Unlock are asking for people with criminal records to share any experience that they have working in therapeutic fields which are not governed by statutory bodies – for example, counsellors, psycho-therapists or physiotherapists. In particular, we want to know any challenges you face in registering with non-statutory oversight bodies and how it may impact you if they changed their approach in carrying out criminal record checks.
About this call for evidence
The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) oversees bodies who govern people who work in healthcare. This includes statutory bodies such as the General Medical Council as well as non-statutory Accredited Registers who are bodies for other roles in healthcare, such as therapists. You can find more information on Accredited Registers here: Accredited Health Registers | Professional Standards Authority
The Accredited Registers programme accredits registers for people working in roles such as counsellors, psychotherapists, complementary therapists, and sonographers. A full list of Accredited Registers and the roles they regulate can be found here: Find An Accredited Register | Professional Standards Authority
Currently, people are not asked to carry out criminal record checks before being added to these registers, although some people may then be subject to checks by their employer. However, it is also common for people in these roles to be self-employed, and therefore not currently subject to any checks.
As many of these roles involve working in a regulated role unsupervised with children or vulnerable adults, the PSA believe they will be eligible for enhanced checks, sometimes with barring checks. They are therefore keen to produce guidance for Accredited Registers about what checks should be carried out, as well as what policies need to be in place before they do any checks. The PSA would like to understand the implications of encouraging Accredited Registers to carry out checks and what good practice should look like. So they are consulting on the issue.
The full consultation can be found here: PSA consultation | Safeguarding consultation about Accredited Registers accessing criminal record checks (professionalstandards.org.uk)
Unlock have already begun talking to the PSA about how any changes might be implemented, and the PSA have made it clear they would require Accredited Registers to make sure they make any decisions relating to information highlighted in a criminal records check on a case by case basis and give the person the opportunity to explain the context, so that people do not face unnecessary barriers to work.
However, the PSA are keen to understand the impact of additional checks on people with criminal records currently working in these fields. So we are gathering evidence via a survey, which we will share with the PSA to inform their next steps on this. Survey questions broadly cover the following points:
- If you have a criminal record, do you currently face challenges working in any of the roles governed by Accredited Registers?
- If you are self-employed, are there specific advantages or disadvantages you experience in one of these roles?
- If additional/elevated criminal record checks were to be done by Accredited Registers, what impact would this have on you and your work?
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