back to article A quarter of UK adults to go on child protection database

“The death of informality”. That was how Josie Appleton, convenor of the Manifesto Club, described the results of the second government consultation on the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The ISA is the child of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. From next year, all those who wish to work, either paid or …

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  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Unhappy

    How?

    How can they vet people? Are they going to independently collect information on the millions who interact with children? Are they just going to trust the information that each applicant provides? Are the standards for interacting with someone else's children for a few hours in public going to be any "higher" than the standards for looking after your own children 24/7 in private?

    If they banned families and instead insisted that all children be handed over to properly qualified social workers at birth, then at least *that* would be intellectually honest.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Hmmm...

    Whilst I don't disagree with the principals of the idea, our government holding yet more of our personal information in some Whitehall database seems like a bad idea to me...

  3. Nomen Publicus
    Pirate

    More broken ideas?

    What exactly is the problem being solved here?

    Are there baby eating monsters on the prowl on every street, in every building, behind every good intention?

    All of these daft schemes have little or no effect, so the obvious fix is to have MORE daft schemes in the hope that something, anything will work.

    But we are left with all these broken ideas and rules that MUST be obeyed, even when they are useless for the job they were created for.

    This is security as a religion!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disingenuous

    Why do they need to store the data once they've evaluated it?

    Here's my details, do I pass or not? Yes, good, thank-you, <delete>

  5. John Imrie
    Unhappy

    Band from a Job for being 'weird'

    OK this is not so good for us Geeks, however I do see a plus side.

    Any one who wants to be a Politician is defiantly weird. Therefor this should instantly ban all MP's and potential MP's as children visit the House of Commons

  6. Tim

    A great sentiment, but...

    Who is going to save us from all the knife-wielding teenagers? Is part of the vetting process a training session on "how to wear a stab jacket" or "acheiving the perfect foetal position to prevent boot-blows to the head"?

    is there a register of all the kids who aren't allowed near adults cos they are mental?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Criminal>--------------------<Innocent

    I redux my comment from the earlier story, the gap widens to now include punishing people who are not yet vetted as non criminal.

    Criminal>--------------------<Innocent

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/04/organised_crime_law/comments/#c_237455

  8. Stuart Gray

    So its goodbye to Scouting

    The Boys Brigade, Church Lads and their ilk. All that will be left will be "yoof clubs" run by paid members of the social Services. And of course, we know they are ALL trustworthy - just ask children's home residents in Jersey...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The Big Brother (not that one) gravy train rolls on

    Doubtless there'll be a big fat PFI for some company to make a hash of before (if ever) this goes live, while the Goverment gets to make yet another policy announcement that's of bugger all use in the real world.

    And now, I ask you all to join me in a moment's remembrance of growing up in the not-so-distant past, when you got a "stranger danger" talk and were left to get on with it, wiithout living in umpteen layers of cotton wool and desperate fear of a largely illusory paedophile menace...

  10. Tony Humphreys
    Black Helicopters

    Dicators and their databases

    Thats it - no more, bye bye. WTF is it with this communist dictatorship and databases.

    I'm off to a country where I can go an hour without being watched and recorded, one where a burglary is treated higher than a speeder on a phone.

    Somewhere which has more freedom than here - China perhaps!

    Canada's forms are already downloaded and filled in!

  11. Gareth
    Joke

    Great, now only /really/ enthusiastic people will be able to get near kids!

    Good job all those working parents and busy people won't be able to volunteer to get near my kids any more thanks to this red tape barrier - thankfully that middle aged loner who lives in his mum's basement will have plenty of free time to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops. Seems enthusiastic enough to want to pay £65 for the privilege too.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a joke and not a funny one!

    I've never been convicted of anything or even been stopped by the police but I will withdraw from voluntary work if this goes through. I will not be treated like a criminal in order to help the government be seen to be doing something.

    "We must do something, this is something, therefore we must do it".

  13. Mark

    Parents too?

    They work unpaid with children.

    Theirs.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Research

    "We are not aware of any research that suggests this scheme is likely to harm volunteering overall"

    Do you really need research to know that having to place yourself under scrutiny, fill in forms, wait for results and risk the possible embaressement if some correct/incorrect piece of information means you fail? Certainly it may be useful to get a view on how much it would impact as a counter arguement point, but it is a no brainer that it will.

    Personally, I have considered helping out with my daughters scout group, but there is no way I am going to send my details to the government to scrutinize me beforehand (and I have no reason to consider I would fail the check). How long before it becomes 'peados like children, people volountering to work with children like children, people voluntering to work with children could be peados, flag everyone in the database as a potential peado!'

  15. Joe K

    Its PAEDO-GEDDON!

    Doesn't the sex offenders register cover this?

    Or is this just a "lets put everyone in and rate them on the nonce-o-meter" database?

    If so most of us are fucked. As a single IT worker in my 30's i'm sure some algorithm would rate me high up the Glitter-pole and not let me near a school if its network needs an admin.

    Lucky i hate kids then.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Not this again!

    >"A rather different issue is just who will be barred from employment. The database will monitor those who are “judged to be a risk”. However “expert” the basis for this judgment, there is the suspicion that this may introduce either a subjective element – or be based on a statistical technique not unlike credit scoring."

    Oh FFS, haven't we learned yet? It's easy to tell who's guilty and who isn't just by looking at them, and if you have any difficulty at all, there's always the scientific test: if they weigh the same as a duck, they're a pedophile.

    <sigh> When did the main purpose of the law and society become protecting pathetic cowards from their own imaginary fears?

  17. Tony
    Thumb Down

    I used to work with children

    I was a school governor and previously had been a volunteer youth worker. I also provided transport facilities for disabled. As a result, I used to get vetted by the CRB on a fairly regular basis - none of the agencies would talk to each other and the police got fed up of seeing my name appear on the applications.

