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back to article Headteachers slam 'disproportionate' vetting database

Yet more bad news for the government’s vetting and barring scheme, which went live in October of this year. Head teachers today condemned it as bureaucratic and unlikely to guarantee the safety of those it is meant to protect. Meanwhile, claims that the scheme is the best solution on offer due to extensive and carefully thought- …

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Black Helicopters

Good plan

All school children over 16 need to be vetted.

Raise school leaving age to 18.

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Flame

Errr... What now?

"Ian Huntley was not working with the girls he murdered: his partner was."

"... the vetting database will specifically exclude the vetting of 'other adults' in a household."

So we're still in the same situation we were before Mr Huntley caused this uproar, only with allegations appearing on CRB checks ("soft" information) and everyone who works with children being put on a database, at their own expense, with little to no actual benefits? Yeah, that certainly *sounds* like nu-labour policy.

How do members of the public bring about a vote of No Confidence?

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Anonymous Coward

yeah

"The fact that the ISA continue to instance the case of Ian Huntley in support of their work might therefore be considered in some quarters to be little more than cynical spin"

Yeah but the kind of dribbling idiots and thought control fascists that want everyone bagged and tagged believe in this kind of drivle (they either believe it becouse they're dribbling idiots, or believe it will let them do what they want becouse the dribbling idiots support it.)

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People Need To Learn

This database and all those CRB checks and the like are *not* about protecting anybody other than the national authorities. They are a horribly expensive arse covering excercise.

The government and civil service (more or less one and the same thing with our current administration) are desperate to avoid being blamed for anything and they see these databases as being a way to achieve that. Somebody abuses a vulnerable person and the powers that be can say that they did everything they could. They continue to be terrified of being blamed so the measures will only get stricter and stricter as they continue to try to protect themselves from blame.

And of course there is the matter that if anybody complains about these measures they must be a child molester or at least a dangerous subversive.

The three mantra's of NuLabour:

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

If you're not with us, you're against us.

We were acting in good faith.

The first is used to justify the implementation of a new database. The second to quash reasonable debate. The third is the excuse when the system turns out to be in breach of human rights laws or does nothing to protect those it was supposed to protect, or the shit hits the fan in any other way.

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Chickins...

As all EU countries have now signed up to Lisbon there is a very simple way to have this idiotic legislation disbanded.

The EU charter of human rights which is part of Lisbon states clearly that the "right to be innocent until proven guilty" is a fundamental human right. So the vetting law as well as the HS laws have now effectively become illegal as they automatically brand you as guilty until you volunteer to apply for the government to prove your innocence.

All that it takes is a test case. However all these venerable institutions are basically henhouses, full of chickins. They do not want to be seen as using the nasty EU wolf to beat up some sense into British Law (as formulated by Joseph Vissarionovich Brown and Vladimir Ilich Blair) with a EU cluebat. And they should.

Chickins... Chickining out...

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Silver badge

I think the head teachers are missing the point

Head teachers today condemned it as bureaucratic and unlikely to guarantee the safety of those it is meant to protect.

The database is meant to protect officials. In which job it will do a good job.

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Bronze badge

agreed

Agree with the headteachers. There is so much stigma and hassle around volunteering to work with young people at the moment it just puts people off.

This idea that the State can regulate every interaction between adults and children is madness, it will end up with more suspicion and less interaction between the generations, causing more problems, not fewer.

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We all remember Huntly, but...

...the real risk to children is more likely at home than at school, from strangers. By running around with their heads of fire screaming 'we must protect the children' and then instituting daft over-engineered vetting schemes, the Govt distracts from the real risk. Better to run a huge advertising campaign to say: here are the signs that your child might be being abused: changes in personality, secretiveness, over-eagerness to please, bed-wetting, physical changes such as bruising or blood,...etc'. For every murderous Huntly, there are two dozen dads or boyfriends (and yes, mothers or girlfriends, but mostly as accomplices) or vicars or priests who are making life hell on earth for some children.

Having alert staff at schools with the time to check up on adults in the building, sensible security to and from school and so on offers good protection. Simple record-checking vetting procedures would merely be another line of defence.

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Stop

Think of the...

...teachers.

Quite.

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Title

Sledge hammer met nut, nut sledge hammer. This will do more harm than good, depriving child and people in need form the help and support they need. I bet the back log alone will manage this.

Another crazy idea by them in power, if only i was a banker i would have something nice to say about them.

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Anonymous Coward

"It is also worth reminding you that Ian Huntley might well not have been exposed by the CRB system"

It's also worth reminding them that there's no evidence that this or any other knee-jerk, media prompted, "won't somebody think of the children" measure has made any difference to the number of abuse cases.

