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Is vetting and barring scheme needed?

09:17 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The vetting scheme for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is to be halted. What is your reaction?

Home Secretary Theresa May is to announce that registration, due to begin next month, is to be put on hold. There will be a review of the entire vetting and barring scheme, with a "scaling back" likely to follow.

Children's authors said the plans were an over-reaction to the murders of two schoolgirls by school caretaker Ian Huntley in Soham in 2002 and head teachers' leaders had complained the scheme would deter valuable volunteers from helping schools.

Are you affected by vetting and barring rules? Do you welcome a review? Should the scheme go ahead?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Another blow against the useless, namby-pamby PC-brigade.
    Well done to the Coalition government, bringing some sanity back to the everyday lives of the vast majority of law-abiding and decent citizens. A few more helpful and sensible policies like this and the Coalition's credibility will be soaring.
    Labour crucified us, the Coalition is freeing us.

  • Comment number 2.

    Seems like common sense to me, the last Government loved large databases as if they would do some good, seems that the Con-Dems have other ideas.

  • Comment number 3.

    I would have been affected by the rules, and I'm really glad there's a review. In my view the scheme was just regulation for regulation's sake. Things like this (and CRB checks, of which I have four) have very limited value in the real world.

    All they do is give a feeling of mistrust and suspicion, without actually preventing anything - as has been seen by recent cases in nurseries etc. These checks only help if paedophiles have previously been convicted or cautioned about something, not if they haven't been caught yet, or if they haven't started doing anything yet.

    Also, most people children come into contact with don't need CRB checks anyway (parents, family members, friends, shop assistants, people on the bus etc). Also, the vast majority of people are no danger to children at all, so tarring them all with the same brush seems perverse.

    In my view, if someone has been convicted of a crime and is considered to be a danger to children, then they should be in prison. If they aren't (as most criminals aren't) then what's the problem?

    Neither the CRB checks NOR the Vetting & Barring Rules would have prevented the Soham murders.

  • Comment number 4.

    Is vetting and barring scheme needed?`

    There needs to be some vetting, its just a matter of the degree it goes into and whether you need to screen everyone who has fleeting contact with the children or vulnerbale adults, such as bus drivers or dinner ladies, or only those who will be spending regular one on one time with them.

  • Comment number 5.

    I always thought Theresa May was stupid,this proves it.

  • Comment number 6.

    Some sense and proportionality at last from a new government! Lets hope it lasts and we see the end of Labours Big Brother state. Of course children should be protected, but not at the expense of everybody being Guilty until proved inoccent.

  • Comment number 7.

    "By this cost cutting measure, how many more children, will be abused or murder by perverts?

  • Comment number 8.

    There should be strict control in place that will barr paedophiles having access to children. However, as most of the abusers are parents, relatives or friends, few of those come ever to court and the vetting and barring scheme is useless. There must be greater communication between the sections in the community so that police, social workers, etc. can access the same information. I do believe that parents should have access to information when they want to employ nannies, send their children to childminders where there is no supervision and children are left alone with an adult. We all know how Tories like to make cuts in public spending but this should not go at the cost of our children's safety and some control must stay in place while at the same time let volunteers do their worthwhile jobs, let parents in the classroom or help out during activities, let scoutleaders and the many others who provide activities for our children get on with it. May be it will help parents allow their children play outside again, ride their bikes, etc without fearing that every person out there must be a paedophile and out to harm their children.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a volunteer, I know it's to be expected that I am competent enough to cause no out of the ordinary risk to those I help. That's about skills.

    The issue of being a fit person in terms of criminal tendencies is more difficult. Sure a CRB check may reveal past offences, if you've been caught. It can also be cover for a serial, but undetected offender.

    My suspicion is that the only sensible protection is personal recommendation. If that means people new to an area, geographical or of expertise, have to wait 2- 3 years, it's no worse than a golfclub membership.

    It is worth remembering that for many volunteers, yes they want to help, but there is a strong social involvement as well. It's not just duty.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nice to see a bit of good old fashioned Common Sense for a change.

    Next I'd like the same Common Sense applied to people with cameras, otherwise historians are going to look back at photographs of UK life and ask "Was there some sort of disaster in the early 21st Century? Why did all the children suddenly disappear from photographs?"

  • Comment number 11.

    Having seen empty playgrounds, either because of the rules or because of authorities failing to understand the guidelines, and the fact that nothing can ever be safe, I think the vetting went too far.

    The more people who have to be vetted, the more potential there is for error in doing the checks. And do the checks have to be carried out again - ever? If not, surely they are pointless?

    Following a bereavement a few years ago I left my job and after several months I briefly did voluntary work for two organisations. Had there been a vetting and checking procedure in place, I would not have done any work, I would have been back in full-time employment by the time the results came through. Surely this will apply to many volunteers who are in between jobs. The work was not with children, but with vulnerable adults, something which the agency told me many volunteers do not wish to be involved in.

  • Comment number 12.

    Whilst I believe it is right to try to ensure that children are protected from the risk of exposure to people who intend them harm, I think that like with so many other things under New Labour the vetting policy was both draconian and excessive.
    New Labour policies in this area reflected a total disregard for personal freedoms which literally hundreds of thousands of British people have died fighting for in our past history. Common sense was thrown out the window by New Labour and replaced by measures that fit right at home in a totalitarian police state.
    There are plenty of parents who abuse their children and sadly manage to get away with it. The assumption that a parent is 'safe' with their own children and other people are somehow 'not' safe is clearly a fallacy.
    Common sense would suggest that some steps to keep known offenders away from contact with children is desirable: without exception. For the remainder, the maxim of innocent until proven guilty should remain.
    The objectives of New Labour might have been worthy, but the means were based upon consolidating fear in our society which is never going to be healthy.
    Thank goodness the coalition government has the common sense to see this and is calling for a review.

  • Comment number 13.

    There is just that bit too much interferance which gets in the way of common sense and promotes paranoia. Cutting the ID card scheme was the first good move. Moving through the many spying and prying laws brought in (mostly by labour!)

  • Comment number 14.

    Firstly, there is no such thing as overreacting when you are protecting and safeguarding children; this is definitely not one of those areas that should be pruned to pave the way for George Osborne's savings plans.
    My strongest advice is - cut waste out almost anywhere else, but please don't put children at risk!
    Yes, the scheme is costly, but it makes sense, not only from an ethical point of view, but also a practical one; as someone who works with children, and has also adopted two children of my own, I would say that it makes eminent sense to have one register that brings together all your details. I have had countless CRB checks over the years; I certainly don't object to that, but each time you move into a new situation, you then have to have another CRB, and this is both costly financially and in terms of time. The vetting and barring system was desgined to make this easier, by having one centralised system.
    The sad reality of such cutbacks, no doubt poropagatred more for financial than practical reasons, is that those with improper designs on children will continue to slip through the net and there will be further cases of abuse in the future.

  • Comment number 15.

    An insult to the majority, this scheme should never have been created in the first place. The more of these intrusive, Big Brother ideas that are binned the better.

  • Comment number 16.

    Strange how rapidly an "absolute necessity" becomes "petty bureaucracy" when there is money to be saved.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well done, i hope scotland will follow suit.Even with this vetting in place it does not guarantee the suitability or honesty of the person checked.I have found that out unfortunately.It is more a way of raising revenue than checking the suitability of prospective employees.
    Lets have a bit of sanity back and kick the PC brigade into touch.

