back to article UK Supremes question vetting scheme

Britain's top judges have warned that new background checks to vet millions of adults for contact with children carry a "real risk" of infringing human rights and undermining public confidence in protection measures. The comments about the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) were made today as a nursery worker who lost her …

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So how long before

We see this new supreme court disbanded for daring to criticise?

I didn't see the point of them at first, but this seems to show I might have been wrong.

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I'm not a lawyer but...

I don't understand the logic.

"In future, "the police must give due weight..." That basically means it's OK for the plod to get it wrong once but not in future. If it's wrong from now, what has changed since yesterday?

Law. It's an ass.

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FAIL

She lost her job

because of an accusation?

Anyone got any information on how far this accusation has to go before it's on your record, i.e. say I claimed Gordon Brown had taken inappropriate photos including my daughter (you know, kids in the background of a holiday snap that he refused to delete) and reported this to the police.

Would they check that I had a daughter (actually, I don't)?

Would they get rid of it if I dropped the charge as a case of mistaken identity?

Would they do anything apart from write it down and add it to his record?

I guess it'd make no difference as there's almost certainly a get-out clause for politicians, as in most modern legislation. But it'd be interesting to know just how strong an accusation's evidence would have to be before it'd ruin your life.

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Unhappy

No smoke without fire!

So based on this womans case, it seems all I would need to do to destroy anyones future career prospects is to make an unsubstantiated claim to the police? Maybe do it anonymously through crimestoppers so there is no comeback. I had foolishly assumed that you were still innocent unless proven guilty in the UK.

This basically amounts to a government sanctioned "no smoke without fire" policy and makes me even more glad I have left the UK.

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Innocent unless proven guilty?

I understand that the following quote will irreparably prove my geekhood. The problem is that every time I read one of these articles about just how insane the UK really is, the quote just keeps coming back to the forefront.

Bashir: The trouble with Cardassian enigma tales is that they all end the same way: all the suspects are always guilty.

Garak: Yes! But the challenge is determining exactly who is guilty of what.

Due to the above, I find it increasingly hard not to think of the UK as Cardassia, and Gordon brown as a really inept Dukat.

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Nothing to do with protecting children...

...and much to do with hysteria and ass-covering.

The judgement paints a sad picture of a mother with an out-of-control, petty criminal son who can't even get a job as a dinnerlady. Is she a bad mother? Who can tell. Does this make her a child molester? Use some common sense.

The fact is no-one knows who the next Huntley is going to be, but hysteria is such that no-one is willing to make judgement calls - neither the police nor employers - for fear of being hung out to dry in the meedja.

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Stop

Oh dear

Based on this, I know that my own mother - a loving parent of seven, who would make an excellent nursery nurse/childminder/whatever - would be KB'd from any such work for exactly the same reason as "L". Serious (and unfounded, I might add) allegations of mistreatment were made by her own mother, my grandmother, after they fell out over another matter. It was of course resolved and no action was taken, but you can lay very short odds on the whole episode being recorded and available in detail to anyone requesting an eCRB.

This shit stinks.

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FAIL

Oh hurry up

Just need a few more months for the rest of the world to stabalise (UK is the only advanced??? country still in recession) and i'm out of here quicker than an MPs expense form for there mortage.

Anyone Dutch and want to give me an IT job, i'm a nice guy never been in any trouble with the law (1 parking ticket thats it), was CRB checked many years ago when it meant something and i still feel like a criminal in my own country.

FAIL just for this country and its guberment (not all the people as a lot of them are good friends and family)

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What makes anyone think...

...the Police will take any notice of "guidance" bearing in mind they are already ignoring a EU directive on DNA.

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing to do with justice.

Dig up enough dirt and nobody will be left allowed to care for the children. Just to be clear: That includes parents. The writing about that has been on the wall for a long time, what with even the information commissioner claiming parents have no say in whether underage children may have their fingerprints taken by schools. Likewise, this is technology used to suppress rather than empower us-the-people, and in that sense it is despicable.

The driving force here is another moral panic immortalized in another humongous privacy-destroying database. You know, those things the government is so fond of it keeps on losing the data. There is no defensible point in this scheme.

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@Trevor

It's easy to tell them apart - Gul Dukat was hawt... Gordon Brown is an undifferentiated meatsack with delusions of relevance.

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Unhappy

Despicable

The idea that unsubstantiated accusations can curse someone in this manner is utterly unjust. You also have to have some sympathy for potential employers. What do they do when a CRB check comes up with such a 'positive'? Do they take the risk, real or imagined to employ someone who has had an accusation made and recorded against them?

