The government is to delay the introduction of new safeguarding regulations for 11 million staff working with vulnerable adults and children.

More than 6 million people, such as teachers and social workers, are already subject to Criminal Record Bureau checks and other forms of registration, but over the next five years a new vetting process will almost double that number adding in extra health and social care staff.

Although the scheme is due to start in earnest this October, Home Office minister Meg Hiller said the introduction of crucial components would be staggered.

HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle, reported that new entrants to work with vulnerable children and adults will not have to register with the programme until July 2010, when the rolling mechanism that updates employers on the vetting status of their staff will also be introduced.

Existing staff will not need to register until October next year.

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Ms Hillier said that the ISA would improve on what was already one of the world’s most comprehensive vetting systems.

“Once employers start being updated with new information about their employees from July 2010 it will offer even greater protection,” she said.

However the programme’s registration cost has caused controversy among unions representing low paid staff, who will be expected to fund the charge themselves.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the decision to delay the implementation of parts of the new system was a “sensible step” for a system that would have to manage the registration of 11 million people.

“The ISA will duplicate other public protection systems, and people will have to pay £64 to register,” he said.

“Unison believes the Government should step in and cover this cost.

“The majority of staff who will have to register are part time, low paid women.

“They may struggle to find the extra cash, and may even be put off applying to work with children.”