    So from that point of view, it might be a good thing.

    However, I would not be happy about the cost - a tax on volunteering. They say that they will waive the fee, but we've heard this before. There have been previous occasions where the fee had to be paid and then reclaimed. There have also been occasions when the criteria for getting fees waived were so complex, no-one was able to qualify.

    OK, I can afford the fee - but why should I? I currently travel to perform a much needed civic task once a month and it costs me just under £20 each time - for which I get all the tea I can drink and biscuits I can eat in 90 minutes, but I will never get a penny of my travel costs back.

    Also from previous experience, the CRB checks were a joke. Often they would take months, and on more than one occasion, they lost the paperwork and the application should have had to be re-submitted. Instead they allowed it after a simple phone call. One teacher at the school was working whist waiting for the check to come back for almost 7 months.

    And of course, it's yet more public money to be spent on something that probably won't achieve it's main goal and may well fail before it is even completed. And of course, what will happen if they make a mistake. A colleague had to give up voluntary work; his surname was similar to a minor criminal and as a result, the CRB failed his application. He gave up trying to get it corrected - it wasn't worth the effort.

    Perhaps it would make more sense if the politicos stopped trying to find new things to "fix" and sorted out some of the more important issues first.

  18. Andrew Barr
    Stop

    So what are CRB checks needed for?

    I have to fill in multiple CRB documents, so I have one for the Cricket Team I captain, one for a school that I visit, one for a different school that I visit. I hope the new system covers all jobs/positions, rather than having multiple certificates.

    How are they going to vet people, self certification of course !!!

  19. RichardB

    So naturally extending this

    Surely you must be on the list to be an active parent - or indeed a sibling, cousin, aunt or even a godparent?

    Presumably this also extends to the clergy?

  20. stranger on the road
    Thumb Down

    what is wrong with the west?

    If you ever make a mistake you will be added into a database that will _never_ forget what you did!. Even if you do grow out of your habits or the people you offended did indeed forgive you, the database will still remember what you did? And now this database is going to be accessed by organisations *other* then law enforcement?

    come-on people, will the future parents be more concerned of whether their child made hi/her name into some "database" then the actual teaching their child to know what is right and what is wrong?

    Actually it sound more like the parents should be worried about themselves being added into the database if what they teach to their children something that conflict with the governments views!

    Parents stopped being parents sometime ago, and now they are just the bill payers in the house and they expect the government to teach and raise their children for them. I think this is what is truly wrong with the west now.

    P.S. English is not my first language, so forgive the grammar or ignore my post

  21. Dave
    Unhappy

    I wonder

    I wonder just how many more children are killed each year by motorists speeding in residential areas or near schools? Something like 400 kids a year in this country die in this sort of manner. This appears to be somewhat more than the number of kids murdered by dodgy geezers in dirty raincoats. This is nothing to do with child protection, all to do with the obsession with spying on citizens and raising extra fees (taxes) in any way possible. For a fraction of the cost of this police could be off dual carriageways and patrolling the streets of our towns. Or, another alternative would be to get rid of the sicko judges we have and replace them with people willing to lock child murderes or child molesters up for decent lengths of time.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Its PAEDO-GEDDON!

    See you're wrong, you just think you hate kids, but you're actually a peadophile in the making!

  23. Simon

    CRB

    If you work with kids on any level (Teacher or Club) you need to have a CRB check. I teach inline skating as a hobby and help out with first aid as some skating events plus run a rec-skating club. This means I need three CRB checks, and each one needs to be payed for.

    The CRB work that I apply for the serch about me to be done and nomonate some one too check that the resluts of the serch are compatable with the work I do.

    So each CRB I do needs to be sent to a 3rd party to be checked at my or the clubs cost. This can be some one traind with in the club but if they are a kidy fiddler then the hold think falls down. The standerd check costs about £60 and a full check costs £120 aprox.

    So this change is going to save any one that works with kitds a lot of time and cach plus will plug loop holes in the current CRB.

    Any one working with kids should right now have a CRB!

  24. Vaughan Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Seems like...

    a way of accelerating the population of the NIR while simultaneously offsetting some of the cost.

  25. bob_blah
    Happy

    Just one more reason

    ...why I'm leaving this country. I'm just glad that I can! I never realised that being a foreigner in the UK was such a blessing.

    Sucks to be you, people born in the UK!

  26. Mattyod

    Nothing really new here.

    According to the article the only difference between this proposal and the current CRB checks is that they will also hold data of your current job.

    Unless I'm missing something, there is no real story here, people who work with, or even close to kids, need to have a CRB check and it has to be paid for. I'm not seeing much different here.

  27. william

    Another tax on the low paid.

    Another tax on the low paid. - What do Labour stand for these day's ?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "The end of informality" sums it up

    I run the choir in a Catholic parish in the Birmingham Archdiocese. As has been widely reported, the diocese has not been immune from the wickedness of paedophile clergy abusing children over whom they had a duty of care.

    The archbishop at the time retired early, a broken man. Although without direct responsibility, he accepted that as the "line manager" of the clergy in question the failings were in part his. His replacement, the excellent Vincent Nichols, has had to address this, and at the same time there are now clear legal duties.

    Now, my choir is made entirely of ladies, ranging in age from 40s to 80s, so I've not put in for a CRB check. My teenage son sometimes plays his violin with us. But, when asked by one of the choristers "could my daughter (also teenaged) come and try out the flute part?" the answer has to be "No." Well, the answer is "Is she serious enough about wanting to play that I should put in for a CRB check?". Could we just go ahead anyway, and I'd get a check if she took to it? Well no, the ruling from the Archdiocese is absolutely clear, and our Parish's "Child Protection Co-ordinator" has been impressed that there must *never* be exceptions. There can't be "just this once."

