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Vetting and barring scheme breaches human rights

11 November 2010

In another setback for the much-criticised scheme, the High Court found that adding individuals to the Barred Lists without any opportunity for the individual to be heard is unlawful.

The challenge was brought by the Royal College of Nursing who also argued that the minimum barring period of ten years was disproportionate. Whilst Mr Justice Wyn Williams did not uphold this argument, he expressed a hope that the current review announced in June would also consider the minimum term.

This decision should signal the end of the ‘automatic’ barring process and mean that the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will have to allow written representations on all barring decisions. Not only will this significantly delay barring decisions, it will also increase cost for the ISA in handling and determining those representations. Whilst the terms of reference for the current review have been set, they now have to change to take account not only of this judgment, but the practical and financial implications of following it.

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