in late 2008 and it is expected to be very similar to the ISA scheme.
The introduction of the ISA scheme and the aligned scheme in Scotland follow a recommendation of the Bichard Inquiry Report which was undertaken after the tragic Soham murders in 2002. This recommendation called for a registration system for all those who work with children and vulnerable adults.
The Independent Safeguarding Authority scheme will replace existing lists such as 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) and its remit will be expanded to include a vast array of previously unregulated employment categories.

Who will be registered on the ISA scheme?

You will be required to be registered on the ISA scheme if you come into regular contact with vulnerable people, including children, older people, sick people and prisoners. If you are a migrant
worker you will also have to be registered on the ISA scheme.
Many UNISON members will need to be ISA-registered, including nurses, healthcare assistants, social workers, ambulance crews, teachers, teaching assistants, youth and community workers, occupational therapists, senior carers, prison warders, caretakers, cleaners and office staff. And it
will also affect volunteers and self employed people who work with vulnerable groups such as childminders, swimming instructors and carers.

What will the ISA do?

ISA registrants will be assessed using data gathered by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in England and Wales or Access NI (ANI) in Northern Ireland.
The data gathered will include relevant criminal convictions, cautions, police intelligence and information referred to the ISA from other sources such as employers and professional bodies.
Once you are registered you will be given an ISA registration number and will remain on the ISA database even if you change employers.
If the ISA receives information which it decides means that an individual poses a risk, they will be put on an ISA barred list and may not be able to work with vulnerable people. Individuals will have the right to make representations, in writing, and to appeal to the Care Standards tribunal.

What’s the difference between the ISA and my professional registration body?

ISA looks at whether workers pose a risk of harm to children and vulnerable adults. Your professional registration body looks at a much wider range of fitness to practise and conduct issues.

When does it start?

The ISA have announced that the scheme will be introduced on 12 October 2009.
New entrants to the workforce and those moving jobs will be the first to go through the scheme.
Members of the existing workforce will be phased into the scheme over a five year period.

How much will it cost?

The ISA has stated that individuals in paid employment in England and Wales will be required to pay
£64 and in Northern Ireland the fee will be £58. The fee will be a one-off payment and is intended
to cover the applicant for the duration of their career.
Those involved only in unpaid voluntary activity will pay no application fee.
UNISON strongly believes that the cost of the scheme should NOT be borne by individuals and we are campaigning for the fee to be paid for by employers.

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We have a range of documents related to this issue:

Policy Paper
Parliamentary Briefing
Staff Side Principles
Branch Briefing

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