    So we come back to the issue of organised vs informal volunteering. Organised volunteering will be OK - someone is keen to take a position, they jump through the hoops. But informal volunteering, which is so often the path into something more committed, is suffering, and will continue to suffer.

    "Think of the children" - the biggest risk our children face now is that their vistas are limitted because of the over sanitised interface with adults. And that the suitability of this interface is no longer subjected to wise judgement - instead, it is a pass/fail on a systematic check.

  29. Philip Kroker
    Thumb Down

    Re:Tony Humphreys

    Too late, we already have a child protection scheme similar to the one being recommended in the UK. If you want to work with kids you have to have a criminal record check done, so if you ever nicked a candy bar and got caught, good luck ever working with kids. Did I mention that the check will cost you?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed kills

    Tony Humphreys: "where a burglary is treated higher than a speeder on a phone."

    A "speeder on a phone" is considerably more likely to kill someone than a burglar is. I think stopping the former _should_ be a police priority.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quote from Schneier

    "Beware the Four Horsemen of the Information Apocalypse: terrorists, drug dealers, kidnappers, and child pornographers. Seems like you can scare any public into allowing the government to do anything with those four."

    Think of the children! Get on the database! Won't stop the vast majority of child abuse, which takes place within the family unit, but let us not allow such trifling inconveniences detract from such a noble cause, and being seen to be doing something, as well as building a nice juicy database.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Andy Hamilton

    Andy Hamilton put it so well on a recent Radio 4 appearance:

    "The trouble with this government is that they still think Computers are Wizard!"

  33. Simon Greenwood

    Re: CRB

    I had to fill in a CRB when working in the outsourced IT department of a major city council on the grounds that I had access to servers that belonged to the education department. Would that potentially see me added to the child protection database?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: Speed Kills

    ***"A "speeder on a phone" is considerably more likely to kill someone than a burglar is. I think stopping the former _should_ be a police priority."***

    I made exactly the same point to some twunt who was complaining about people who were obeying the speed limit and making him late (me being one of them) I suggested that he should tell me his address and a suitable time when his house would be unoccupied so that I could pop round and relieve him of his stuff as that was far less likely to kill someone that his asshole tailgating.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Its all cobblers

    It appears this will be more like the original CRB where you only need one certificate rather than as at present where each role you undertake requires its own CRB check. At least if the data is retained it will hopefully mean quicker and cheaper checks.

    Like many others on here I'm seriously considering leaving the country because of the way Labour have screwed this country over the last 10 years.

    CRB (I have just been checked) proves nothing, zilch, actually I lie, it proves you have never been convicted (or I believe now) are subject to a investigation with regards to children. Even then its a point in time check so could still potentially hod your coaching post for quite a while after being convicted.

    It does however (in Scotland I'm told) record the fact you were caught speeding whilst driving a minibus full of children.

    This legislation also affects children who are now tarred with the same brush as Adults. They too have to have a CRB check if teaching others. Innocence is dead.

    So it appears we have endless red tape to prevent people who will surely be on the sex offenders register anyway working with childen. We make the 99.999999999% of volunteers who are above reproach do all this in the hope we might just stop someone abusing a child which I doubt we will.

    Just like the passport vetting procedure I doubt they have ever 'caught' anyone but that must mean its working. Just to be sure they are going to make it a crimial offence. I'm sure that will work too!

  36. Ian Watkinson
    Paris Hilton

    So it's ok to rob someone, but going 31 in a 30 is jailworthy...?

    @AC

    Coward about sums it up.

    How many speeders on a phone killed someone last year?

    How many burglaries went bad and ended up in Assault.

    Given the choice of being burgled, or someone somwhere doing 31 in a 30 with a phone in their hand...I'd take the latter, as 99.999999% of the time there is no victim.

    In 100% of Burglaries, there is a victim.

    So I guess you're one of these loonies that doesn't care about real world crime victims, but is worried about any sort of speeding despite almost all of it being harmless.

    I'd suggest in a straw poll, you'd find a number of people who have committed the offense of speeding, but haven't killed anyone..

    Paris Icon, as she' s as much of an airhead as you.

  37. Mark

    Another group

    How about the CCTV operators? They will have footage of children. Lots of children. They can turn cameras to follow children. They are off in a little cubby hole all by themselves, with videos of little girls and boys blissfully unaware that someone is watching them...

    "Think of the children! Get rid of CCTV!!!"

    They'll at least have to be vetted to see that they aren't perverts.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - Speed kills

    "A "speeder on a phone" is considerably more likely to kill someone than a burglar is"

    Your logic is flawed.

    Consider the number of people that speed whilst on the phone.

    Then consider the number that kill people whilst doing so.

    Next, consider the number of people that commit burglaries.

    Then the number that kill people whilst doing so.

    I'm sure the % of speeders that kill will be significantly less that the % of burglars that kill.

  39. bothwell

    CRB checks

    They're pretty standard. I had to have one when I volunteered as an administrator at a day care centre for older folks, so no children involved - it's about protecting the vulnerable, which is to be lauded.

    As to the "make one mistake and you're on the database forever" comment - I was convicted of a handful of youthful misdemeanors, as are most of us. I did these before I had the CRB check, and the fact that I was a nasty little miscreant in my previous life didn't actually make any difference to my volunteer application. I can't imagine this new wheeze will change that much.

  40. Mr Smin

    are they admitting to no confidence in the NIR?

    if the NIR was any good, it could contain a field for this sort of thing - compare that to the DVLA database which shows what a person is qualified/provisionally qualified to drive/ride

    can't see the need to have a whole new database for this - apart from adding another carriage to the gravy train

  41. John Murgatroyd

    Weird ? !