Actually, to be fair, I do expect the current legislation to make a difference to the number of abuse cases in the future. I expect the number to increase as children find they have fewer role models to turn to as the voluntary sector takes a massive dive.

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Flame

but it's *supposed* to work this way

The funniest thing about this fisaco, is hearing weaseling politicians (Ed Balls being the worst of them) trying to act as though this was an unintended consequence of the act.

It is not. The act is working *exactly* as it's been designed to. With the result that the anomalies predicted (by El Reg amongst others) are now coming home to roost.

The "review" (which will be lost in the pre-election maelstrom) will confirm this, although I suspect the government will emphasize a innocuous phrase where the review suggests that "discretion" and "proportionality" are encouraged.

It's like the anti-terror laws. They are doing *exactly* what they are intended to do ... no question of "unintended consequences".

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It is cynical spin

What is the "More" to which your article refers? I can only see the reference to Ian Huntley by these people as a cynical ploy. In short the *one* real person parent will *presume* this scheme would protect their kiddie winkies from would get a free pass.

Perhaps the review might also place a more accurate figure on just how many people will be in the net as a result of this profit. 11 million @ £64 ea. is £704m.

Is that *really* what it will cost to run this scheme?

thumbs up for the report and the hope that Singleton will shed some light in the darkness.

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FAIL

Language use...

In the article the phrase: "midday meals supervisors" appears. Presumably this means: "dinner ladies". But we aren't allowed to use the classic term.

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FAIL

Another quality decision

"The Independent Safeguarding Authority requires any adults who have regular, frequent or intensive access to children to register with them, at a one-off fee of £64 – although volunteers will be able to register free."

My wife has a part time position giving respite care allowing the parents of a child with profound disabilities to go about looking after their able bodied, active youngest daughter or anything else they need to do. As she would doubtless point out, even the most skilled and experienced child carers earn damn all. Is charging them £64 before they can start work likely to do anything about the shortage of carers available or materially improve child safety ? 60% of families where a child has a disability are on or below the poverty line.....Are they expected to pay this charge ?

Remember the perp in Soham ? He'd been CRB'd but had a record as long as your arm....

Expensive arse covering of the first order.....Another quality decision from our besuited dishonourable tossers.

Fail, cos this is going to fail some desperate families.

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Anonymous Coward

*sigh*

"Remember the perp in Soham ? He'd been CRB'd but had a record as long as your arm...."

yes indeed he had, he didn't have a record though, he had not been convicted of any crime. Also and more importantly he wouldn't be included in this scheme becouse HE WAS THE PARTNER OF THE WOMAN THAT WORKED WITH CHILDREN.

However other then that amazing daft part I agree with your comment.

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Indeed, yes

"The school leaders believe that the results of the scheme will be largely negative. There will be reduced parent volunteer support in schools, as well as difficulties in obtaining emergency support staff such as plumbers, heating engineers and midday meals supervisors."

And indedd, yes, we have beenn led by both NuLabour and the media into believing in being afraid, a war of paranoia if you like.

I do not doubt that there is evil out there in the wild world, I do believe the media feeds the paranoia of fear.

The whole point being, actual paedo cases last year were less than .001% of ALL criminal convictions, I do not point this out as a defence, however armed robbery offences outnumbered child sex offences by an order of many magnitudes.

The media has played on our repugnance for for child related offences,(and rightly so,IMHO), but in doing so has led in many cases to the trivialisation of many other heinous crimes, of which yhe going rate I'm led to believe, of rape is , if convicted, only equal to 1 year, armed robbery=3, aggravated burglary=6,murder=10, yet speeding at 34 in a 30 mph zone = the possibility of 6 months.

It is also about time the judicial system got real, in the same vein, as which we, as a populace, elect these power addicted MP's to make and pass laws in our name.

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disproportionate to risk

Those are three words that sum up just about everything that Labour has done. Throwing money and resources at problems which are very rare, while stitching up the majority who get squeezed for ever greater taxes.

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Who needs to register?

"The fine print behind these terms is currently under review, but at present, guidance suggests that any individual who has contact with a particular class of vulnerable people – not necessarily the same individuals – three or more times in any three month period will need to be registered."

Every police force worker, then....

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"little more than cynical spin."

Better known a lying.

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Anonymous Coward

The only way...

It doesn't matter what the outcome of a low level 'check' will show, the outcome of consultancy on the matter, the Labour government has and will continue to ride roughshod through any negative comments of *their* system.

I predict the only way to get rid of this stupid nonsense is for the thing to cause so much harm to society, to be so cumbersome to run to be almost unworkable, then and only then might the government back down.

