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Unlock responds to consultation on accredited registers carrying out criminal record checks

Professional Standard Authority consultation

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) is an independent body that helps protect the public by working with organisations that register and regulate people working in health and social care, which includes both regulators and accredited registers. Regulators are bodies which are given a statutory responsibility by parliament to regulate certain professions such as doctors, nurses or pharmacists. Accredited registers oversee practitioners that work in health or social care settings that are not regulated, to provide the public with confidence in selecting services.

The PSA carried out a consultation on whether accredited registers should be carrying out criminal record checks before allowing a practitioner to join the register, and, if so, what levels of check should be done.

Following the publication of the consultation, Unlock launched a call for evidence asking for the views of anyone with a criminal record who either works, or would like to work, in a therapeutic setting overseen by an accredited register. These views were fed into our response to the consultation, which made the following points:

  • An accredited register should not just be encouraged to carry out the most stringent checks available
  • It is important to remember that criminal record checks are only a small part of safeguarding
  • Legally, different levels of criminal record check can only be done if a role meets certain criteria, so it may not be possible for an accredited register to take a blanket approach to carrying out one level of check
  • If criminal record checks are being done, it is important that there is a clear policy in place setting out why they are being done as well as how
  • If an accredited register is doing a criminal record check, they should take the following factors into account:
    • The offence itself
    • How long ago it was
    • The seriousness of the incident and any sentence received
    • The individual’s circumstances at the time of the offence, including their age or maturity
    • Relevance of offence to the specific role

Read our full response

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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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