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back to article Council backs down on CRB checking grown-up lecturers

Caerphilly County Borough Council has today backed down from its demands that performers and authors be CRB-checked before getting on stage in front of a grown-up audience. The climbdown after a phone call from El Reg asking exactly how much protection an audience of grownups interested in Medieval murder mysteries really …

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Gold badge
FAIL

Did'nt they have a rather nasty childrens home sex scandal.

Oh, might have been some other Welsh council. It's difficult to tell them apart.

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Paris Hilton

Sanctions schmanctions

"Ultimately, if a Registered Body continues to request such checks, the CRB can impose sanctions on them including suspending their registration, or even deregistration."

No - I think there should be a register of Registered Bodies who have abused their registration powers.

Paris, because many people have registered her body.

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Big Brother

The Home Office also responded...

... saying "Stop making our regulations look stupid! (Even though they are)"

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid?!

There's nothing stupid about checking that people who work with children and vulnerable adults haven't been convicted of child-abuse or possession of child pornography! There's loads of stupid laws, but this isn't one of them.

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Flame

RE: Stupid?

"There's nothing stupid about checking that people who work with children and vulnerable adults haven't been convicted of child-abuse or possession of child pornography!"

I totally agree with you, if they were _only_ checking for convictions. Unfortunately it's in reality much more about gossip, unfounded/unproven allegations and even if you're cleared in court, it will stay on your record. They call this 'soft intelligence'. Are you really telling me this is not stupid??

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FAIL

re: re: stupid

Except of course it does not check for convictions of "child-abuse or possession of child pornography". It checks for convictions/warnings/cautions for ANYTHING, no matter how relevant, recent or serious. It then leaves it to the organisation applying for the CRB to determine what is relevant, recent or serious. And often of course the organisation does what any organization would do, it covers its own collective behind and determines that anything on a CRB constitutions a fail.

The intent behind the law to prevent predators preying on children isn't stupid, but this is a stupid law, stupidly applied by stupid people.

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FAIL

It would make more sense

If you INSIST on this charade, if it was done once, and the results held centrally / updated as necessary, rather than the current system that if a volunteer with a brand new CRB wants to help out down the road in a different location they have to go through the whole expensive exercise again.

Little or no apparent protection, a lot of revenue earning, and fostering a culture of distrust and accusation between adults and children.

Dumb kneejerk legislation as a result of "The Authorities" not doing their job properly under previous legislation.

Bell-ends

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Yes, Stupid, I reckon

The trouble is, CRB checks wouldn't have found Ian Huntley. They wouldn't have found most people convicted of paedophilia because most of them happen to be within the family. CRB checks on the other hand are leading to an escalating level of 'risk management' which is affecting all of us. The presumption of guilt means that innocent teachers, care workers and others are being forced from their jobs and careers as a result of suspicion, sometimes based on malicious or confused allegations by children. You may reckon that if it saves one child's life, it's worth it - BUT how many ruined careers, how many broken families with children taken into care away from innocent parents justify each potentially saved life? And don't forget, there is as yet no evidence whatsoever that CRB has saved or will save a single life. This is a new raft of laws imposed purely to give the appearance of protection. They made 1570 errors in the last year to March. That is not all the errors - only the ones picked up. What percentage of the devastated lives does it represent?

So yes, very stupid indeed. A bureaucrat's response. Hitler would have been proud of it.

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Thumb Down

Agree with SirTainley

The current legislation would require a visiting author or whatever to obtain a CRB check for *EACH* of the organizations they would visit. That's really ONE PER School, Library, Adult Education Center etc. And each would take s number of weeks to obtain, and cost the organization money.

One wonders whether there would be a loyalty scheme, whereby if you collect a CRB for all of the schools in an education region, you get a Library or two thrown in for free. This is the farce. CRB Bingo anyone! (do you shout House! or possibly School! when you have them all)

My wife at one time held three CRB checks one for her job, and one each for two different schools. Each had to apply separately. Anybody who thinks that this is rational clearly isn't.

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Silver badge
Megaphone

I Call Godwin!

What do I win?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I Call Godwin!

You win a God.

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FAIL

Stupid!!

Yes, stupid.

This doesn't just "check for convictions" (which is sensible) it relies on gossip, innuendo and unfounded and unproven (and possibly malicious) accusations.

Consider for a moment what would happen if you worked with kids and someone (as a sick and ill-advised "joke") sent you a copy of one of those cartoons of Lisa Simpson engaged in sexual activity (which, of course, are soon to be illegal) and your supervisor or a parent saw it on your laptop or phone and reported it. That would be "significant information" as far as this law is concerned and could result in you losing your job and being banned from ever working with "vulnerable groups" again, even though you have never and would never harm a child.

Meanwhile someone like Vanessa George who was taking photos of children in the Devon Nursery where she worked would have been considered "safe" until such time as she was actually caught and convicted.

*That* is what is so stupid about another pointless, knee-jerk, "something must be done" piece of legislation from a clueless Government.

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Happy

Won't someone

think of the parents!

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Anonymous Coward

How about....

...some 'corporate policies' on common sense?!

I know both a social worker and a librarian - both very genuine dedicated people - with decades of service behind them. In both cases they can fairly be said to have built up the services they provide *despite* their employers rather than because of them, often with substantial amounts of unpaid overtime. They're both quitting because they are sick to death of the culture of political correctness, jobs and contracts for the boys, and management by bullying.

To be told they needed to submit to CRB checks, to continue to work in jobs they'd devoted their lives to, was not in fact the last straw. BUT... the nature of the information held in those records most certainly was, as they were led to understand that every bit of innuendo, rumour and anonymous gossip might well follow them forever. The social worker was even cautioned by a colleague that resigning on principle might simply "arouse more suspicion" !!