  • Comment number 18.

    No, it is not needed. Well done, Theresa May - a breath of sanity in our PC-ridden nation!

  • Comment number 19.

    The basic aim of child protection legislation is sound, but its over-zealous application has made an ass of it.
    I retired recently, from an occupation that brought me into professional contact with children about once a month. Parents or work colleagues were present for the whole period of my contact with an individual child, but nevertheless I was required to undergo the full police background check.
    I have six grandchildren, with whom I spend many happy hours monthly, with absolutely no supervision at all, nor any legal requirement to undergo a criminal record procedure.
    Statistically, in which setting do the vast majority of sexual offences against children occur? Of course, it's much more likely to be a family member, or supposed close friend, and therein lies the weakness of the Law.

  • Comment number 20.

    The coalition seems to be running around like a bull in a china shop cancelling things. I was originally very pleased with the election result. However they seem to be out of control.
    The current legislation IS wrong (a rather obvious and widely acknowledged fact), but tens of thousands of organisations have adapted their processes to accommodate the new system (at some expense). The Coalition now says put it on hold whilst they dream up another scheme which will involve more cost in setting another set of processes.
    This act is that of an inexperienced idealistic Government who don't live in the real world. For those of us that have to run and manage organisations that need to follow this legislation it is very worrying.
    Stopping everthing costs money, we need a Government that understands that its duty is not only to implement policy but to run the country in a way that enables it to continue operating in a way that does not add costs.
    I see another blunder by the Coalition as the unnecessary negative briefings on the economy, I think everyone except the Government had already realised the economic situation was worse than Government of the time had indicated (hasn't this always been the case in every recession ?). All this negative briefing has done is take business confidence to a 20 year low, something that could have been avoided despite the cuts.
    My view is that the inexperience of this Government is showing through and they need to understand that it is not all about politics and that pragmatism is badly needed to keep things running.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well, we certainly need some system which prevents people with a history of child abuse simply moving around the country to places where they aren't known and continuing the abuse! The question is whether the V&B scheme is a proportionate measure to achieve this.

    The problem with the original scheme was the sheer number of people who would have had to register, ranging from teachers and other childcare professionals right down to parents giving other peoples' children a lift to school or a youth club along with their own kids.

    Some of these excesses had already been scaled back, which was a start, but we do need to strike a balance between protecting children and getting in the way of normal life and making innocent ativities so diifcult that people simply give them up.

    Perhaps we should try to find a way of distinguishing between those with regular prolonged contact with children, who should be vetted, and those with occasional or brief contact, who should not.

    We should also bear in mind that most child abuse continues to be committed by people who are related to the child or have no history of abuse (or even suspected abuse), whom no vetting scheme can ever detect.

  • Comment number 22.

    On the very same day that this relaxation is announced my daughter, who is a teaching assistant, has bee informed that all staff at her school will be obliged to wear a photograph security tag with effect from next term. Those teachers who have been with the school for years are none too pleased to think that they are no longer trusted.

  • Comment number 23.

    Commen sense at last this is another blow to the PC brigade I hope its not the last.

  • Comment number 24.

    The corrosive affect of all the vetting legislation has been to mark all adults as potential child abusers, especially males.
    It has called into question people's motives for being involved in any child related activity It has made people reluctant to come to a child's aid because of the fear of being accused of being an abuser.
    How many people on HYS would go to assist a child who was obviously lost and distressed? How many male HYS posters would?
    People are obsessed with 'fear of the stranger', yet agencies who deal with child abuse and abduction know that it is not the stranger who poses the greatest risk but the child's immediate family, relatives and neighbours. An uncomfortable truth that politicians and the media don't want to address.
    The essential fault with all these vetting schemes is that it will only show up known offenders, assuming they haven't changed their name, the unknow offender will pass all checks.

  • Comment number 25.

    Wow, take Harriet Harmman and Brown out of power and some common sense is beginning to appear.

  • Comment number 26.

    As a Guide Leader, I was looking forward to the new vetting and barring scheme. I don't know how many times I've had to do a Disclosure Scotland check, but it was just getting silly. I really liked the idea of just being vetted once, and that's that. I did think they were taking it too far though, you only need checked if you're going to be alone with children, visitors to schools don't need it as there's a Teacher present who has been checked.

  • Comment number 27.

    I believe this is one of the reasons why Labour is now in opposition, and I'm a Labour supporter.

    When the two girls were tragically killed in Soham their was a media frenzy followed by a government 'something must be done' policy made on the run.

    The result was a vetting scheme, done on the cheap, that required every teacher and school worker to be vetted. The company that got the contract budgeted for 80% of the vetting being done by phone, with 20% filling in forms. Guess what? no teacher trusted the phone vetting and wanted paper proof of their vetting in case of errors. We then had the spectacle of the 100% paper vetting forms being air-frieghted to India to be processed, by hand, on the cheap.

    This scheme would have resulted in similar chaos, with people going through hoops to get vetted, some innocent people branded as 'unfit to work with children' and sad to say whiley peodophiles slipping through the net.

    When are Labour going to learn? Will it take more reversals of policies, drafted in good faith, being rejected because of the simple and obvious fact that they are unworkable?

    It was getting to the stage where some professions, such as teaching young kids were becoming women only because men thought 'why bother?'.

    Don't forget no vetting will identify anyone who has not been an offender and convicted in a court of law. If Ian Huntley had been banned from his job as a school caretaker, would he have appealed (and proberbly won) as the accusations against him where unsubstantiated?

    What is needed is sound common sense, with teachers and headmasters trained in identifying the behaviour and mannerisms of those who should be kept from our children. Not a blanket databsed monster, that takes a huge sledge hammer, to crack a very small nut.

  • Comment number 28.

    "My suspicion is that the only sensible protection is personal recommendation. If that means people new to an area, geographical or of expertise, have to wait 2- 3 years, it's no worse than a golfclub membership."

    Don't be silly. So you're saying that if I move house, I should have to wait 2-3 years to get involved in voluntary work? That would kill voluntary groups completely. Far worse than the V&BS would have ever been.

  • Comment number 29.

    14. At 10:18am on 15 Jun 2010, Gerard wrote:

    Firstly, there is no such thing as overreacting when you are protecting and safeguarding children;"

    There most certainly is. Over-protecting children leads to a breakdown where children & adults aren't allowed to relate to each other, and thus lose trust in each other.

    Most adults will not abuse children. Punishing the children and adults by making it hard for these adults to interact with children is tantamount to child abuse in itself. Children need wholesome interaction with a wide variety of adults to be able to grow up well adjusted. Many, many child psychologists have criticised the current over-regulation as being harmful to children.

    "Yes, the scheme is costly, but it makes sense, not only from an ethical point of view, but also a practical one; as someone who works with children, and has also adopted two children of my own, I would say that it makes eminent sense to have one register that brings together all your details. I have had countless CRB checks over the years; I certainly don't object to that, but each time you move into a new situation, you then have to have another CRB, and this is both costly financially and in terms of time. The vetting and barring system was desgined to make this easier, by having one centralised system."

