Clause 11

Part of Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 1:00 pm ar 13 Gorffennaf 2006.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Shadow Minister (Education) 1:00, 13 Gorffennaf 2006

I want to take this opportunity to raise a couple of points with the Minister. Although these are technical amendments, they raise some issues that are worthy of a little more substantive debate. Regulated activity providers are sanctioned if they do not check that an individual is monitored when taking him into employment. Obviously, the penalty is onerous. The clause also permits employers to employ individuals without checks on an occasional basis; we have had that debate and we may have it again so I will not delay the Committee by raising the issue now.

However, there is another provision whereby an employer can take an individual on, and that is if he obtains written confirmation from another regulatory provider who employs the individual in a regulated activity. Basically, the first employer provides an underwriting of the fact that that individual is monitored and is eligible for employment. I am not at all clear why amendment No. 149 has been tabled. It seems to produce an additional complication in terms of the employment structure of an individual who may be taken into a monitored environment where a particular employer has not made a check against his barred status. Could the Minister take the opportunity to look at that?

My second point relates to another complex issue in the clause. Obviously we are looking to create a workable system, but the clause is very complex. As I said, an existing employer can endorse an employee’s suitability for another employer. Could any further detail be added in this part of the Bill about when the initial employer’s liability ends in terms of the reference that he has given that employee to go into another working situation where he has not been checked for monitoring or barred status?

It is not entirely clear from the Bill what happens when, for instance, an individual is barred after an initial reference has been given. Would the original employer have a duty to inform the second employer of the change in barred status? I can entirely understand why it would be necessary to give employers the ability to give these types of reference, but given that people’s barred status can change, can the Minister clarify whether there will be an obligation on employers who have given such undertakings to ensure that other individuals are kept up to date with any changes that occur?