    So lying on the forms is an offence ?

    But that assumes, since the gov is obviously assuming it, that paedophiles do not lie ?

    And how long will it take them to realise that a person has lied about everything ?

    If ever they realise.

    Dodgy raincoats does not come into it, most stories in the 'papers seem to relate to priests, doctors, dentists and other seemingly "safe" professions.

    I know two social workers, and both fit into the "weird" category, but presumably they will be in the "safe-weird" grouping ?

    That's when they're not removing children from their parents care for later adoption, but not for the £1700.00 the gov gives for each child so placed ?

    Weird ?

    Does that not include practically everyone who works in social care and the gov ?

  42. Liz Fuhr
    Stop

    Who is covered by this?

    Depends on what they mean by working with children really. Does this cover things like sports centres? How about pastimes like Paintball, Laserquest or ice skating - all of these have a large throughput of children often in private groups. Would every single Saturday staff member working at one of these places have to go through a CRB check or be on this database? These aren't clubs where adults volunteer, they are commercial ventures where the adults are employed.

    And how about sports centres, do all staff there need checks now?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Single people and wierdos?

    Why would they be discriminated against.

    In any real volunteer organisation they are the vast majority of the people.

    I'd worry if a married parent had the time to raise kids and do weekly volunteer work (short of forcing - in a friendly manner - the kids to join the club. 'nout against this mind you). So, as a single guy who is definitely wierd I'd guess I'd be counted as low risk for working with children.

    Managers - now they are people I'd ban working with children, they are just in it for power.

    It's just another pathetic attempt at taxing the few of us willing to put something back into the community. I'm glad mine will always be paid for by taxes.....

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, I've managed to slip through the system so far

    I've spent the last three years working for a local authority and walked around about 20 schools / nurseries / children's centres - at times unsupervised - and never been CRB checked. I did ask to be CRB checked but they ignored my request.

    Just as well that I'm not a paedo.

  45. Joe K

    @AC

    "See you're wrong, you just think you hate kids, but you're actually a peadophile in the making!"

    Nope, i hate peas too.

  46. teacake

    @AC

    "How long before it becomes 'peados like children, people volountering to work with children like children, people voluntering to work with children could be peados, flag everyone in the database as a potential peado!'"

    On top of that there'll also be the "Anyone who isn't on the database is suspicious. Why wouldn't you want to be checked? What have you got to hide?" So damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  47. Steve

    Speeding vs Burglary

    "I'm sure the % of speeders that kill will be significantly less that the % of burglars that kill."

    That's because burglars wait until you are asleep and then come in with an axe, chop you and your family into pieces and then steal your TV. No, wait, my mistake, that was just some bollocks I saw on TV.

    Burglars come when you are not there as it's easier to rob an empty house than one which is occupied. If a burglar tries to break in when you are there then he'll shit bricks when you turn the landing light on and is more likely to injure himself in his desperation to escape.

    Using speeding as a comparison to other crimes is ridiculous as speeding is a crime that the government *expects* you commit. No speed is inherently dangerous, but higher speeds require faster reactions so the speed limit is set so that the majority of people have reaction times that can handle that speed on that road even though they know that statistically some people will be safer driving above that limit than some of those driving below it.

    So if you want to use the generic term "speeding" then you also need to take into account every burglary down to the kid who steals a few sweets from the pick 'n' mix or someone who gets given too much change but keeps quiet about it (equivalent to 31 in a 30 zone).

    They're incomparable.

  48. Slaine
    Unhappy

    Registration will cost £64 per person

    <waves bye bye to common sense, community spirit and social support networks>

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @clueless AC

    "I'd worry if a married parent had the time to raise kids and do weekly volunteer work "

    Er every single one of the volunteers on my school PTA is (of course) a parent. In my experience the people who volunteer /are/ the ones with families, singles are often too self-interested to step forward.

  50. Whitter
    Thumb Down

    Just a warm-up for the main event

    This is just a wheeze to get the nation (an awful lot of them) used to being on a goverment database. They want those ID cards, pointless though they'll be, come hell or high water.

    Whether or not they'll retrospecitvely change the rules and automatically transfer the info or not, in their own minds they are 'teaching' the nation to trust their databases. Of course, with all their gaffs, they are likely doing the opposite, but voters don't have that many choices, nor any per-issue resolution in their vote to have an effect. Democracy? Pah!

  51. Mark Wilson

    Again?

    So lets get this straight, although I have been CRB checked and have been working with children continually since then and the school I work in would have been informed had I done anything, I now have to pay a further £64 of my hard earned cash to again prove my innocence.

  52. Nick

    Hmm...

    Just how many databases do they need?

    Why not just have one central one, and then issue people with identification cards, with suitable biometric authentication to prove they are who they say they are.

    Oh wait, no, we don't want that. Pretend I never said that! Shhh!

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    more efficient...

    so some think that the new ISA will make things simpler if you hold multiple posts - if only.

    Teachers, scout leaders, and many more are required to have ENHANCED CRBs. The ISA web site says:

    6. Reducing bureaucracy

    Once an individual is ISA registered, subsequent employers can check their status online free of charge (unless they are under a duty to apply for an Enhanced CRB check).

    So pretty much everyone then...

  54. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    And of course...

    > Those who fail the vetting will be barred from obtaining such work.

    ... so, just to be on the safe side, we should mark them all down as potential kiddy fiddlers since there must have been *something* to cause them to fail and it's better safe than sorry...!

    Of course if they're over 36, well, we all know they're paedos anyway...