    Obviously, you didn't understand the vetting & barring system... It wasn't intended to replace CRB checks at all, just be MORE paperwork to fill in. You had to get CRB checks AND register with the vetting & barring system.

    "The sad reality of such cutbacks, no doubt poropagatred more for financial than practical reasons, is that those with improper designs on children will continue to slip through the net and there will be further cases of abuse in the future. "

    Most of those with 'improper designs on children' aren't covered by CRB checks or the proposed vetting & barring system.

    Neither of these systems would have gone any way to preventing the Soham murders, and many cases of child abuse have not been prevented since CRB checks came into play.

  • Comment number 30.

    I was up for being a volunteer at a local School, but when this announcement came out ( what a few years ago now ) I was put off, as I know I have not done anything wrong, but I have been drunk in public when I was a teenager and have been in trouble with the police a few times after that, but non of this will put children in danger with me.

    I bet if you asked any teacher if they had been in trouble with the law in ther past, they would have to say YES, rather that be drunk in public, having a fight or speeding.

    All this will be investigated when applying for a position.
    Which of these are to stop one from getting to help children develop ?
    I don't know and nor does anyone else.

    That's why I did not apply.

    I think Mrs May has done the right thing.
    Why make everyone feel guilty, when they are not.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm very glad that there is going to be a review of the vetting and barring scheme. The vetting of adults was about to get completely out of hand so that it interfered with normal social life and social interactions, and children and adults were going to suffer as a result of this interference. The proposed vetting system was encouraging everyone to be suspicious of all adults, in a completely over the top and restrictive way. It's unhealthy and unnecessary for children to grow up being suspicious of all adults except their parents and fully vetted adults such as their teachers. Most adults are not paedophiles, and those that are can potentially pass the vetting process anyway if they haven't been convicted of a crime. Also, children are sometimes more at risk from people within their own families than from strangers or aquaintances. It is harmful for children to be overprotected to the extent that they never go on playdates unless accompanied by a parent or are never picked up after school by another child's parents or never attend childrens birthday parties without a parent in attendance. Of course, parents have to make their own judgement about other childrens' parents, but it was almost getting to the point that children couldn't go on a playdate or sleepover without the other parent being vetted in some official way. I don't want my children to grow up being suspicious of all adults, as that will limit their opportunities and social interactions and could inhibit them psychologically. However, they won't be naive either. They know that there are unpleasant and dangerous people in the world, but they don't expect most adults to be like that.

  • Comment number 32.

    Just on a point of detail, once again the journalists go for the simplistic and inaccurate 'headline' without any depth of understanding. In the matter of charges for the Vetting - as for CRB checking - there would be no charge for unpaid volunteers. Charges are only applied in instances where the individual is an employed professional. In many such instances, though not all, the employer pays the charge.

    We shall now await the outcry of "something ought to be done", next time a child is abused and the news reaches the public attention. Or will it be - "so what - that's life - at least we don't have a 'nanny state'".

  • Comment number 33.

    "By this cost cutting measure, how many more children, will be abused or murder by perverts?"

    About the same number per year as there has been for the last 40 years, and this over intrusive scheme would not have stopped it.

    I'd have been more concerned about up to 11 million innocent people being branded as paedophiles before the fact.

    The actual number of children going missing, being murdered etc, per year has remained pretty constant, but the hype surrounding the subject has been driven beyond reasonable bounds by the media coverage of one or two of the more recent case.

    This scheme was just another ID card scheme by the back door and needed to be culled as soon as possible.

    It's good to see NuLabour's Police State being rolled back at long last.

    It is about time that we can rest assured that we can now begin to turn our backs on our front doors in the morning and go about our business safe in the knowledge that we are no longer unwittingly breaking some stupid obscure piece of Nulabour legislation law which we don't know about.

    Let's have more.

  • Comment number 34.

    "At 10:11am on 15 Jun 2010, Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    "By this cost cutting measure, how many more children, will be abused or murder by perverts?"

    Not many - most abuse comes from within the family. Information packs sent to families that help in detecting whether abuse is happening would be cheaper and help more children.

    However if this snooping database had been enacted, the damage done to children would have been massive. The think of the children brigade never think of the harm their dream situation where all children exist in a padded cell away from all possible causes of hurt actually causes to children.

  • Comment number 35.

    A very sensible decision. The vetting and barring scheme costs millions of pounds to administer, and wastes vast amounts of time which could be used more productively. It is also debatable as to whether it has been sucessful as crimes against Children have not really reduced since it's introduction.
    My wife who works in the NHS, has been vetted everytime she has changed jobs, about 5 times in total, this is despite the fact that she is still working in the same town and for the same employer. Each time the checks have taken approximately three months and found nothing. Whilst the check is being done she has not been able to take up her new post and the department that she has been moving to has had to remain short staffed. Each check also requires the police to waste their time trying to find convictions etc on their databases which don't actually exist.
    The scheme also discourages people from volunteering to help run out of school activities. I would have been more than willing to help when my children were of school age, but wasn't prepared to go through the vetting procedure, even though I had nothing to hid.

  • Comment number 36.

    As conceived - NO!

    It would not have protected children from: first-time offenders, and abusive parents. It was also an obvious nonsense when considering visitors to school (authors, for instance), volunteers for events like sports days, and people looking after each others' kids. Sure, there will be an occasional tragedy and children will still be hurt/abused.

    It also didn't address another serious problem of bullying at school and the school turning a blind eye.

    This is public sector money saved and another dubious database scrapped.

  • Comment number 37.

    About the comment below - unfortunately, this scheme was never going to replace the CRB checks, only for the child and vulnerable adult protection side of things. Everyone would have still have had to undergo CRB checks for purposes of checking convictions etc for things like fraud, theft, drink driving or whatever.

    Some aspects of the V&B were well thought out and a good idea, it's just a shame that it threatened to be so useless overall.

    14. At 10:18am on 15 Jun 2010, Gerard wrote:

    "I have had countless CRB checks over the years; I certainly don't object to that, but each time you move into a new situation, you then have to have another CRB, and this is both costly financially and in terms of time. The vetting and barring system was desgined to make this easier, by having one centralised system."

  • Comment number 38.

    What would be of benefit to both the volunteers and professionals who work in contact with children and the vulnerable, would be one transferrable CRB check, rather than a separate check and 3 year period of validity for each situation. Like many sports coaches, I am CRB checked for two different sports clubs as a volunteer and for a commercial organisation where I am employed as a freelance coach. Simplifying this process to a single check would additionally save costs to the Government (taxpayer)and reduce admin. The costs to me are zero - they do not arise as a volunteer club coach and I am lucky enough to have my employer pay the fee in the context of profesional coaching.

  • Comment number 39.

    A lot of the new laws and powers by labour have solved nothing and has caused a lot of confusion (not just labour but mostly). It has also made people paranoid. Not of being caught but of being accused.

    A lot of rubbish was brought in under the guise of doing something about the problem and the vetting scheme is one of them. We all know children are in less danger from strangers than they are family members and priests

  • Comment number 40.

    This doesn't address the problems in the current system however. The main issue being that it can take up to 2-3 months to get a completed CRB through, that is only valid for one position of employment.

    This means having to go through the whole process again if you pick up a volunteer job alongside your main job.

    This discourages volunteering, can put people at risk as the need for a CRB check is ignored, not to mention the jobseekers allowance and support that is being wasted on people able and willing to work were it not for waiting around for their forms.

