Vetting database will cost NHS and public bodies £170m

The Government's controversial vetting database will cost the British public at least £170m,
The Independent can disclose.

The Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS), which comes into force next month and is intended to prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults, has already cost the Government £84m to set up.

Now, public bodies such as the NHS and the Prison Service will be forced to spend millions of pounds registering their employees on the scheme, at a time when their budgets have already been squeezed. Anyone who wants to work with children or vulnerable adults must pay a mandatory, one-off registration fee of £64. Almost all of the NHS's 1.3 million employees will have to join, leaving the organisation facing a total bill of about £83m.

Although each NHS trust can instruct its employees to pay their own fees, The Independent understands that almost all intend to foot the bill themselves, in much the same way as they have covered existing Criminal Records Bureau checks.

Prisoners are also classed as vulnerable adults, so the country's 40,000 registered prison officers will also need to register. The Prison Service has agreed to meet their registration costs, which amount to more than £2.5m.

Each individual must be cleared by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which will employ 200 case workers to sift through information passed to them by the police, professional bodies and employers before making a judgement.

From 12 October, it will become a criminal offence for people on the ISA's barred list to seek employment with children or vulnerable adults, and for employers to hire them. The offence carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the individual and six months for the employer, and fines of £5,000.

Within five years, the Government estimates that the details of 11.3 million people will be stored on the database, making it the largest of its kind in the world. The tighter rules mean that the number of people barred from working with vulnerable groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will double from 20,000 to 40,000.

Other affected groups include local councils – many of which will be expected to cover the registration costs of social workers and children's services teams – and police forces which have officers working in child protection units.

The Local Government Association said it was concerned about the increased cost to councils and their staff, and that "questions need to be asked" about the £64 fee. Public anger over the intrusive nature of the VBS has grown since this newspaper revealed that a group of respected British children's authors and illustrators intended to stop visiting schools in protest.

Parents who help out at sports or social clubs such as the Cub Scouts will also have to be cleared by the ISA, as will those who host foreign pupils as part of school exchange trips, although they will not have to pay the fee.

The Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said the scheme was a "disproportionate response" that risked deterring people from volunteering.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
The US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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 General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'