  55. Guy Herbert
    Pirate

    BTW it is not just children

    It is anyone who works with "vulnerable groups" - that includes the elderly and the disabled. Want to hire a girl to do aunt Edna's shopping next Wednesday when you are in Torremolinos? Get her an enhanced CRB check first, or get your own criminal record. (And what a record! Evading a protective check! You think you are going to be allowed back in the oncology department again, even if they are a bit short of your speciality?)

    Great excuse to get the ID scheme up and running, isn't it?

    <blockquote>As we move towards wider participation in the scheme, IPS will also offer a tailored service for those who work in positions of trust, who choose to have an identity card, and who wish to use that to fast-track checks on their status as part of their job.

    Working with the Criminal Records Bureau, a trial conducted by IPS shows that the time taken to perform a criminal records check could be cut from 4 weeks to as little as 4 days, with extremely high levels of user satisfaction.</blockquote> - Jacqui Smith, 6 March 2008

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Automatic dismissal at 36?

    According to El Reg a few days ago faceparty was banning anyone over the age of 36 as they were probably a kiddie fiddler and it was based on government recomendations/laws pending.

    So is this now going to lead to enforced early redundancy for a fifth of the population? Or will they be forced into manual labour in the fields?

    Mmmm some countries have tried that before?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New danger to your health.....

    children that is , if you see one cross to other side of street, do not look in case you are seen looking, do not talk if you see one, do not help if you see one that needs help etc etc etc. God this Country is so Fucked up.

  58. Andy Bright
    Heart

    Huh, we can fight back..

    ..and place 3/4 of kids on an adult protection database.. so there! Bloody kids and their hoodies and yoof speek.. bring back hanging, corporal punishment, work house orphanages and ship the rest to Australia.

  59. William Old
    Flame

    El Reg staff have lost their maps again... :-(

    > "Volunteering England is a government-supported charity, set up to promote volunteering in the UK."

    Errrmmmm... no, it isn't. Bizarrely (if you look at the name, it gives you a cryptic clue), Volunteering England is a government-supported charity, set up to promote volunteering in England *.

    The UK has got some additional bits, stuck on the top (Scotland), and on the left-hand side (Wales), and a weeny extra bit that floated away and got caught on the top of Ireland (I'm lying, but I'm manic today...).

    * From the "Volunteering England" Web site: "Volunteering England works to support and increase the quality, quantity, impact and accessibility of volunteering throughout England."

  60. D
    Paris Hilton

    This is a none story

    I've been working on and off for years with vulnerable adults, and CRB checks have been part of taking a new job for many years now. All they consist of is a PNC and Interpol check to confirm that you've never been successfully prosecuted for anything nasty, not just kiddy fiddling, but things like fraud and theft, violence against the person, animal cruelty etc. As many have already pointed out all this database will do is remove the need for multiple checks on one person, potentially saving a fortune for organisations like the NHS that have to do CRB checks every time someone moves to a new post.

    It's a very sensible idea that involves no loss of privacy or rights for anyone involved. It really doesn't merit the knee jerk reactions that it got with at least two posters indicating that this was going to make them pack up and leave the country.

    Paris, because she has a relaxed approach to privacy.

  61. Squits
    Thumb Down

    £734,500,000 out of nowhere

    Nice stealth tax in the middle of it all, with the underlying and overlying facts being another attempt to safeguard children from something that happens, but not regularly enough to justify screening everyone working with kids, even if the theory is there it's implemented wrong.

  62. Stu Wilson
    Stop

    Real World People, come on

    I have more than the passing knowledge of this as I currently work within this area.

    Simply put, some of the mud being slung around here is ridiculous, here's why.

    1) £64 - ok the price sounds about right, can't tell you what it will be in Scotland, but if it's required for your job(s) then in most cases if you are already working for an existing company with an existing CRB check, I'd expect they'd be forking over the cash not you. If you want to work in areas where you know you will need one, admittedly not a lot of people know they need one before applying for jobs, then it saves you a hell of a lot of time, you have a major advantage over other applicants who may not be able to work until a check is returned, 's money well spent.

    2) It's an opt-in register, the point being that you chose to work in jobs whereby you have the possibility of power over member's of vulnerable groups (and yes that includes teachers, nurses and doctors, youth group leaders, swim instructors, and cleaners in old peoples homes, ad nauseum). Your details once passed the intial security check are then placed on the register but are then routinely monitored for criminal or other activity. The requirement to record current employment addresses is for this; it is a proactive check, if your registration is flagged as having changed within certain limits, then your registration could be pulled and your employer(s) informed of your new status as a raving paedo/granny basher.

    3) @AC

    <quote>Just like the passport vetting procedure I doubt they have ever 'caught' anyone but that must mean its working. Just to be sure they are going to make it a crimial offence. I'm sure that will work too!</unquote>

    Now I know for an incontrovertible fact that this is not the case, there have been cases of person(s) whose applications have been rejected due to previous criminal convictions and it's scary to think that people thought they could get through a check. I've seen some ugly things, these people you do not ever want anywhere near your children.

  63. Adair
    Flame

    Another bit of ludicrous utilitarian non-think...

    ...by people who say they want the best but don't seem to have any education in morality, justice, and the effective application of state resources.

    By all means keep a list of proscribed and problematic people under strict, and publicly recognised, criteria; but the idea of listing 'everyone' regardless is plain bonkers, not to mention immoral. Doing so is clearly pointless when it comes to the stated aim of preventing child abuse, merely serving the interests of the state in aggregating yet more power to itself over the lives of ordinary people, and greatly increasing the likelihood of innocent lives being needlessly inconvenienced or wrecked by errors, maladministration, etc.

    No good ranting though; to the barricades and beyond! Let's try and get some sense and humanity back into our legislation---having a lot less of it would probably help!

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How is ....

    How is 11.3 million one quarter of the UK population?