    At least vetting and barring would have gotten around this repeated cycle of hoop jumping, for all its faults and over zealous implementation. What is needed is a speedy, effective system that works to protect people at risk, but also to facilitate people who want to work.

  • Comment number 41.

    This is long overdue. Consider the following:-

    There are basically 3 groups of people in the world

    1. Non-paedophiles
    2. Paedophiles who have not been caught
    3. Paedophiles who have been caught

    Of these groups only the last will be picked up in any kind of check. Meanwhile a large amount of resources will be used in uselessly checking the people in group 1 which I am sure are the vast majority of people.

    The dangerous Group is Group 2 and our blind reliance on checks mean that once a person in this group is vetted they will have unrestricted access to children. No only that but we will alienate a lot of people from Group 1 who will not volunteer to work with children, therefore increasing the likelyhood of someone from Group 2 gaining access.

    Surely a better approach is to exercise some common sense and realise that the more people from Group 1 working with our children the less likely those from Group 2, who will pass any check, will be able to gain access.

    In addition we can spend the resources saved keeping better track of those in Group 3 who we know to be dangerous.

    Of course this then means that the government will no longer need a massive database to provide checks. Surely that wasn't what Labour were really after...... was it ?

  • Comment number 42.

    How have we wasted so much on this knee jerk reaction by labour. The press may ahve wanted it at the time but most moderate people didnt.

    The Labour party should be sent the bill.

    Why do we have to pay for Blairs and Gordons mistakes.

    I want a refund!

  • Comment number 43.

    I only hope and pray that when these vetting systems are "scaled down" that no child comes to harm through this.If this is cutting back then what next.Shame on you Theresa May

  • Comment number 44.

    All such a scheme would do is place yet another layer of bureaucracy over child protection, thereby creating even more job duplication and jobsworths.

    Cases of child abuse are, mercifully, very uncommon and most of them involve a member of the victims family rather than total strangers. This is one more example of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and failure to use common sense and obvservation of human behaviour; when I see photographs of convicted abusers, I am always struck by how odd they look.

  • Comment number 45.

    Excellent news for everybody who wants a degree of control over their own lives, could we now take the next step & review the smoking in public places legislation. Maybe get a few of our pubs reopened on a more permanent basis.

  • Comment number 46.

    More common sense from the government. Long may it continue. Brown and co. left a host of downright stupid policies all of which require the same treatment.

    Power to Ms.May for tackling this as promptly as she has. The coalition seems to be hanging on in there and working well.

    It is the duty of us all to look after the welfare of the vulnerable but NuLabour took things far too far.

  • Comment number 47.

    All the righteous anti PC brigade that infest this HYS forum will be singing a very different tune when their beloved daily mail is casigating them and their elected representatives for the next child abuse case that could and should have been prevented by measures such as this one.

    I predict much hand-wringing and wailing within 18 months.

  • Comment number 48.

    There is bound to be a future incident that will get the press/media and victims familys demanding over-reactive regulations.

    Previous Labour government so often acted in a similar fashion to reactions against Catholics/Protestants at various times in UK history, which was basically persecution of large numbers of innocent people. But we must remember that so often it is an outraged public that also demands action.

    There is a serious need to protect children from abuse because it just messes up so many lives at MASSIVE cost to society, the statistics of child abuse/sexual abuse in UK are horrendous and an embarrassment to our so-called civilised society.

    But how do we do it, how do we stop the ignorance and vileness in society without depriving people of rights and freedoms and creating a social backlash if such things were ever imposed.

    Lets ALSO remember that the GREAT MAJORITY of these abuse/sexual abuse offenses are carried out by people close and known to child victims, people within the family, or extended family- relations.

    The published statistics for child abuse/sexual abuse actually equates/suggests that we would need to at least quadruple our prison population, just to contain all those who have abused children as per victim numbers in statistics, let alone contain those who commit other crimes.

    It is impossible to legislate against such an endemic social problem.

    What doesnt help, is the growth of religious indoctrine in UK and west which actually permits marriage and its consumation, with girls as young as 9 and which is written/recorded in scriptures was the reality of its most prominant figure.

    While we in west attempt to contain and restrict/stop certain behaviour, we now also have to contend with freedoms of religion which promote traditions which are counter to our societys evolution of acceptable behaviour.

    It must be remembered that these child abuse/sexual abuse problems, transcends ALL races, ALL colours, ALL religions and ALL social classes, but most importantly, most are within familys.

    7. At 10:11am on 15 Jun 2010, Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    "By this cost cutting measure, how many more children, will be abused or murder by perverts?

    In hundreds of years of introducing laws/regulations/education etc etc etc, there is NO evidence that many of these actually have much effect to reduce attrocious human behaviour.

    ALL crime has grown massively up until recently. As MOST children are abused by family members and this scheme is/was a supposidly preventative measure for those non-family people who come into contact with children, the LARGEST KNOWN group to abuse children would STILL just go unpunished and undetected.

  • Comment number 49.

    14. Gerard wrote:

    Firstly, there is no such thing as overreacting when you are protecting and safeguarding children;"
    Nine million people?

    The total working population in this country is 30 million.

    If you include all the voluntary people in the 9 million it still means that about 20%; 1 in 5 working people being vetted, overreacting?

    And how many people, who should not be allowed near children, do you think will be found? 1 in a hundred, 1 in a thousand?

    That means you would have between 9,000 - 90,000 people who have access to children being barred.

    Just think of the after-effects of this.

    No one will go near a child, no one will allow a child into their presence, just in case they have to be 'vetted'

    It would create a sort of 'toxic child syndrome'.

    If you do not end up protecting children, but instead have them excluded from society, surely that is an over-reaction too far?

  • Comment number 50.

    As a parent, teacher and school governor (with responsibility for 'safeguarding') I believe that the entire process needs to be rethought.

    Sadly, there are evil and ill people in this world who do seek to harm and abuse for their own pleasure and we need to ensure as far as we can that such folks do not get near young or otherwise vulnerable people.

    The core concept of a single approval system for anyone wishing to work or volunteer with young or vulnerable individuals was sound, had it been better designed and proposed as a replacement to the cumbersome enhanced CRB check. But its design was flawed, it was expensive and ALL other checks were to be retained. The sad thing is, that until an individual is convicted of an offence against young or vulnerable people it is hard to do much about it. After all, rumour and innuendo is abuse in itself and certainly cannot be used to assess suitability without a robust systen of challenge in place.

    Having done a 'safer recruitment' course, I find that in cases where allegations have been made deals are far too often struck in that instead of the allegation being tested for validity the individual is allowed to resign. So whoever has to assess that individual's suitability without any hard facts to base their judgement on: unfair to all concerned.

  • Comment number 51.

    Excellent news - why did anyone think we needed yet another scheme? We've already got the annoyingly error strewn "CRB" check system and this new one would have put many more people out of all sorts of activities.

    We've lost people from refereeing adult football because of CRB. We've had people who have lost jobs because of CRB going wrong and giving wrong answers. Labour's answer? To put up another scheme which everyone would also have to go through, with more fences to be clambered over, more difficulties to be faced, more errors to be made, and far more expense for groups, charities, schools and hospitals. Thank goodness it ain't going to happen...

