Unregistered adults could be fined up to £5,000 under scheme to prevent paedophiles getting access to children
Parents who regularly ferry groups of children on behalf of sports or social clubs such as the Scouts will have to undergo criminal record checks — or face fines of up to £5,000, it was disclosed today.
They will fall under the scope of the government's new vetting and barring scheme, which is aimed at stopping paedophiles getting access to children.
Failure to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority, the Home Office agency that administers the scheme, could lead to criminal prosecution and a court fine.
The clubs themselves also face a £5,000 fine if they use volunteers who have not been cleared. Parents who host foreign pupils as part of school exchange trips will also have to be vetted.
A total of 11.3 million people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to register with the ISA.
All 300,000 school governors, as well as every doctor, nurse, teacher, dentist and prison officer will have to register because they come into contact with children or "vulnerable" adults at work.
The scheme was recommended by the Bichard report into the Soham murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by Ian Huntley, who was a school caretaker.
Huntley was given the job at a secondary school despite allegations of sex with underage girls in his past, which were not passed on.
The scheme will be the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world and involve unprecedented delving into the subject's personal and employment history.
Unlike previous lists of barred individuals, everyone registered with the agency will face continuing monitoring, with existing registrations reconsidered if new evidence is disclosed.
Its creators hope the scheme will reduce the risk of abusers gaining access to children.
A Home Office spokesman said "informal" arrangements between parents to offer lifts would not be covered.
Critics fear voluntary helpers will be alienated by the new rules. The author Philip Pullman said the database was "corrosive to healthy social interaction" and has pledged to stop visiting schools to carry out readings in protest.
Criminal penalties, including jail terms, for employers giving sensitive jobs to those who are already barred, come into force next month.
From November next year workers taking new jobs which qualify for the scheme must be registered. Any activity which involves contact with children or vulnerable adults three times in a one-month period, every month, or once overnight, qualifies, as do jobs in specified places such as schools, prisons and children's homes.
Registration will cost £64 in England and Wales, but unpaid volunteers will be exempt from the charge.
Officials predict nine out of 10 people who apply to register will have no additional information held on them by the ISA and so will not require more detailed checks.
"The vetting and barring scheme does not cover personal or family relationships, so parents making informal arrangements to give lifts to children will not have to be vetted," a Home Office spokesman said.
"However, anyone working or volunteering on behalf of a third party organisation — for example, a sports club or a charity — who has frequent or intensive access to children or vulnerable adults will have to be registered with the scheme. For volunteers, registration is free.
"We believe this is a commonsense approach, and what parents would rightly expect.
"The UK already has one of the most advanced systems in the world for carrying out checks on all those who work in positions of trust with children and vulnerable adults."
The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said the system was a "disproportionate response" that risked deterring volunteers from coming forward.
"The worst unintended consequence would be if it stopped people and charities from volunteering with children because of the fear of draconian fines," he said.
The shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "We are going to drive away volunteers, we'll see clubs and activities close down and we'll end up with more bored young people on our streets. The government has really got to see sense."
The information commissioner's office said there were "inevitable" security risks of collecting large amounts of personal data.
Martin Narey, the Barnardo's chief executive and former director general of the Prison Service, said: "If the vetting and barring scheme stops just one child ending up a victim of a paedophile then it will be worth it."