    Since when has the population of this sceptered isle been 45.2 million? Around 1900 by my reckoning.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In 10 years time...

    I suspect all this stuff will be unworkable and forgotten or just not implemented properly - the reason for this is that legislation, spying, checking, vetting etc etc will become too much and grind everything down, resulting in a sad reduction in facilities and fantastic adults who wish to support, teach and provide kids with great experiences. Sure - CRB checks for those working with kids and the vulnerable in certain situations such as residential homes but honestly - getting everyone who does anything that goes anywhere near a child to be vetted will backfire.

    We are already sending the message to kids that adults are not to be trusted, my own girls when in their teens talked about any guy in town over 25 that checked them out as being a 'peado'. I did suggest that being 16 in a mini skirt and bare midriff was hardly discreet.

    When CRB's first came in, my kids secondary reported huge problems getting parents to help on trips - because they would need to be vetted! In my work as a consultant I often hear voluntary organisations state that volunteering is reduced because of CRB's.

    The really sad thing is that when we have all forked out £64 for each job we have that involves kids or the vulnerable - we will still see abuse happening.

  66. This post has been deleted by its author

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I havent read every comment but

    what criteria will be used, what information will be gathered, how will it be interpreted, who will interpret it, who or what are the 'experts', how can this information be kept private, it CAN'T when people are ruled unfit/dangerous, even if they're NOT.

    How the hell can any system know that 11 million people are suitable/unsuitable, safe/unsafe. It can't! Such a system, by its very nature, must brand innocent people, whose lives may consequently be ruined

    It stands to reason that many genuinely innocent people will find themselves blackballed, oops I mean blacklisted, with the consequent disruption and irrecoverable damage to their lives and their families ( no smoke without a fire) while at the same people who are a genuine risk to children will likely slip through the net, after all they are the experts at what they do.

    Many innocent lives could be ruined to no particular purpose. Better to root out the paedophiles and keep the children out of harm's way.

    How does this square with released paedophiles living in the community, near schools, near families, but their rights and privacy are protected? It DOESN'T! And what about the soft sentences which have lead to repeat offences with terrible consequences.

    Excuse the rant, but this register and all it portends is an apalling idea.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Dictatorships and their Databases

    Its not just England although trust England to take it to illogical extremes (and charge a hefty fee in the process -- good eating for whoever controls that gravy train). In the US we have similar vetting procedures in place. They are done by individual organizations; the organizations need this process because without it they are liable to be sued. I'm currently the "Child and Volunteer Protection Advocate" of the local branch of a youth sports organization. A large part of this job is processing volunteer registrations - we have to have everyone's details in our national database. According to our guidelines (which are more or less identical to everyone else's) you can be barred from working with the kids for all sorts of infractions. The list is roughly the same that the Federal government uses to vet immigration applicants so its big on 'crimes of moral turpitude' -- drugs, gambling, prostitution (so anyone from England need not apply....). The reason why things haven't gone tits-up yet is that the vetting is still sketchy, its done on need, but I can see us eventually running out of volunteers.

    Another part of this are the training guidelines. You have a ratio of adults to kids, never less than two adults in charge of a group of kids (one the same gender as the kids) and never, ever, be alone with a child.

    You have no idea what kind of world we live in. Its quite horrible. I got handed the job by my predecessor partly because he had the same contempt for this stuff -- yes, we'll do what's needed, but... Because, after all, the two recent cases of child molestation in the local paper were done by people who were vetted. The databases aren't worth squat. Being aware, and listening to the kids, is the only protection they need.

  69. Dave

    That's me out then...

    Seeing as I refuse to give the government any information over which I have any option, I guess this rules me out of helping with activities as well. On top of that, I definitely would not pay for it.

    I wonder how it affects the home education community, given that a lot of the time there are activities and classes run by the parents themselves? As it's a mostly self-selecting group that has chosen to opt out of state control in the first place, I suspect it'll be the good old V-sign and carry on as before.

  70. Alex Wright
    Thumb Down

    @RichardB

    > "Surely you must be on the list to be an active parent - or indeed a sibling, cousin, aunt or even a godparent?"

    Well, 90% of child abuse is performed by relatives...

    "I'm sorry sir, we can't let you breed because your mother in law's brother's son looked at a child "funny" once."

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Stu Wilson

    Stu,

    Its good to see someone defending their well paid, pointless, and ultimately harmful to the national interest, job.

    "1) £64 - ok the price sounds about right, can't tell you what it will be in Scotland, but if it's required for your job(s) then in most cases if you are already working for an existing company with an existing CRB check, I'd expect they'd be forking over the cash not you."

    Expect away. I can say for definite that where I work the CRB is paid for now by the individual if they want to help the local chavs by mentoring them. The company provides time (to an extent....nowhere near enough) and a location. Everything else, including a cup of tea and a biscuit for the chav/chavette is paid for by the volunteer.

    Frankly its not worth the bother now, never mind with the new set up. My early suggestion of saving the money and buying the little darlings a kitchen devil set to let them reduce their numbers using their natural talents (taking drugs, whining about their families, nicking stuff and stabbing each other) was, sadly, rejected. Given that the kitchen devils are a damn sight cheaper than the new check it might be worth making the same suggestion again.

    " If you want to work in areas where you know you will need one, admittedly not a lot of people know they need one before applying for jobs, then it saves you a hell of a lot of time, you have a major advantage over other applicants who may not be able to work until a check is returned, 's money well spent."

    So even you accept that the individual will need to spend the money, even if they haven't got the job, in the hopes of getting the job. That sounds like a tax on jobseekers. It also means that, rather neatly, the best person for the job may not get it, but the one with the shiny new government stamp might. Excellent.