  • Comment number 52.

    "As a Guide Leader, I was looking forward to the new vetting and barring scheme. I don't know how many times I've had to do a Disclosure Scotland check, but it was just getting silly."

    You misunderstand - it would not have replaced this, as it is more basic. You would still have had repeated DS/CRB checks.

    (Actually, here's a question. As the CRB and DS do the same thing, why the need for a separate one for Scotland? Strikes me as a waste of money.)

  • Comment number 53.

    It never was. In fact this and the CRB and the stupid rules for schools about only accepting CV's can all be thrown away.
    Surely this will allow paedophiles free reign so why?
    First paedophiles are not stopped by the current systems, so they clearly don't work, if they don't work there is little point in having them, in fact they may even be dangerous and counter productive (by putting off non-paedophiles from the jobs/volunteering the route is more open to paedophiles that know how to circumvent the system)
    Second we have a far better way of working. As a country we have the worlds largest (too large in many cases) dna database. A simple sample from applicants compared to the database records for all convicted paedophiles will reveal those who shouldn't work. This is far more efficient, quicker and less error prone than requiring the potential paedophile to be honest on a form, the police to be rigorous in their check and the relevant notes to be available.

    The scheme was flawed, very flawed, a simpler, cheaper, quicker and foolproof alternative was always available which would cost just about zero to implement and can be run by a miniscule number of staff.

  • Comment number 54.

    What folk don't realise is that those who work with children in a voluntary capacity are already having CRB checks - for each organisation, so if you work with brownies, help in Sunday school and listen to children read in your child's school you will have had to apply for 3 CRB checks - the Vetting and Barring would have meant only one was needed. The problem is not the V&B system. Many of us were looking forward to it giving us a lot less trouble and expense. Please stop bleating about the 'Nanny state gone made', understand the reality of those who want to keep your child safe think about the reality for those who work with children and were preparing for the new system now.

  • Comment number 55.

    Good. Never saw the point of this database. It takes but a second for a determined paedophile to strike and no database would stop them. It always seemed to me that this was one of NuLabour's 'lip service' things, allowing them to be *seen* to be doing something rather than *actually* doing something useful.

    The thing is, why do we need this database? If people need to be registered on a database, surely that means we consider them to be a danger to the public. And if they're a danger to the public, what are they doing out of prison in the first place?

    The best way to keep paedophiles away from children is to keep them in prison, so we need to look elsewhere at the legal system; we need to look at sentencing and how parole panels assess whether paedophiles (and other prisoners for that matter) are reformed.

    To my mind sentences should be for a given number of months or years as they are now but there should be no entitlement to release until the parole board, psychiatrists, doctors, specialists and such are sure the criminal is no longer a danger to the public. That proviso should be included with every fixed-term sentence. Then, when prisoners are finally released, they should be free to start over completely afresh.

    The problem is of course cost. We'd need more prison spaces, but when we're talking about protecting the public I think it's a cost worth paying.

  • Comment number 56.

    Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    "By this cost cutting measure, how many more children, will be abused or murder by perverts?

    Answer - none probably and why are you assuming it's a cost cutting exercise.

    I'm a Cub leader and whilst there are problems with the CRB system in that you have to have one done for every situation you're in so if you're a teacher AND a Cub leader you have to have two, which in my view is just a money making exercise, the vetting scheme would have been much worse and it was willing to take into account unsubstantiated allegations and effectively was taking the stance that by default EVERY adult is a pervert until proven otherwise. Frankly I was insulted that there was yet another assumption that I'm a pervert waiting for my moment rather than someone who sees the value in giving children other avenues of adventure than an ipod or an xbox and people wonder why there is a decline in the number of adults willing to work with children.

    Before you get on your high horse and start the 'if it saves one childs life it's worth it' well I'm afraid it isn't.

    Don't agree, Ok then, you want ALL children to be perfectly safe and free from all potential abuse.

    Easy - the people who were going to be on the vetting panel, who must by default be above suspicion, (but don't forget they're unelected and no-one is giving me any information on who they are and how THEY'RE vetted as suitable for the job, but that's another story) are given the authority to take all babies away from parents when they are born and remove all existing children from their families.

    They then live in isolation away from any adults except those who were to be on the vetting panel, they are schooled remotely with anonymous feedback from teachers so that there is no danger of teachers mentally abusing them, all this communication is vetted as well. Whilst they are children they have NO informal contact with ANY adults, not even their parents as statistics show that most abuse is by family members or friends anyway. Then when they are adults themselves they are released back into society, where, of course, they'll have the shock of their lives when they find out the world doesn't revolve around them.

    Don't like that idea then. No - surely you agree it's the best thing to do. After all, if it saves ONE life it's absolutely got to be worth it. Civil liberties of both the parents and the children, innocent until proven guilty. Surely NONE of that matters a jot if it saves ONE life.

  • Comment number 57.

    Some form of background check is required yes BUT not one for every tom,dick and harry who happens to be working within 1km of kids.

    Anybody who is expected to be alone with children eg teachers etc... should be vetter but not bus drivers, or anybody else who's not gonna be with children alone for more than a minute or so.

    A good move but possibly overkill.

  • Comment number 58.

    Thank goodness! No more scaremoungering that every man is a potential rapist and peodophile.

    Let's be honest, this vetting was aimed squarely at men and as such, I stopped volunteering because of it (along with several other men who willingly gave up their time to help with the kids in activities that women didn't always wanted to get involved with - hence why lots of kids clubs and activities stopped and why kids are now living in a cotton wool society).

    I can hopefully go back to volunteering again shortly!

  • Comment number 59.

    At last....A wee bit of common sense prevails, those hell bent on abusing kids will always find a way to do so, this simply allows normal people to care and look out for youngsters without fear of retribtution for daring to do so.

    Besides...People working with these groups already need a criminal records beareau check to carry out voluntary or professional work...this would just be another waste of money.

  • Comment number 60.

    It is one of those things that is useful to a certain degree, but like with most things the last government went too far and in turn nearly destroyed our way of life. This will cut costs down. My friend is a teacher and she had to get one done for every agency or job she applied for no matter how long ago she got one done. Now that is terrible. If you are to become a teacher then there should only be the one check needed and any job you go to should have access to a database or a central body to request the details. But vetting for anyone who has any contact with children in everyday life in a children's club or driving them to school when it is an arrangement between friends is completely ludicrous. Also, people visiting schools should not have to get one.

  • Comment number 61.

    QUOTE from BBC News page
    But Labour's Meg Hillier said that the scheme had already been altered to address concerns about intrusiveness.

    "The scheme was designed to ensure that parents could be certain their children were safe when in the care of professionals and regular volunteers who may be unknown to them," she said.

    Two recent cases of nursery teachers done for kiddy-fiddling, despite having passed the police checks indicate the shadow Home Secretary's view on the infalibility of their (Labour's) new proceedures is severly at odds with reality.
    The weak link in all of this is that whatever procedure you use it will only pick up those individuals who have already been caught for these offences. There is no "certainty" and this is something we have to live with. Inconveniencing 9 million people to make it look as though we are "doing something" is not an effective way to proceed - so of course this whole process needs a revision.

  • Comment number 62.

