back to article Would you leave your child alone with a cabinet minister?

When it comes to vetting adults who may come into contact with children, there is yet again one rule for politicians, another for the rest of us. There is much fuss in this morning’s papers over a statement by Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials trilogy, that once the government’s new vetting system is in place, he will …

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Simple solution

If everyone without an ulterior motive for wanting to spend time with children refused to be vetted then the only ones willing to be so would be the potential molesters.

Another thought, if politicians are so wonderful then if you need to be vetted to care for your own elderly parents refuse to be so and leave said beloved relative on a politicains doorstep with a note to kindly look after them.

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Black Helicopters

Operation Ore

Weren't there some senior politicans among the suspects?

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FAIL

The English language

as good as it is fails to provide me with the words I need to express my feelings about this.

Ludicrous, crass, unnecessary, arrogant, idiotic, offensive, stupid. I should go back to school (if I'm allowed) and see if there is a word that is all of these and more.

These idiots need to be voted out of power as soon as possible.

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FAIL

Meeting government ministers will be very educational!

With any luck it will teach children that the drooling idiot in a suit is indeed a drooling idiot and that when they have the vote they should ensure they use it in favour of people capable of independent thought that drool far less.

As to this whole extended vetting idea, I assume that the gubmint does realise that reducing the people that give up their time to help schools by possibly 90% is going to be bad for education?

No, well they're drooling idiots then!

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Gossp and Rumour

Of course once an author refuses to undergo these checks, someone will do the old "no smoke without fire" and assume that they refused to be checked because they knew they would fail.

And then they'll start rumours to that effect. Which the police will put on that author's record.

So if the author is eventually forced to be checked, they will fail because of those rumours. And the original gossip monger will say "See! It's true!"

And then quite likely someone will decide to rid the world of this terrible paedophile.

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last night on tele

...was Prince Charles pushing and promoting the idea of more men volunteering to work with groups like the Scouts.

Quite rightly too, such institutions are good for children, but just the issue that Philip Pullman complains about is what scares so many from volunteering.. ... one allegation, unproven can ruin your life, not just your job.... so sorry kids but you are not worth it due to this over sensitive rather naive nanny state.

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Unhappy

Cost

I agree heartily with the context of the article, but there are 2 things that tick me off considerably.

I help run a childrens drama group and we will need to spend ~£640 to get our adult helpers registered under the new scheme, where will we get the money from?

Secondly, just like the CRBs, will they still be invalid as soon as they are issued (the cert could be issued the day before a court appearance!)

Grrrrrrrrrr

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Grenade

Er, I call bollocks on this.

Vetting is for "people with access in their work"?

Now explain how this applies to an author, whose work involves writing books, but does not apparently apply to the minister for children, families and schools.

What a complete load of utter bullshit.

This a typical result of kneejerk legislation which was introduced for two and only two reasons. The first, to be Seen To Be Doing Something and the second to distract attention from the inconvenient fact that the subsequent enquiry showed that the existing systems *should* have prevented the problem being addressed (Huntley / Soham), had not they been both crap and used by incompetant fuckwits.

Philip Pullman is whatever the atheistic equivalent of a saint is for shining a bright light into the murky corners of this classic nuLabour, stateist cockup.

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Ha!

I think I'd rather leave a child in the care of a professional Dominatrix before I let a politician at them - at least the pro-Domme has some integrity and standards.

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So out of date already!

"Only authors who plan to go into schools regularly - once a month or more - will have to be registered. And the government has said the fees will be paid for authors, provided they are not being paid to visit schools."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8153251.stm

And "volunteers" don't have to pay for the vetting, so if the author is being paid, then they are no volunteers.

If you have an adult visiting a school more than once a month, making friends with the children, reading them stories etc. then I have no objection to a background check being run to see if that adult has a history of child abuse. If they visit a school less often, or don't have contact with children, like, say a government education minister (grin) then they don't need the backgruond check ... though one hopes that our politicians have already been vetted.

Sure it's a "nanny state" but in this case, that's the point!

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One wonders

if the Reverend Charles Dodgson would have been allowed to visit schools.

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Anonymous Coward

Deep Thought...

What does this mean for the hoardes of press that have to accompany ministers when they are kissing babies ... ahem, I mean ascertaining the effectiveness of their latest disasters ... um, I mean policies.

Also, what of the assistants that stand there, whispering in the ministers ear with an on-the-fly brief about what they're actually doing, in the hope of stopping said ministers looking like idiots. Oh, sorry, a bit late there.

