Children's authors face safety vetting

<p>Children&#39;s authors who visit schools and libraries more than once a month will need to register with a new body responsible for safeguarding children as of October 2009, according to new regulations. <br />A new organisation, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), will take on responsibility for vetting and barring unsuitable people from working with children from autumn 2009. These checks are currently handled by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), which in future will work alongside the ISA to check the records of all those working with children.</p><p>The Society of Authors says its members are increasingly asked to provide Criminal Records Bureau certificates when they visit schools as a result of demands from Ofsted for better record-keeping by schools. Ofsted itself states that authors visiting schools &quot;do not need to have a CRB check but they should not be left alone with the children&quot;.</p><p>In future, authors will need to be registered with the ISA even if they are supervised &quot;because there is a chance for authors to build up a trusting relationship with the child&quot;, said a spokesperson for the organisation. Many authors also now communicate with their readers online, following events in schools and libraries or via their own websites.</p><p>The regulations will also apply to any organised activities such as volunteer reading help or book fairs in schools. Any adult who works with children &quot;frequently&quot;&mdash;once a month or more&mdash;needs to be registered with the ISA, even if the activity is with different children. </p><p>Authors and others working with children will have to pay a one-off fee of &pound;64 to have their details checked. Volunteers will not, however, need to pay the registration fee.</p><p>Once the regulations are in force, it will be a criminal offence for an employer to take on an individual in &quot;regulated activity&quot; (once a month or more) if they fail to check that person&#39;s status. It will also be an offence for employers to allow an unregistered individual to work with children for any length of time in a regulated activity.&nbsp;</p>