    And the problem with Vetting is that once you have a check and you pass then you are entitled to access children's groups. Now you have those that are not harmful, those that have been caught and those that have not. What if someone is a danger to children and has committed crimes to them but has not been caught, they will pass the vetting and then they will be allowed to work with children. So it is actually a pointless exercise which will destroy community way of life. Should we all stop sending our children to school and not let them play on their bikes and keep them under lock and key? Should we change the law so that everyone is presumed to be a paedophile until they are proved that they are not. Society over the last ten years has got to a point that if you are an adult and you think that children are cute and you like to watch them play because you enjoy seeing them laugh you are not right in the head. What a load of tosh!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Sammie, the whole point is that the vetting does not really work. If someone has not been caught and passes then they have access to your children. Also, if you have an arrangement between some friends to share a school run, why on earth should you be vetted. Society unfortunately cannot stop bad things from happening. But protecting should be through responsibility of parents and teachers, not through useless agencies that cost the earth and ruin people's lives. The majority of people are not paedophiles and even with vetting, these sick people will find another way to harm children. It is awful, but we cannot live in a big brother style society. That is heading towards communism and it is not healthy. You should be able to decide for yourself if you trust your friends to look after your children. As usual the Labour government went too far.

  • Comment number 64.

    If these measures were a direct consequence of the Soham murders, then they were a step too far. Huntley would have been prevented from working with children if any of his under-age victims in Humberside had made a complaint to the police. The reason why this was the case should be the focus of attention rather than the 'guilty until proved innocent' approach by New Labour that blames society for the actions of one evil individual.

  • Comment number 65.

    The new vetting and barring scheme was completely OTT, but scaling back the old one is a really bad idea. It needs to be reviewed, as it isn't effective enough, not scaled back.

    Kids and disabled people will suffer from this. But they're not rich people, so the Cons don't really care.

    It's quite funny (not really) how people now whine about the money Labour has spend when they didn't complain when they got their little handouts. I suppose a lot of people won't even realise they got these handouts, but they'll find out soon enough when the current government withdraws them.

  • Comment number 66.

    this whole scheme was a typical example of the Labour nanny state: well- meaning in its origin but badly flawed in its implementation. its obvious that having a system to reduce the risk that children are abused is desirable. Ther reality is tho, that the majority of abused children are victims of family and close friends - not teachers, health workers etc etc.

    the system brought in by Labour would never have dealt with that so we have ended up with a system that would never achieve its stated goals because it wasnt actually targetted in the right direction. Instead we got bureaucracy, expense and delay out of all proportion to the perceived benefit.

    Hopefully, this will be the start of a shift towards the application of common-sense. A new time in whioh men prepared to work with children are not stigmatised and presumed guilty until proven innocent.

    It is little wonder than men are increasingly opting not to give their free time up to volunteer helping kids.

  • Comment number 67.

    7. At 10:11am on 15 Jun 2010, Lewis Fitzroy wrote: ""By this cost cutting measure, how many more children, will be abused or murder by perverts?"

    Probably not all that many. Change the word "perverts" to "parents" and the number goes up.

  • Comment number 68.

    Fantastic. Scrap this pointless waste of money scheme.

    To those who think we must protect children at all costs, get real for goodness sake.

    How many parents regularly ferry their children around in their cars? On average two children a week are killed whilst passengers in cars involved in accidents.

    Life is a dangerous business. Spend all the money you like, bring in whatever draconian regulations you like, children will still die, from a range of causes.

    Use some common sense, and take sensible precautions. Protect children at all costs? Simple a pointless waste of time and money.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Is vetting and barring scheme needed?"

    Undoubtedly - as Ian Huntley demonstrated.

    In fact, it should be strictly applied to all people before they are allowed to become parents - as the Baby Peter case has demonstrated.

  • Comment number 70.

    Maybe now I'll be allowed to take a few pictures of my daughter having fun at her annual sports day.

    For the past two years, the only way I've been able to get any pictures of my child enjoying herself at nursery is to get a DVD burned by the nursery staff after key events. And of course, I have to pay for this. Then, I have to trawl through all of the images and video footage, of which none may actually be of my child.

    On one occasion, I actually heard a member of staff tell a parent that he couldn't take a picture of his son being a shepherd in the nativity play, and that if he did, the staff member would have to report him to the police. While I have my doubts that this staff member knew what she was talking about, if she was in fact correct then the law is an ass.

  • Comment number 71.

    Suggestion: Primary qualification for all parliamentary candidates (including then current government ministers), that theirs knees are 'frozen' so they can't be jerked.

    Oh how we've suffered over the years, our basic freedoms have been very severely damaged, by knee-jerk reactions from politicians.

    Thank goodness that we seem at last to have a government that wants to consider the evidence before taking action. Breath of fresh air.

  • Comment number 72.

    We are told that the majority of abuse comes from a family member, if that is the case then the proposed system would not tackle this - and I'm not sure there is any way it can be tackled.

    What's wrong with parental responsibility protecting your own children? That's what happened to me as both a child and a parent. My parents decided who I could go with, Cubs, Scouts, Cadet Force etc. and I did the same for my children. If I was not happy with someone (and that was sometimes the case) then I didnt let my children go there. It was my responsibility, they were my children, I didnt need the state to do my job for me. Also, as a parent, I had a responsibility to educate my children as to what was right and wrong, what was acceptable behaviour and what was not. I made sure they knew exactly what to do if anybody attempted to do anything that was not acceptable. As a parent you have responsibilities that cannot be discharged through a third party.

  • Comment number 73.

    A victory for common sense, instead of the shackles of the nulabour big brother, micro management, PC brigade rubbish. When you look at recent cases we have seen school caretaker, nursery workers all convicted. There was a recent case where a teacher of mine 25 years ago was abusing children and continued to, despite CRB checks. So would a more checks catch them, probably not just make life even more difficult for normal people. Paedophiles have always existed and will continue to too, no matter what measures you put in place.

  • Comment number 74.

    14. Gerard wrote:

    Firstly, there is no such thing as overreacting when you are protecting and safeguarding children;"

    Well if you have children (or grandchildren) have you:

    (a) covered all hard edges in your house with rubber to prevent the poor mite bumping their heads,

    (b) ripped out the cooker in case the poor mite pulls down a pan of boiling water

    (c) insisted that they wear fully protective clothing at all times in case they breathe in any germs

    etc., etc.

    Of course you can have is an over-reaction where children are concerned

  • Comment number 75.

    Personally I'm glad to see these guilty-until-proven-innocent attitudes and personally invasive checks be wiped out. I found them intrusive and insulting.

  • Comment number 76.

    "the Vetting and Barring would have meant only one was needed"

    It wouldn't...

  • Comment number 77.

    I am gutted! I work for a Children's charity and have spent considerable time preparing for the introduction of the Vetting and Barring Scheme.

    This was an excellent scheme and wasn't draconian in the least! It didn't interfere with private arrangements or told us who or who shouldn't have contact with Children! If you haven't spent any time understanding the full detals of the scheme - don't botter to comment!

    This would have ensured that important barring information was passed to those with a legitimate interest i.e. employers of those who work with Children and Vulnerable adults. Now we are just left with CRB's that are out of date as soon as they are issued!

    I have absolutely no doubt that this decision has put children and vulnerable adults at an increased risk and yet again important decisions are made by polititians who lack an understanding of the full implications!