    That's two disasters for the price of one. People that we desperately need to help out, won't and the less qualified but easier to get hold of will slide into jobs where they'll make a mess of it. Brilliant.

    "2) It's an opt-in register, the point being that you chose to work in jobs whereby you have the possibility of power over member's of vulnerable groups (and yes that includes teachers, nurses and doctors, youth group leaders, swim instructors, and cleaners in old peoples homes, ad nauseum)."

    So, basically, around 11 million people will have to opt in. Or lose their jobs. Many of which require a serious amount of professional training to get (teachers? doctors?). Obviously the concept of "Opt" wasn't really understood here. Forced-entry might be a more apt description.

    You haven't even considered the other possibilities of the power element, if you're going down that frankly daft route. A simple one for 10 points: what about landlords? Surely each renter should have full details on the landlord. After all, sex for rent is as old as rent. Oh, sorry, landlords are rich - no point in inconveniencing them.

    "Your details once passed the intial security check are then placed on the register but are then routinely monitored for criminal or other activity."

    Other activity... so something that isn't actually illegal. Such as? Perhaps protesting against a government ordered motorway development? Or sending a letter to an MP? Perhaps by standing for election to parliament for the wrong party (Tories? BNP? Leafy-Green Alliance?) Would throwing an egg at John Major do, or would it have to be John Prescott?

    Or why not just on some gossip that the person you're going out with looks too young or is the wrong colour? Chris Woodhead was rather famous for living with one of his former students. I can only assume that in this brave new world he'd not be allowed to continue teaching, although quite why escapes me - it certainly wasn't illegal.

    So please do explain very carefully what "other activities" might be covered, sufficient to justify losing your job, that are not already illegal? Then explain why this kind of coercive, overbearing, and frankly freakish control of the vast majority of our key workers is in the national interest.

    "The requirement to record current employment addresses is for this; it is a proactive check, if your registration is flagged as having changed within certain limits, then your registration could be pulled and your employer(s) informed of your new status as a raving paedo/granny basher."

    Ah. Excellent so for the employer there's actually no middle ground. Either we're as completely innocent as a new born babe, or we're a paedo.... Fantastic. Given that millions of people wander through the criminal justice system each year it seems that fairly quickly no-one will be qualified to work with kids. I feel the kitchen devil suggestion coming into its own here.

    More realistically its so that each time you change jobs you have to fork over more money to the otherwise useless people running the computers. Experience says that I can't wait for the sheer weight of the paperwork to bring this one crashing down. Every time a cleaner moves company (and they move a lot as cleaning companies go up and down all the time) it'll require more paperwork. Its the Child Maintenance System issue all over again, where 300,000 applications that hadn't been processed were shredded to "remove the backlog". That'll be excellent, except instead of child maintenance a doctors position won't be filled. Presumably no actually sick kids will need to be seen.

    Overall, this is the kind of stupid scheme that gives child protection a bad name. Its also similar to the governments many and various crazed IT projects (as noted "Computers are Wizard" should be the motto).

    The sooner its dumped the better.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @ AC @ AC - Speed Kills

    "Consider the number of people that speed whilst on the phone.

    Then consider the number that kill people whilst doing so.

    Next, consider the number of people that commit burglaries."

    In order to get those numbers, would we have to invade privacy somewhere along the line?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Well that's just great....

    I'm 40; epileptic - so I'm on pills for the rest of me life; I live alone; I'm a volunteer with a well known charity working specifically with special needs kids, and I'm a Sunday School Teacher. Under this new system looks like my goose is well and truly cooked. I might as well turn myself in now!

    Keep an eye out at the old Tower of London - you might just see my head stuck on a spike somewhere - the ravens happily pecking out my eyes..... a big neon sign stuck up above me saying "Here died a junkie paedophilic menace to society".

    For the love of mike would somebody please invent timetravel and make sure Mr Fawkes succeeded....

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's not a one-off certification!

    It's not a one-off vetting, once you are on the database then it's a continuous process: "Our records will be constantly updated as fresh information is gathered. If new data indicates that an individual might pose a risk to vulnerable people, they will be put on one of the ISA Barred Lists and their current employer will be informed immediately."

    http://www.isa-gov.org.uk/

  75. This post has been deleted by its author

  76. Spleen
    Stop

    @Frank Gerlach

    "Isn't there a British Libertarian Party to kill this crap ?"

    No, no, and again, no. Libertarians do not become politicians, libertarians get useful jobs. Every politician important enough for you to have heard of, without exception, is an authoritarian, no matter what they call themselves, even in their own heads. If they've got that far seeking their share of government power they are not going to reduce it. People do not cut down trees after they've spent twenty years climbing up them.

  77. David Cantrell
    Flame

    Death of social services

    "Vulnerable adults" apparently includes old people. My father, having retired, now volunteers as a bus driver for a local community bus charity, and also helps out with a library service for the housebound. He is Not Happy about having to register and allowing people to sneak and pry into his private life, and has told me that when it comes time for him to register, he'll just stop volunteering. So, no library books for old people, no cheap public transport.

    I myself decided about a year ago to not train to become a qualified cricket umpire, solely on the grounds that to do so I would have to submit to the CRB's sneaks and spies. This was justified by the umpires' and scorers' association on the grounds of "child protection". Apparently they're scared that, while standing out in the middle of a cricket pitch where their parents can see me, I'm a danger to the little darlings.

    Fire, because someone needs burning at the stake for this idiocy.

  78. Slaine
    Happy

    Strange but True (now with added sarcasm)

    You need a licence to own a dog, but any fool can approach a dog.

    Any fool can have a child ...

    You need a licence to own a TV... but any blinkered, uninspired, self-opinionated talentless, halfwitted, misinformed, poorly educated, powerhungry emotional retard with a random axe to grind and a complete lack of intellectual spark or moral fibre can be a politician.