We've seen this before, look at IR35. Predicted to be a mess by a multitude of organisations, described before it came into existance as "unworkable" and indeed it has turned out to be so, but yet the government continues with it.

Why? Because they're too embarassed to admit they got things wrong. "We're the government, we never get things wrong." They fear that by admitting failure they will be seen to be truely incompetent, which as we all know, they are anyway.

Commonsense? When has any left wing Labour government been sensible?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC - it's supposed to work this way

I feel you are quite correct. Look at immigration, all these unintended consequences, accidents that keep happening, various large numbers of immigrants overlooked, not followed up, repeatedly portrayed as a coc*-up; turns out, that 10 years ago the plan was officially put together to allow them in in large numbers.

The immigration system is working exactly as the Labour government designed it to work, it's working exactly as they want. But for 10 years they couldn't state what their official behind the scenes policy was, they had to hide it, because they knew it was wrong, they knew the public would never agree to it. So they kept it quiet, but how else could the explain that large numbers of immigrants were getting in and staying in the country, so they had to explain things away as ''accidents', 'mistakes'.

And so I feel it is with these databases, vetting procedures.

The fact is, the government has the financial resources to spend on experts to assess all sides of the coin, to assess the impact a new process will have, to look at the benefit, to look at the consequences of introduction of that process/technology will have.

It was even official number 10 policy that before any new laws/rules were introduced that would have a significant effect on a section of industry that an impact assessment be carried out.

I am sure the government has already considered the impact of what these vetting procedures are and they've decided to disregard them.

But given the outcry that is now taking place they have to be seen to be responding to that outcry, it would be inappropriate not to listen to the true experts, the teachers and the organisations that represent them. To ignore such high profile bodies would be foolish, particularly so in the run up to the election.

So the government is bound to promise a review, a check, but it will come to nothing.

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Silver badge

@Good plan

That already came up where I used to live.

They were creating a super-mega-intensive-educational-academy-facilty (I think we used to call them schools) which put a secondary school with a 6th form on the same site as a junior school.

The idea was to share facilities and save costs.

But it meant any A-level students that reached 18 would have to be checked because there were also 10year olds on the same site.

The proposed solution was then to duplicate all the facilities and put a barbed wire fence down the middle to separate them.

In the end the plan was abandoned because of the fears of parents for the safety of their children.

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Coat

The British Government Must Think You're All A Bunch of ...

The British Government must think you're a nation of paedophiles to think this kind of policing is necessary.

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FAIL

They might do

But I suspect this is just a case of them looking in the mirror, or around the cabinet office

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Anonymous Coward

Governments are meant to work for the people

But, of course they are taking an over authoritarian stance on nearly everything, and we are hurtling dictatorship.

Interestingly, it is true, if you have nothing to hide, you have everything to fear.

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FAIL

School's don't have a clue either!

I work in a school, and i specifically asked the person previously in charge of CRB checks what the position was on 6th formers. She didn't know and has apparently spent the last few weeks trying to find out... No body seems to know!

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Stop

Repeals?

It is interesting and completely scary to note that, so far, not a single opposition party has stated any plan to repeal very many of Nu Labours draconian law-givings. In fact, with all of this silence going on, one can only assume that whichever brand of government wins the next General Election will continue to pass equally bad legislation.

Passing laws because of "... if it saves one <fill in the blank> it will be worth it" is severely flawed thinking and no basis for passing sweeping legislation to replace common sense. It makes for a nation that is very uncomfortable to live in - it makes for making an assumption of guilt to replace the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. We are all criminals unless proven otherwise.

How the hell did we ever get here?

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Silver badge

One good thing about database' is GIGO

I opted out of Labour's database privacy invading Britain by emigrating.

The only good thing about all this mismanaged British government computerisation is that the users (government) are so myopically convinced it works that feeding Garbage In really does result in Gospel Out. The added bonus is that they are so inept with implementation.

And I am dedicated in furthering their misplaced belief.

Since the UK uses linked databases it follows that updated incorrect data ripples through the others. Another country whose passport I use employed purposely unlinked database, for reasons of privacy, and to stop civil servants from rummaging through them looking for data. They must be effective as the police complain about them. It takes very much more work to fill these databases with inaccurate data.

If people only knew what data government has on them they would be much, much more noisy about privacy stripping activities by the authorities.

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RW
Flame

What about the insane health and safety establishment, then?

Much the same: Big Brother (via his tentacles in local councils) runs around forbidding this, that, and the other on the grounds "someone might get hurt". It's another example of totally disproportionate response since (afaict) many of the H&S-forbidden activities have no record of anyone getting hurt, ever, at all.