Imagine an employer does take a view on such a accusation but decides to employ the person anyway. However, a future event, perhaps totally unrelated occurs and the previous 'failure' of the CRB check comes to light. Will that leave them open to claims of negligence for allowing this 'potential' abuser to work? will it invalidate insurances for instance or possibly lead to claims in court? Will the papers scream 'Company X employed potential Nonce, guess what happened next'

Therefore is any employer going to take the risk to employ someone who has 'failed' one of these checks? I doubt it.

Even worse it is my understanding that ALL accusations are recorded and kep,t even those that are believed or proved to be malicious. Ripe for abuse and blackmail is this system. If your halfway smart you can phrase a serious accustaion in such a way as not to appear to be a lie, use phrases like 'i felt that...' or ' i m not sure, but....'. No need for outright direct accusations, just vague generalisations will be enough. Imagine the difficulty the police have of proving that an accusation is malicious even if they believe it is. Better safe than sorry, add the accusation to the system anyway.

You got a neighbour who is a teacher...do they park their car in 'your' space? Are their hedges higher than you would like? Was their last bbq a bit too noisy? Have a quiet word, if they dont comply pop off a quick email or make a phone call to the police voicing your 'concerns'.

Remember, this blackmail/abuse doesnt even have to be used against those work with kids. Even those that dont should live in fear. How long before most businesses start making CRB checks like this as a matter of course?

Britain is swiftly becoming a fascist state, with everyone denouncing and fearing being denounced by their neighbours? Thats how the gestapo and the stasi worked, they investigated denouncements. Everyone is guilty of something.

Some will say we are already there.

I seriously fear shit like this because ANYONE can get caught up in it, innocence is no defence. If you have nothing to hide, you still have something to fear. I imagine that far more innocents will suffer than guilty people prevented from harming kids. I sincerely hope that these supreme justices have the will, power and wisdom to help stem the tide of nonsense like this.

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Anonymous Coward

Everyone should start making complaints..

I think you are entitled to complain to the police you *SUSPECT* a Labour MP is a child molester. A suspicion is not proof, that's why you can get away with it, but following the ISA approach it would permanently bar every MP from coming near a school or other place with children. There is no proof required, after all, and I think it would allow the school system to recover from the relentless onslaught to dumb it down (smart people spot expense abuse sooner).

Hmm, let me see, who else do I dislike. Has anyone complained about Tony Blair yet? Hmm, if this is an oft repeated complaint there might be some truth to it (hint). Would be quite fun to "leak" that when he tries again for the cushy EU president job - I'd rather see Berlusconi there than him (you would at least have something to laugh about, frequently). Oh, and Lord(ing it) Mandelson?

So much choice, so little time..

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FAIL

accusations ruining lives?

'interesting to know just how strong an accusation's evidence would have to be before it'd ruin your life.'

not a lot,

ive been there and now get rejected for work because of an unfounded (and untrue) accusation...

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Anonymous Coward

WTF

Losing your job because of an accusation?

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Big Brother

No surprise

The government has imprisoned people on mere suspicion and accusation without even disclosing evidence, and when that was eventually deemed unacceptable, they simply confined people using Control Orders.

What made anyone think they'd treat the British public any better ?

We're all guilty until proven innocent. All together now ... "If you've got nothing to hide you have nothing to fear".

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Anonymous Coward

@ Anonymous Coward 09:37

No fear of that then.......

'Thats how the gestapo and the stasi worked, they investigated denouncements.'

Can't get thebone idle bastards to investigate any crime, even serious fraud admitted publically. Ex-Home Secretary springs to mind, wonder what the current one is hiding?

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Stop

I believe that the real WTF here

is the fact that there is no way to get these 'accusations', many which would be considered out & out slander / libel if not told to the police / other government jobsworths. If this system has to have these unfounded or unproven details then the subject of the accusation must have methods of getting untrue remarks removed and a way of being awarded damages against their accuser. Anonymous accusations may certainly be investigated by the authorities, but only those accusations stated by someone willing to put their name to the statement should be allowed to influence a persons employment prospects and life.

"Our children are better protected by a rational and balanced scheme than by one that disclosed gossip and rumour without safeguards."

What on earth is rational and balanced about this system. Unsubstantiated tittle-tattle and lies, gleefully recorded by the local police, stay on your record for LIFE! And the record ‘they’ are checking might not even be yours! So who is responsible for destroying someone’s life then? Again there MUST be a procedure for these false reports to be rectified, and a procedure for the authority / section / person who made this mistake to be punished for damaging someone’s reputation. If the results of an eCRB check can be so damaging to both the personal and professional reputation of an innocent, then equally severe punitive measures must be available to redress that hurt.