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FFS

So unsubstantiated allegations are enough to bar you from working with children? That has got to be a breach of human rights laws.

This government just gets better and better doesn't it?

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Stop

If you have nothing to hide...

...you have nothing to fear.

Apart from the baseless rumours and unfounded, indeed unconfirmed, allegations about which you know little (or nothing) and can do even less.

I wonder how long it will be (in all seriousness) before people have to be vetted and approved before they can have children? After all, the majority of abuse of young people happens in the home and is perpetrated by those adults closest to them.

<shakes head in disappointed resignation>

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Shall we...

start making anonymous, implausible allegations about every schoolteacher we can find? It might help people to realise how ludicrous this scheme is when nobody is allowed work with children.

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WTF?

Quick! Start a rumour!

That JK Rowling is bad for kiddies. She'll end up on the "Barred" list, and the resultant Daily Mail Shark-Frenzy about the Unfairness Of It All ("Why, oh why, is my child's favourite author not allowed to visit the local school? Churchill would spin in his grave!" etc... etc...) will force the gubmint to abandon this plan, and allow Phillip Pullman back into classrooms to explain to children why God Is Bad.

Either that, or start a FaceBook group. Yeah. that's sure to work...

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Paris Hilton

Independent Safeguarding Authority

It is predictable that any government department, commission or agency can quite happily go about its business which is the complete antithesis of its own title. Justice department hmmm, ISA hmmm, what next a Truth Commission to get to the bottom of MP expenses. You just know it makes sense... or not.

I would trust Paris with my children, although I might not trust my children with Paris!

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Big Brother

Next comes the book burning

How long before a school bans one of these authors' books because it was written by someone who refuses to prove they are not a paedophile?

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DCSF not done its research?

Sorry, I don't think it's the DCSF that hasn't done its research properly, but Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, and others. From what you quote and what is quoted in the BBC story, it seems clear that this only applies to authors (and other visitors) who visit the same school more than once per month. So the majority of authors, who only visit a school once a year, don't have to be vetted.

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Joke

Light relief

This always reminds me of a film

<mob> We've caught a witch, may we burn her?

<knight> How do you know she is a witch

<mob> she looks like one

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Anonymous Coward

See also the BCU

"You don't work with children or vulnerable adults? Irrelevant, if you're a coach you should have your details registered on multiple government and private databases!"

Ok, I'll stop coaching, bye!

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Unhappy

Re: Operation Ore

@Dan 55: possibly. Also listed as suspects were many, many people whose credit cards had been cloned or otherwise fraudulently misused, whose careers and lives were wrecked (and in some cases lost, sadly).

Yes, Ore uncovered a lot of diabolical behaviour and gave a lot of people a criminal record (and rightly so), but the collateral damage to those guilty by association was (is) a high price to pay.

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what a waste of money

From those figures, a minimum of 11 million people will need to register with the Independent Safeguarding authority (ISA) at a cost of £64 each. That makes a total income of £704,000,000 for the ISA.

That's a lot of money to spend, and how many cases of child abuse will it prevent? None?

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Guidelines?

I frequently deliver my daughter directly to her classroom (she is four years old) do I need to be vetted along with every other parent? I'd suggest that as long as they change that guideline to a fixed and enforced rule that states that all visitors to the school must be accompanied at all times unless they have clearance then our children are safe from even the most predatory author or politician.

It really pisses me off that politicians feel they should have different rules than the rest of us and this case is no different.

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Unhappy

The United States may be tort lawsuit happy...

...but I'll take that over what you guys have going on any day. Ugh.

Hmmm... do you think that Lewis Caroll would have made it through the vetting process?

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Black Helicopters

bad influence

Politicians shouldn't be allowed in schools with or without vetting. They are a bad influence on our youth.

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KCM
Joke

Maybe

... the ministers need to get an ID card before having one of these checks. Because no minister does anything wrong at all....

... but how will they read the card to know it's accurate? Oh yes...twang it for that unique sound....

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Anonymous Coward

Parents/relatives are responsible for most child abuse

and as they work with their children on a daily basis, presumably they should all be CRB-checked?

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

"most authors only visit a school once in a year or more."

There's something wrong with that sentence.

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Flame

Interesting

Ed Balls recently accepted the recommendations of the Badman report into Home Education, to create legislation which will give local authority inspectors powers to enter the homes of home educators without any warrant and interview their children alone (the inspector gets to decide if a chaperone is needed). The inspectors will be obviously be in a great position to intimidate both parents and children, with the option of School Attendence Orders and "getting social services" involved.

