Eleven million names on school vetting database

Outcry grows as scale of Government's child protection register revealed

Parents who help out on school trips or accept foreign exchange students into their homes will have to register on a government database in order to prove they are not a danger to children.

Within five years, more than 11 million people will be stored by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) as part of the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS), which launches in October and is intended to protect children from paedophiles. By November next year, it will be mandatory for all individuals who work with children to be registered.

MPs who regularly visit schools in their constituencies, parents who allow foreign pupils to stay in their houses as part of school exchange programmes and builders who carry out work on school buildings during term time will all need to register, as the list includes anyone who comes into contact with children in a professional or voluntary capacity. They will have to register with the national database for a one-off fee of £64. Those who have already had a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and are cleared to work with children will still have to sign up and pay.

People who regularly volunteer to work at schools – such as parents helping out on school trips or sports days – will also need to register, although they will not have to pay the fee.

The new rules mean that millions of people who have jobs which involve indirect contact with children will have to be assessed in case they pose a risk. School janitors, cleaners and kitchen staff will have to pay the registration fee, as will electricians, plumbers and joiners if they are regularly employed by schools. Members of the fire, police and ambulance services who tour the country talking to pupils about issues such as road safety and sexual health will need to be vetted, as will members of the armed forces who give frequent careers talks and cadet instructors.

The Home Office estimates that the database will hold the details of 11.3 million people within five years. Even if just half of the participants pay the £64 fee in this time, the Government will have raised about £360m in revenue.

The scheme is being managed by the ISA, which was set up after the 2002 murders of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells by Ian Huntley, a college caretaker.

The VBS has already provoked anger among people who are accustomed to visiting schools on a regular basis. Yesterday, The Independent reported that a group of respected British children's authors and illustrators intended to stop visiting schools in protest at the scheme. Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake all said they objected to being registered on the database. Mr Pullman described the policy as "corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction", while Mr Horowitz said the £64 registration fee had "a nasty feeling of a stealth tax about it".

David Lyscom, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, which represents 1,280 schools and more than 500,000 children across the UK, said the VBS was a "knee-jerk reaction" to the issue of child protection which was "full of unintended consequences".

He said it had been mishandled in the same way as ContactPoint, the government database which holds information on every child in England under the age of 18. ContactPoint was set up following Lord Laming's inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié, who was murdered by her guardians in 2000. "Our view is that this is another example of the Government identifying a problem of limited size and producing a global solution to deal with it, using a sledgehammer to crack a nut," he said.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The UK already has one of the most advanced systems in the world for carrying out checks on all those who work in positions of trust with children and vulnerable adults. From October this year, the new VBS will ensure these regulations are even more rigorous."

£360m

The amount the Government will raise if half the 11.3 million people who will be on the database in five years pay the £64 fee.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Senior Textiles / Fashion Technician

£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To contribute to the day-to-da...

Recruitment Genius: Health and Social Care NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high