Blacklisted Sex Offenders Double In A Year

The number of sex offenders banned from working with youngsters has soared from 4,921 to 8,036 in the last year, the Schools Secretary Ed Balls revealed today.

The rise in the number of people on the so-called “List 99” was mainly due to the regulations being tightened last year, he said, announcing that four people who had been given only a partial bar, allowing them to carry out some work with children, had now been given a total ban.

The figures released today show that 8,036 people were on the list on March 13 this year, up from 4,921 on February 27 last year. Mr Balls said the “vast majority” of the increase was due to amendments made to the List 99 regulations which came into force on February 28 last year.

The changes blacklisted all people over 18 who were convicted of, or cautioned for relevant paedophile offences, regardless of whether they had ever worked with children.

The rules were tightened in the wake of a row in January 2006, when it was revealed that a man on the sex offenders register was allowed to work as a PE teacher at a school in Norfolk.

In a written statement to the Commons, Mr Balls said: “The safety of children and young people is our top priority. We are committed to ensuring we have the toughest ever vetting and barring system for all those working with, or seeking to work with, children and vulnerable adults.”

A “painstaking” review of sex offences committed before 1997, when the sex offenders register was introduced, and between 1997 and 2005, has led to 46 further individuals being barred, Mr Balls said.

The review panel, led by Sir Roger Singleton, examined 2,559 case files.

Mr Balls said that the Government would begin to transfer the administration of List 99 cases to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) at the end of this month. The ISA, chaired by Sir Roger, would be responsible for making decisions under new vetting and barring arrangements.

The new vetting and barring scheme will replace the current List 99 as well as the Protection of Children Act list, the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list and Disqualification Orders handed down by the courts. New lists would bar individuals from working with children and vulnerable adults, Mr Balls added.

He said that statutory instruments would come into force on April 7 which would govern the arrangements under which the ISA must include or consider including those barred under the current schemes. The Home Office would make a statement to MPs “in due course” on the ISA’s work and its progress in implementing the new scheme.