At this rate, how long before - either by way of resignation on principle or being hounded out by any streetwise kid shouting "abuse!" - we simply have no teachers, librarians, left? Leaving the field open for .... whom?

I regard myself as a normal decent chap. But these days I wouldn't touch with a bargepole any job involving children - it's just not worth the candle any more.

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So what happens

What happens when a new paedophile with no history gets a CRB pass........ CRB just another excuse for more govt control over lives.

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Alert

What happens?

Don't you think that has happened already? Of course it has.

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Unhappy

Will nobody think of the vulnerable adults?

The audience could be full of them.

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WTF?

Wtf?

""Unfortunately, the Corporate guidelines have been set in place for a reason.""

And the reason is that some twat never got round to thinking -- but the Powerpoint presentation looked wonderful.

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Hopefully

Jecks and Knight will choose not to appear as a subtle way of saying "Stuff it"

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Thumb Up

yes...

but sadly it seems unlikely.

Although I'll happily eat my hat if they don't turn up :)

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Not turn up?

So now that the council has apologised and backed down, two authors on limited incomes should cut off their income AND deprive the audience which was keen to meet them of their talks? I can't see how that would help anyone. No, Bernard and I will go, to show that there is no need for these petty, stupid, intrusive and ill-thought-out regulations. I really don't see any benefit to anyone in authors not going to give talks!

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Boffin

Wolves in sheep's clothing

It's not the children you need to be worried about in Wales.

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Welcome

Vunerable

Vunerable Adults - Does that mean everyone at a Star Trek convention?

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Middle aged Middle Agers

I would expect this in darkest Kansas <shudder>, not the UK. What are coming to?

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Stop

Vulnerable Adults (And Children) In Caerphilly

It seems obvious that every adult (and child) in or visiting Caerphilly is vulnerable to (having little or no defense against) the stupidity and petty-mindedness of the officials of Caerphilly County Borough Council . These fools can have a very real and sometimes tragic effect on the lives of ordinary people.

Hence, any such group of people, with so much power over others, should be subject to CRB checks if they wish to remain in their appointed posts.

I'm sure they will understand this and apply for CRB checking very soon.

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Unhappy

Sorry Elmer....

"Unfortunately, the Corporate guidelines have been set in place for a reason." The powerpoint presentation was good and now we can engage more people and do less real work if we follow this up. That it wastes taxpayers money and time is not our fault. We were only following orders - badly.

Unfortunately, the malign bastards did think - about the payroll vote and the organograms. They just don't have the wit or the balls to not do it.

This nonsense is just like ID cards/database. They're obviously wrong in so many and sufficient ways for 'Normal' taxpayers to see but we're not 'on message' so we speak the wrong language to be heard clearly. If we SHOUT! we'll be accused of bullying the poor mites, FFS. An election wont solve this problem. It is now a cultural issue and none of the political parties are addressing it.

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Troll

I wonder what they have to hide...

hmmm?

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FAIL

"Corporate guidelines"

"Unfortunately, the Corporate guidelines have been set in place for a reason."

And like most Corporate guidelines, were made up by someone whose 2 seconds of thought came up with "CRB everything just in case" instead of applying thee seconds of thought and coming up with a policy that actually helped protect children.

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Happy

@Ian 45

"What happens when a new paedophile with no history gets a CRB pass........ CRB just another excuse for more govt control over lives."

Simple. Whoever employs them can say "But *all* the CRB checks came back negative. We did the best we can and basically it's *not* our fault."

Which is *exactly* what this system was *designed* to do. Allow employers to state they had doen all they could to stop any harm, but the person had a bit of paper that said they were alright.

In the process scrapping a very large number of people who either not quite (apparently) perfect or who refuse to have their whole lives studied (or destroyed) because they do not *precisely* conform to some civil servants idea of what a perfect staff member *should* look like.

Remember the question El Reg asked Childline? 13 calls about employed staff physically or sexually abusing children in their care, 56000 about abuse in the family or by close family friends.

That rushing sound you hear is the flood of water as *all* those officials wash their hands of *any* responsability.

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CRB

Since a CRB check has to be done for every "employer" at the moment it's going to take several weeks and cost them £20 each.

(new vetting and barring is not in force yet)

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Anonymous Coward

Criminal offence

The Police Act 1997, which introduced CRB checks, made it a criminal offence to apply for a CRB check where the post concerned is not of the kind specified by law. The offence is punishable by six months' imprisonment.

I look forward to the arrest of these local authority employees on charges of conspiracy and incitement to breach s.123 of the Act.

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Gold badge
Stop

Medieval blockbusters.

"...my next book is to have a great deal about Caerphilly castle..."

I wouldn't mind betting that whatever he writes next will have a fair deal about Caerphilly County Borough Council in it. Probably mostly written in Anglo-Saxon too.

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Grenade

One way of stopping dissent

Its not stretching the imagination too far, is it, to see how this type of approach could be used to stop any kind of public meeting? I mean, how would your local extremist, (anti nuclear protester, green campaigner, etc) be able to get CRB checked under these regulations? This could mean the effective end of (public) free speech!

Or am I just being paranoid?

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Flame

Just because you're paranoid

Don't mean the bas- ain't out to get you!

You shouldn't have posted that, you'll give the feeble minded cock ends ideas

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Thumb Down

Send the officials to jail!

What these officials have done is called "Misconduct in a Public Office." They should be paid a visit by the Boys in Blue. There is a suitable explanation on the Crown Prosecution Service Website.

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Joke

I really think

they should look into this more caerphilly.

I'll leave now.

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