Strikes me that one way the HE folks will be fighting back will be to work out that the people attracted to such a job are probably potential molesters, report them to the Police if they refuse chaperones, or look funny, the Police enter it into this database and make sure the inspectors not only lose their jobs but are unemployable the education sector.

Take the scheme that bans people from jobs based on gossip, and use it against the scheme that assumes parents are abusers. I approve of the symmetry.

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Unhappy

Maybe it's time...

...to vet EVERYBODY!!! The police, the cabinet... even the people carrying out the vets! Then vet the people who vetted them. And so on forever. Think of the money it'll churn around the economy! We could be out of recession by September!

Seriously, I applaud Pullman's refusal to participate in something that says by default he must want to fiddle with kids. After hearing about the levels of abuse on TV last night, such checks clearly stop nothing. They merely say people haven't been caught.

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WTF?

Er...

Although the words state: Vetting is for "people with access in their work" the interpretation appears to come down to "If you have an adult visiting a school more than once a month.."

From this possible interpretation, every single parent who stands outside the gates and collects their child from school will also need to be vetted... or what? you cannot stand outside the school in the fear you may befriend an exiting child so your own child needs to wander home alone, or arrange a parental rendevous at the local shop away from school grounds?

The state legislation is loose, non specific, badly worded and because of this can be badly interpreted and poorly implemented. This goes for a heck of a lot of the legislation over the past ten years. The terrorism legislation is another case in point.

We need better civil servants who are better at crafting and locking down legislation from the airy fairy concepts our polititions esouse so that broad interpretations are limited.

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Welcome

@asiaseen

Ref your comment about the "Reverend Charles Dodgeson"

As a (former) school governor, I also had to go through CRB check along with everyone else, including the local vicar who was 1) a governor 2) a parent 3) a regular visitor to the school as it fell in his parish and he actually helped teach the children in religious education.

The CRB checks (at the time I was involved) simply stated that they find no reason why a person should not be allowed to work with children. However, if a person fails, they don't normally state why, just that the person has not passed the check.

The vicar failed. After considerable effort to get them to reveal why, it appeared that he had a surname that was similar to that of someone that had a large number of outstanding parking tickets and had failed to appear in court several times.

What then made it worse was that having failed the check, when the LEA asked for it to be re-done, he again failed the check on the grounds that he had previously failed the CRB check!

Welcome to Wonderland

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but surely

if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear?

set an example for once, have the check, make it public if they pass or fail (but not what on, they get the same privacy the rest of us should).

if they won;t go through it it just makes them and the whole process look shifty.

if ed balls especially had answered with "of course i;ve been checked" the story more or less ends there

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Why not...

Why not just vet everyone? I mean surely all this is is a soft store of criminal records in a seperate database? So why not, when you go to look up a person in this database just look them up in the CRB database instead.

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FAIL

Dear Government

Remember 'not guilty unless proven'?

I'm not. I don't need a bit of paper telling everyone so. Now sod off. Thank you.

What is it with this government? Their response is always and without fail enormously out of proportion to the stimulus... a dog kills a baby - all that breed are immediately killed. A car kills someone; every derestricted road in the county is smothered in silly limits and cameras; a child is killed - and suddenly everyone who might ever come into contact with one is assumed guilty of child molestation unless they can prove they're not!

Philip Pullman and the other authors are so right in their refusal to accept this idiocy.

Or (whisper it) could it be that having twenty percent of the population on this database suddenly makes it so much easier to extend a national database to *everyone*? Surely they're not thinking of a national ID card? Nah...

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Let me rephrase that for you...

"a one-off visitor, especially a government Minister, should never be left alone..."

Bunch of hypocrites. "Do as we say, not as we do. We're trust-worthy, you aren't".

Well, sorry, no, we don't trust you. I wonder why...?

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If the only ones who want to spend time with children are potential abusers...

...it explains at least one of my old teachers.

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Big Brother

few things...

1) Vetting only identifies people with previous convictions or suspicion

2) Authors (and politicians for that matter) are in the public eye so any previous convictions would likely be mentioned by the Daily Fail and schools would know anyway (so no real need for vetting).

3) You are never going to stop all the pedos unless you have minority report/1984 style thought crimes to punish people who have looked at a 15 year old and thought "if I was younger..."