  • Comment number 78.

    At 10:18am on 15 Jun 2010, Gerard wrote:

    Firstly, there is no such thing as overreacting when you are protecting and safeguarding children;

    Unfortunately, there is. We've reached the stage at which adults are afraid to even approach a child who is clearly in distress.

    The way to safeguard children is to educate them to the dangers, not to keep them wrapped in cotton wool. How else can they educate their children?

  • Comment number 79.

    The ISA scheme is a much better scheme than the CRB checks, which only give information about an employee/volunteer up until the date issued. With the ISA, employers would have been informed as soon as a person was barred from working with children. How can that not be a good thing?
    This is about protecting children, not about some adults feeling uncomfortable about the scheme.
    As someone who is responsible for hiring teachers to work with young people, I am very disappointed that the scheme has been halted.

  • Comment number 80.

    How much is "Child life" worth for a bit of inconvience.. I ask.. Surely it is better to cause a little inconvenience then see a single Child Hurt. What Madness, Typical Tories...I suppose they will disquise behind the "Budget Deficit" umbrella.. This is common sense...

  • Comment number 81.

    At last we have a government minister with Common Sense.

  • Comment number 82.

    Common sense at last. The 'Huntley' problem was a failure in the police IT system and overall forces co-ordination ; There are NOT hoards of perverts currently being detered by any IT system.

    Criminal record checks still need to be done for people that have significant time with children , with the term 'significant' being defined formally.

    One point however , why is the ISA quango still being allowed to exist now that it's reason for being has been removed?

  • Comment number 83.

    Thank God it's gone! What sort of power freaks were in charge in the old government?

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 14. At 10:18am on 15 Jun 2010, Gerard wrote:

    > Firstly, there is no such thing as overreacting when you are
    > protecting and safeguarding children

    What rot. Childrens' futures were endangered by this madcap
    scheme, due to no volunteers!

  • Comment number 85.

    That's one in the eye for you libby-lovey-lefty-liberal namby pamby do-gooders!

    Why can't people just use their common sense, instead of having "rules", "regulations" and "laws"? Maybe one or two mistaks might be made, and a few kids and old ladies will be murdered, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, eh?

    Hopefully the new government will soon also ban health and safety laws and speed limits.

    Freedom for all!

  • Comment number 86.

    80. At 1:41pm on 15 Jun 2010, Prakash wrote:

    How much is "Child life" worth for a bit of inconvience.. I ask.. Surely it is better to cause a little inconvenience then see a single Child Hurt. What Madness, Typical Tories...I suppose they will disquise behind the "Budget Deficit" umbrella.. This is common sense...


    I read an interesting statement in a book which I have not corroberated yet sticks in my mind-

    '20 years ago 70% said they would be more preturbed to learn an innocent had been convicted than a criminal going free. Now that is 52%.'

    There is a point in which we sacrafice freedom for the illusion of security and dont just lose our rights and responsibility but we freely give it away.

  • Comment number 87.

    Baby P, Victoria Climbie, Khyra Ishaq and numerous other children would still have died even if this system had been enacted 20 years ago... why you say, because nearly all abuse suffered by children comes from within the family either nuclear or extended and they aren't covered.

  • Comment number 88.

    Halted till what happens?

  • Comment number 89.

    Paul wrote: This is long overdue. Consider the following:-
    There are basically 3 groups of people in the world
    1. Non-paedophiles
    2. Paedophiles who have not been caught
    3. Paedophiles who have been caught
    Of these groups only the last will be picked up in any kind of check.


    And now not even they will be picked up... and you want this? Why?

  • Comment number 90.

    Imagine if it was your child, or a vulnerable adult close to you, who was abused by someone who would have been caught in this net. How would you feel about it then ??

    I'm one of the biggest opponents to the PC brigade going - the nicey nice, frightened to be British gang of psychological terrorists who try to influence the way we think and feel about our heritage and the world around us.

    I'm also a parent and the husband of someone who works for CRB. She never tells me what she reads about the people she checks, or the depths of human depravity that she is required to read but I can tell that it affects her deeply as both a mother and a human being. She genuinely believes that if she can stop one, just one, child being abused by doing the job she does then it will all be worth it.

    She's not a saint, she's no Mother Theresa, she's just my other half and a normal girl but she does a job that protects our families and children from the sick, twisted, depraved people that also inhabit our earth.

    It does bring to mind the old maxim "it will do no harm if you have nothing to hide".

  • Comment number 91.

    There needs to be some sort of check process in place for those working with and coming in regular contact with children (and vulnerable adults).

    I agree that ONE check should suffice, rather than the need for a CRB every time you move.

    A review is healthy, but to scrap it is wrong and dangerous.

    What will happen is we'll save millions on this, a child will be abused, or worse and then the country will scream for it to be put back in place.

    It's the old stop sign adage. Never put one up until someone gets hit.

  • Comment number 92.

    This is definitely good news - the one big frustration is that Labour thought it helpful to create all these ineffective quangos and legislation in the first place which we now have to pay £££'s to dismantle.

  • Comment number 93.

    The question is: can we maintain and increase our current levels of paranoia and state-sponsored nannyism without such needless and expensive bureaucracy?

  • Comment number 94.

    "My suspicion is that the only sensible protection is personal recommendation. If that means people new to an area, geographical or of expertise, have to wait 2- 3 years, it's no worse than a golfclub membership."
    Right, so you want a three year wait on me joining the NHS because it's just like joining a golf club. My fellow students and I did a week-long placement last year and had CRB checks for that: you think it would be preferable to simply make us wait for three years before being approved for a single week of working? We'd have graduated in that time.

    One of the definitions for a "vulnerable adult" is as follows:
    "is receiving any form of health care"
    That is an awful lot of people who should not be considered vulnerable - myself included. If we live independently, are in full control of our faculties, and our health problems do not affect our judgment, why are we vulnerable and in need of protection? And if I'm so vulnerable, why am I in a position where I'm the one having to receive vetting and barring checks? I'm getting a check so I can work with people like me. It's meaningless.

  • Comment number 95.

    The last time I had a CRB check I was discovered to be in possession of nearly 20 previous convictions including a period in Prison, it nearly cost me my job! Apparently my 30 years of previous continuous employment, easily verifiable, counted for nothing.
    It was necessary for my new employer to pay out £60odd for a check, money that ultimately came from the Education budget, to verify something that was already a matter of Public record. And even then the result was erroneous. I was fortunate in that I was able to 'prove my innocence'.
    The check would not have protected any child, it might well have cost me a lot of money by loss of wages, and simply reminded me of how inaccurate are the Criminal Records of England and Wales.
    I doubt if the CRB check has in reality 'saved' any child from a real Paedophile, and in the absence of a positive ID system never will.

    (Just for info my 30 years continuous employment was as a Policeman.)

  • Comment number 96.

    Before everyone gets on the 'bash Labour's Nanny State' bandwagon, I'd like to see some clear statistics on how many people failed a CRB check, the comparative number of abductions, assaults etc of children before and after the scheme was introduced, and the cost of maintaining it overall.

    It's all very well making a noise about the scheme being put on ice, but how do you quantify the value of even one life saved or child not abused? That is what you have to weigh.