Our children are now worse off than ever before. The number of males in teaching is at an all time low, the number of community volunteers is dropping weekly, people are frightened of helping a lost / distressed youngster because of the effect that their assistance might have on their lives. And now the state sponsored paradigm is that if you don’t have a clean ISA check then you _must_ be a filthy pedo. All adults are now perverts unless they can _prove_ that they’re not.

The next Ian Huntley will happen. When, I don’t know; where, I don’t know that either. However I am absolutely certain, as I guess most readers are, that it will happen. And, if the ISA is allowed to continue, I am also sure that the next Ian Huntley will have passed his / her eCRB check. After all, you only give access to those you trust don’t you.

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WTF?

Experian - Here we come

I wonder how long it will be before Experian branch out into CRB Checks.

I think the advert would be something like

Need to know are you a pariah of society, want to apply for a job but worried you will fail the CRB test. Let us take the worry out of your job applications. We can do a completely confidential check of your CRB Record without the need to risk applying for a job which you may get turned down for. Special Offer: £500.00

Then will move to...

Been wrongly accused, Is your CRB Record wrong. Are you down as a Pedo when in fact all you did was have sex when you were 15. Has some ex girlfriend made an accusation that you tried to feel her up when you were in bed together. We can help. ring now and for a whooping fee we can tell who made allegations against you and what those allegations where.

We can't have them removed as they are classed as being soft evidence so they shouldn't really be there but we can tell you who it was that pointed the fingers so you can get even.

Ring now - don't delay

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WTF?

Inocent till proven guilty?

That isn't the case anymore in the UK.

The sooner my Visa application come back the better. The mob that run this country become more and more like the Chinesse/Saudi's/ Burmesse each day.

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Unhappy

Gulity until proven, err, Guilty.

Or just plain "Guilty"

Because as far as these CRB checks go, it is impossible to *prove* your innocence, let alone have it assumed until *proven* guilty.

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@Despicable

As I understand it in the old system the CRB gave you the requester the info and it was your decision to employ or not.

In the new system the ISA make the decison for you.

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Linux

Why are you not told about your police record?

I've seen too many stories about law-abiding people failing their Enhanced CRB checks, having been completely unaware damaging information was held on them. The state no longer needs to test the evidence to label you guilty of an offence - every little rumour can be revealed to a future employer on the ground the authorities are "jus' saying".

Why are people not informed when entries are made on their police record and given the opportunity to defend themselves? If the information is disclosed to them when they apply for enhanced clearance, why not straight away?

Is it a little too obvious to suspect that the authorities don't want to deal with the sh*t-storm that would break out if large swathes of the public were informed that they had a de facto criminal record, despite never having come into contact with the police or courts let alone been convicted of an offence?

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"they will not merely fall foul of the Convention [on human rights]...

... but they will rebound to the disadvantage of the very group they are designed to shield, and will undermine public confidence"

Come on, El Reg, we *need* that bear pooping in the trees icon...!

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Big Brother

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear

I have long criticised those sprouting the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mantra as deluded. Permitting state agencies, such as the police, to retain innuendo and downright lies is a gross abuse of power.

This government has trampled over OUR liberties, protecting our children and preventing terrorism since the day it won power. Legislation of which Stalin would have been proud became the order of the day. Then it became more intrusive, and now the early effects are beginning to show.

We MUST begin to protect our rights and liberties, yes, even for those whom we despise. We must protect the innocent and make the police remove lies and innuendo from their records, make them remove innocent people from the PNC and force them to obey the law themselves.

I shall hope that the next government starts to unravel the intrusive and unfair legislation enacted by NuLabour, that surveillance and monitoring will be removed from our lives and that Britain can be reconstructed into the once moral leader of the world.

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FAIL

Individual with a Record

I answer that description.

Falsely accused and with a record held by Police, Social Work, NHS, Local Education Authority and who knows what other bodies.

The fact that I was innocent has no effect on the record. The fact that an Acting Senior Social Worker is, following the "matter" "no longer employed by the Local Authority" ( last seen working as an assistant to a double-glazing fitter) has no effect on the record. The fact that two paediatricians have now left the country has no effect on the record. The fact that a school nurse has been redeployed to another area has no effect on the record. The fact that two of the three teachers in hte school in question are no longer there has no effect on the record. The fact that a wpc has been removed to other duties has no effect on the record.

The fact is that when it comes to "Child Protection" matters once a "concern" has been laundered by a "professional" it acquires the status of fact and the individual about whom the "concern" has been expressed is deemed guilty. Whether or not the individual is successfully nailed by the system at the time does not affect that the fact that he or she is deemed guilty. Some groups are largely exempt from this risk -- those within the Child "Protection" system. So teachers, social workers, police officers and doctors are at much less likely to be classed as abusers because they are part of the system and therefore allegations against them are much less likely to be passed on at all.

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