Downsides: large useless bureaucracy that costs God only knows how much — a luxury a bankrupt nation can hardly afford; destruction of long-standing traditional ways of life (no three-legged races, no egg salad sandwiches, etc); and, last but far from least, so much crying "Wolf! Wolf!" that no one can tell the difference between a real threat to health or safety and a fake one.

Rather like the decay of the British police, once admired worldwide, now a laughing stock: the cops are so busy persecuting people for dropping candy wrappers and taking snapshots that they haven't time to deal with murders, armed robberies, and other serious crimes.

My own impression is that NuLabour's mindset is that a collectivist utopia is possible, if only they pass enough social-engineering laws and thereby create The New British Man (along the lines of Rhe New Soviet Man).

Another possibility, not exclusive of the preceding, is that the H&S establishment is staffed with a bunch of chicken littles who want to make life a padded wonderland where everything is just wonderful and nothing negative ever intrudes onto the scene. Well, get a grip, you jerks: life isn't perfect and never will be. And kids need to get a few cuts, bruises, skinned knees, stubbed toes, and, yes, broken bones if they're to be given a reasonable amount of freedom.

Bunch of fucking Bolshevists, if you ask me — and not very smart ones at that.

Or maybe, as someone else has proposed, they know what they're doing and they're getting the results they want. But if that's the case, then clearly NuLabour is not governing in the best interests of the country as a whole.

PS: They're liars, too, starting with Toady Tony and going right through the ranks to Gargoyle Broon and Lord Mendacious and Ed No-balls-at-all. Why anyone would stand for election under the discredited aegis of NuLabour is beyond me. Who wants to associate with deliberate liars?

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@My New Handle

"How the hell did we ever get here?"

Thatcher's legacy hurts eh? Oh how we laughed.

British Government - enemy of the people since 1979.

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The real reasons behind this idiocy

It's easy to accuse people (particularly politicians) of evil motives, but the reality is much sadder than that. These idiotic attempts to centrally control and administer human relationships are invented with the best possible intentions by narrow minded inhuman zombies drawn from the same population as the rest of us.

We have a culture in which competition and aggressiveness dominate and are lauded - in which everyone is expected to exploit or be exploited (in many cases, both). As a result we have poor social cohesion (i.e. nobody much cares about anyone else) and trust is difficult to establish.

The optimum solution to this would be to encourage people to take responsibility for each other within the community (as indeed was done in the not too distant past). That would help people learn again to care and trust, but it's a slow process that takes much longer than the life of a government. It would also entail some dismantling of "consumer culture" that would be resisted hand over fist by the "marketplace". For proof, just look at the attitude of bankers to bonus limitation.

Because government always seeks "quick wins", the alternative that comes most readily to mind is to legislate for control. It doesn't achieve the ostensible objective, but that doesn't matter. It does achieve another objective - a sense of having taken decisive action.

The really sad part is that impersonal rule-based attempts at regulation of social and personal interactions (all the way from "political correctness" to this prospective debacle) undermine the opportunities of ordinary people to learn to fend for themselves by making sound individual judgements based on caring. Just as when pocket calculators became commonplace the skill of mental arithmetic was largely abandoned, people are already relying on database-derived rubber stamps of personal probity rather than paying attention and using their intuition to decide for themselves who is OK and who is creepy. This legislation will only exacerbate the trend.

To anticipate the counter-argument - yes, in the absence of the legislation there would be the occasional accident. That's very sad but unavoidable in life, and there's absolutely no warranty that in its presence their number will be fewer. The regulation of trust is itself no guarantee of safety. Quite the opposite - it will in the long term make people more vulnerable to the abuses it is attempting to control. The worst possible condition (to which we are being inexorably driven by increasing centralised rule-based administration of human relations) is to be physically alive and still at risk but emotionally dead, believing our safety lies in responding as automata to standard stimuli, whether commercial triggers to empty our wallets or social triggers to trust or not trust because a database entry tells us to. To quote Benjamin Franklin "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety and will lose both".

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Wait til your kid wants to do a language exchange

One of my children will be participating in a french exchange programme this year and his school has written to parents informing us we will need to be CRB checked so the French pupil can stay.

So it looks like all parents of school age kids will be CRB checked and, presumably, over the course of generation, that's mean every parent - a significant proportion of the Citizenry - will be checked and on the database. I'm sure this is just another an intended consequence.

Or maybe its a plan to further arrest the learning of those nasty foreign languages and will reduce the impact of not being able to find checked language teachers. Anyway, much better Brits should continue the proud tradition of shouting a bit louder and stick 'o' on the end of words when overseas. It's tactic that's worked for centuries and has meant that Johnny Foreigner has had to learn Inglish.

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