Page last updated at 05:24 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 06:24 UK

New system to vet child workers

By Vincent Kearney
NI home affairs correspondent

Dummy CV
Employers may be given police intelligence

A new system to vet those seeking to work with children and vulnerable adults is being introduced from Tuesday.

The government has invested 2m in the system, which can be used by schools, hospitals and community organisations.

Staff and job applicants are checked to see if they have criminal records that make them unsuitable for employment.

Background checks have until now been carried out by the department of health and social services and police.

But they will now be done by AccessNI, an agency within the Northern Ireland Office.

It will have access to criminal records from police forces throughout the United Kingdom - and to disqualification lists, which name individuals disqualified from applying for certain jobs, even if they do not have a criminal record.

Police intelligence

Anyone applying to work with young children or vulnerable adults will be subjected to an enhanced background check, which means their potential employer will be given full details of any criminal record and other relevant information, including police intelligence.

The Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins says the new system will offer more comprehensive checks than previously available, and prevent unsuitable people from getting into positions of trust and potentially causing harm.

The new agency expects to carry out more than 130,000 checks in the first year.

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