    There is another impact of course, for anyone involved in schools - the safeguarding agenda. A number of schools had problems with their Oftsed inspections because they hadn't maintained their list of staff with CRB checks. Where does this leave this now?

  • Comment number 97.

    This is a blow for common sense! Whilst there may be a need for some form of register for those working with children and vulnerable people, the Vetting & Barring Scheme was a step too far. The number of people that would have been required to register was just ridiculous,and as others have said would not necessarily make such a system more secure. I work for a charity and the increased costs would have caused financial issues for us, even more so for smaller organisations. Well done this government, keep chopping away at unnecessary beaurocracy.

  • Comment number 98.

    Labours So called child protection measures have done nothing to safeguard children. In fact it has done them more harm than good. Adults cannot talk to children who are not their own without being checked and vetted and probed by some authority or another. Children are missing out on normal interactions and you wonder why they just do what they want and to hell with the consequences.

    Lets see a review of all child protection legislation. Yes we need some protection and no one could ever excuse what has happened to some children or try to trivialise it but, look at two of the most high profile child protection issues of the past decade, Climbie and Baby P, These were perpetrated by their legal guardians and those who lived with them. Are we going to start vetting everybody before allowing them to become parents.

  • Comment number 99.

    While it is to be welcomed that the breadth of the vetting and barring scheme is to be scaled back. It is vital that the government also reviews the guidelines for barring. Below is a document I prepared for Cambridge NASUWT listing our concerns. If not addressed many talented teachers who pose no risk to children could be barred causing enormous personal damage to them and also damage to the teaching profession as a whole.

    It is long but worth reading to fully understand how damaging this scheme could be even in a modified form......

    The Independent Safeguarding Authority Summary of concerns.

    All quotes come from the document “Guidance notes for the decision making process”, written by the “ISA Board”.

    PREAMBLE: Within ISA guidelines a person is barred purely on an assessment of evidence presented in the form of paper documents. There is no hearing. The standard is that of a civil court “the balance of probabilities” ie: more likely than not. As the person can be barred on the basis of character alone the assessment is whether the person is “probably a dubious character.” This is a very low standard, perhaps one that makes all teachers vulnerable.


    1) The ISA can receive information from any source to initiate an investigation. “2.3 The information can take the form of convictions or cautions; competent body findings; referrals from organisations, including employers; and other or further information from any source, e.g. stories in the press”

    2) The ISA does not have to prove an event took place (even on the balance of probabilities) to bar somebody: “3.4.1 The initial action is to determine, on the face of it, whether the case indicates that a person has, at any time, engaged in ‘relevant conduct’1 or, if there is no suggestion of relevant conduct, whether there is anything to suggest that a person may harm or in any way cause or put at risk of harm a child or vulnerable adult…. 4.4.1 The Act and the Order provide two further limbs which prescribe the circumstances in which a person may be included on the children’s and/or adults’ lists. 4.4.2 Behaviour - If it appears that the person has (at any time) engaged in relevant conduct …4.4.3 Risk of Harm - If it appears that a person may harm a child or vulnerable adult; ….(s)”,

    3) The definition of behaviour that would be sufficient to bar somebody is also different and more stringent than other definitions used by previous bodies including behaviour that may previously have just been regarded as bad teaching: “4.5.12 It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate. ; It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.”

    4) The definition of relevant offences has been expanded to include such things as having ever committed benefit fraud or two indictable driving offences in a ten year period: “4.6.5 Relevant convictions and cautions – …offences that involve acquisitive behaviour and fraud; indicate that the person holds/held a position of authority and breached a trust; 4.6.8 In addition, where more than two ‘not initially relevant’ offences are disclosed in the last 10 years (that is, where a person has been convicted on more than two separate dates in last 10 years), all conviction details are forwarded to ISA for consideration irrespective of whether relevant offences are present.”

    5) The cumulative behaviour clauses mean someone can be barred without ever committing an act of gross misconduct: “4.10.1 You must look out for instances of behaviour which, although not “relevant conduct” or otherwise in themselves determinative of the potential for risk, give rise to concerns when looked at cumulatively that someone may pose a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults.”

    6) Any teacher formally disciplined (for misconduct as well as gross misconduct) will have their details forwarded to the ISA and may be barred: “5.1.1. Referral information is received from employers which have dealt with individuals through their internal disciplinary procedures, whether or not an individual has been dismissed.”

    7) Unlike in a court case the ‘defendant’ has no right to see evidence collected by the ISA that may aid their defence: “5.1.2 simply receiving information does not trigger a requirement to disclose it.”

    8) A person can be barred for a connection to someone else who committed an act rather than an act they committed themselves, although this is ‘exceptional’: “5.5.1. There may be very exceptional occasions when the ISA is notified that an applicant (or someone who is subject to monitoring) has some form of association with another who is (or if they applied, would be) barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.”

    9) The definitions of behaviour that might lead to someone being barred are very broad, including an attempt to assess thoughts as well as acts: “6.3 Personal gratification derived from thoughts/acts of violence or violent fantasy; Personal gratification derived from thoughts/acts of theft and/or causing others to suffer financial harm; Personal gratification derived from thoughts of being in control over others and/or thoughts of having/abusing power over others through, for example, neglect or arbitrary discrimination.” “6.4. Thinking, Attitudes and Beliefs – the extent to which the behaviour was underpinned by attitudes or belief systems that are linked to harmful activity. 6.4.1. Within this context, consider how far the case material reflects the presence or absence of the following risk factors (not exhaustive); Belief that one is entitled to or deserves to have sex; Beliefs/attitudes that would support acts of financial harm; Belief that one is entitled to breach rules and act outside of recognized safeguarding advice/guidance.”

    10) The personality traits that could lead to someone being barred are also very broad including ‘loneliness’ and ‘poor problem solving skills’: “6.5.1. Within this context, consider how far the case material reflects the presence or absence of the following risk factors (not exhaustive): Presence of severe emotional loneliness and/or the inability to manage/sustain emotionally intimate relationships; Elective links with anti-social peers and/or associates; Inability to meet personal needs responsibly within the context of interpersonal relationships. 6.6. Self Management and Lifestyle –6.6.1. Within this context, consider how far the case material reflects the presence or absence of the following risk factors (not exhaustive): Poor emotional arousal management skills; Poor problem solving and/or coping skills (e.g. using…sex to cope with stress); Poor coping in response to provocation; Out of control emotions/urges; Presence of impulsive, chaotic, unstable lifestyle; Inability to manage impulses/urges to act anti-socially e.g. theft.”

    11) There is only one sanction (for anyone over 25) barring for 10 years even though there will be differences in certainty and severity concerning the persons actions or character: “8.9.1. A decision to include a person on a list means that they will be barred from the entirety of the workforce affected for a minimum period of one, five or ten years depending on the individual’s age.”

    12) The ISA justify the difference between their standards and those of a court (or even the GTC) by claiming that inclusion on the list is not a punitive sanction. Considering to a teacher inclusion means loss of job and future career it is hard to agree with this: “3.8.3 The decision to include in the list is not a punitive sanction but is a protective measure to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.”

  • Comment number 100.

    Common sense ? From the government? Whatever next??

    For those contributors who are worried that we dont have a way of tracking offenders, there is good news, we already have this system in place. It's called prison, just a shame there are so many dogooders and PC Judges out there!


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