4) In that case you'd pretty much have to lock up everyone

Pedos and terrorists are pretty similar in the fact that you take reasonable precautions but there will always be an element of risk. Risk is what we should be teaching our kids to *manage* and *accept* rather than telling them the world is safe because Nanny Labour is looking after us, and that we can sue the hell out of someone because nothing ever happens without *some*one being to blame.

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Would you?

" whilst a one-off visitor (such as a government Minister) would never be left alone."

Too right they wouldn't, the thieving bastards. They'd probably nick the kids sweets, then claim for them on expenses.

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Heart

In the awkward situation

Of cheering Mr Philip Pullman, who has Anti-regligious propaganda dressed up as Fantasy.

I'm torn between supporting him and being glad he will not be there in person to put his narrow views to kids.

In the end I suppose I will disagree with people but defend their rights to have a different view.

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Anonymous Coward

Being suspected = guilty

As I understand it, if you are arrested for any offence of a sexual nature even if you are found totally not guilty then you are not permitted to work with children. The justice system is a joke in the UK.

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FAIL

Yes, Minister?

Honestly, this lot make Jim Hacker look like a absolute genius. Are they awake in there? Are they thinking for more than 5 seconds on any policy decision? Are the thinking at all?

What an utter bunch of fools.

Sadly, the other bunch don't seem any better.

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Anonymous Coward

No more swimming

So, as I take my son to swimming lessons on Sunday mornings, and sometimes find myself in the changing rooms alone with other children, does this mean I now need a CRB check and have to register?

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Stop

@DCSF not done its research?

Maybe ... but its the mission creep that symptomatic in systems like this ... I think theReg has already covered this in their analysis of why numbers who will need to be vetted is much greater than the (alreay incredible) 11million estimated by the government.

Given that a school head faces a potential 5 year jail term if they allow someone in who was required to be checked without actually asking for ISA reg details then its more than likely that they'll play "safe" (in a purely legal sense of the word) and ask everyone coming in for registration details ... especially as it just needs one parent who's been annoyed by something to start making a fuss if they find someone's been in a classroom without the requisite piece of paper.

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Waste of Time

We've seen recently all these knee-jerk rules and regulations don't prevent the pedos getting access to children anyway. As usual only the innocent are affected by these dumb-arsed proposals.

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What happens...

if somebody has never abused children, never got a criminal record... nothing gets vetted? Surely they would pass and be allowed to work with children. What if that same person then desides to molest a kiddie?

What has the vetting proved? Surely it's stopped anyone who has molested in the past from gaining access, but it's not a 100% effective way of dealing with the problem is it?

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Flame

Politicians....

.. like to be photographed with babies.

In my book this is abuse - cynical abuse of a child that is unable to give it's consent - to further that politicians career....

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Unhappy

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

I have had numerous CRB checks for the visits I've had to my childrens school for trips out etc. I know the form back to front as I have to do a new one each year. I've just completed another CRB check for the teenager mentoring programme I'm working on, helping 14-16 year olds at a local school stay "on the rails". I've got absolutely nothing to hide; the CRB checks all come back saying "None Recorded" and I'm always cleared to work with the kids.

However, what if someone makes an unfounded allegation to the Police or school now? What if one of the children / parents takes slight offence with something I've said or done and makes an allegation? All of a sudden I could be barred (and maybe prosecuted) for nothing. I have got nothing to hide but I do fear that this kind of system is going to lead to a lot of geniune adults being either barred or discouraged from working with kids without justifiable reasons.

I am seriously considering my position as I feel as if I'm putting my head in the guillotine and a hacked off kid will be able to release the blade.

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@TeeCee

Huntley's actions in Soham would not have been prevented by the eCRB. Huntley didn't work at the school the children came from, his girlfriend did and the eCRB doesn't (presently) check acquaintances/significant others to determine fitness for a job or flag as a problem.

QED even with the eCRB in place, this was still likely to happen.

As for the article, I have personally refused to get involved in community work (sponsored by my company), due to it involving a CRB check - I will not submit to such a thing when I haven't done anything wrong and am in fact offering my own time and effort to help the local council/school.

Further, a number of my friends are teachers (both high school and primary) and know of at least one case where a current teacher had a false allegation made about them - they didn't realise the implications until they applied for a job at another school and the eCRB failed. However, since the persons current job was already secure and doesn't require an eCRB (since they were already doing it), they are in the bizzarre position of being able to remain a teacher at the same school, but cant get promoted (requires an eCRB) or move to another school.

The sooner we can kick this useless bunch out of office the better.

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