  79. JohnP

    Volunteering not affected??

    My wife is 'Akela' (leader) of a local Cub Scout group (8-11 years). She has one regular assistant and up to 30 kids. All parents of kids wishing to attend the group must agree to help out at one of the meetings every couple of months to ensure that the Adults to kids ratio is sensible and also that it meets legal requirements. This proposal would mean that parents of all kids wishing to join the Cub Scout group would have to be vetted and pay £65 for the process.

    How many parents will refuse to do this and deprive their kids of the benefits the scouting organisation provides. I don't know the answer but I am sure it will be some, possibly many. And it is the kids that will miss out because of this ill-conceived idea.

  80. This post has been deleted by its author

  81. Simon.W
    Stop

    How does this work for these scenarios?

    Vetted school teachers decide to organise school trip to... Winston Churchill's house, for a history lesson. The curator agrees to be guide. The curator is now working with the children, but first the guide must be vetted??? YES?

    School trip abroad - Disneyland, Florida, say, staff at Disneyland need to be vetted, for working with children - YES?

    Paramedic arrives at the scene of a woman giving birth, is the paramedic working with a child - very possibly, but he'd not been vetted.

    Simon Cowell on Britian's Got Talent (I only know he's a judge, honestly), but some of the acts are children acts, does he have to stop until he's been vetted? This is certainly working with children. How about the staff for dressing rooms in theatres?

    The result of this legislation will be the removal of practical education for any child, at least in this country. And possibly a certain reduction in any children's programme that is hosted by adults that involves children.

    This piece of completely thoughtless legislation is only enforceable in very limited circumstances and therefore completely meaningless.

    Sheer lunacy.

    Time to create a new political party for commonsence objectives, not governmental authoritarianism, it could be called the CONGA party.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Are we in interesting times yet?

    Or are we just revving up? There must be something we can do about all this but it seems that all the mainstream parties are all running scared of the dail mail. And the fringe ones are even more scary.

    How do we fix it?

    Seriously.

    Love, cos there clearly isn't enough going round

  83. Mister Cheese
    Joke

    @Stranger on the road

    "P.S. English is not my first language, so forgive the grammar or ignore my post"

    It shows - you've clearly been educated in grammar!

  84. Charles Smith
    Pirate

    Time for the revolution

    It is about time that all these strength sapping rule inventing idiots were themselves gathered into a large jail and the keys thrown away.

    They criminalise the majority to deal with potential crimes of a tiny minority.

    The Members of Parliament should start earning their keep and apply a massive dose of common sense. If not Joe Soap public should vote them out.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    CRB check

    Stuff about the CRB check always reminds me of the time I did some part-time work at the school I was going to - I had to fill in a CRB check, just to work in the school I had been going to for the past ~6 years, with no incidents. I would've been 17/18 at the time... so not that much older than most of the people around me.

    Always wondered what would've happened if my CRB check didn't come out clean...

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    The question is....

    Who vets the vetters, and where do they store their super credentials?

    11.3 Million people checked and assigned to a DB. Even if it only takes one hour per person (seems it should take longer if it's "For the Children") it would be 470,833 man days. or 1,412,500 eight hour shifts.

    If we had a team of 1000 people dedicated to the task it would take about 4 years to complete. or a team of 100k people could do it in a fortnight, but then they'd all be out of work and all that training would be wasted.

    Hmm, Thunk through = Nope.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @The question is...

    You beat me to it!

    Who vets the vetters... the vets?

    Thumbs down for police state, obviously.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nick

    Yes, what a good idea, save no end of ..... <choke> <gurgle>

    read all about it on p.3 of http://wikileaks.cx/leak/nis-options-analysis-outcome.pdf

  89. Mr Ropey
    Alert

    CRB checks gurantee nothing

    Too much is put into the wonders of the CRB check. As yet there is nothing illegal about giving false details to any voluntary group, it is not even illegal to carry false ID unless it is for "percuniary advantage!" All the CRB check says is that the person checked has never been charged with any offence that may bring them into conflict with the people they interact with in the position they hold.

    Experience has shown that the dangerous individuals in this country are always one step ahead of our guardians as they are not a grow of idiotic dirty old men. Many are well educated and well versed and they ensure that the those who are not amongst their ranks are kept in check. These people are very well organised, something that studies have shown time and time again.

    The current 2003 Sexual Offences Act is showing its weaknesses by the fact that an increasing number of cases are being dropped as it is becoming clear that there are more and more false allegations being made. Reference to the SAFARI website www.safari-org.uk is showing an increasing number of these cases. If you read the act it is all too clear how easy it is to become convicted on a lie. It also shows up an alarming number of repeat false accusers who arwe believed time and time again!

    My biggest worry and it is now becoming increasingly evident is the number of people who have done nothing wrong in their lives falling foul of the CRB checks as they have a similar name. There are also now special needs teachers who accept as part of their job that they will suffer false accusatuions finding that they are dis-barred from their work due to over -zealous police and social services investigations.

    Yes we need to protect our children and vulnerrable, but the simple fact is that the actual abuser of will be more than likely located under your own roof! 95% of chiild abuse is committed by a family member or someone who is directly involved with your family. There are also an increasing number of cases of family abuse towards the elderly as well. Those facts are something that the government and media always tend to overlook. Then again, if they didn't how would they frighten the public into believing that they were producing guff like this to protect the "children and vulnerable" or sell their poor quality newspapers?

    All this new bit of legislation will do is drive more people away from volunteering. I have already seriously reduced the time I give freely to help out on community projects and this new gem will now see me withdraw completely. I have nothing to hide and I need an enhanced CRB for my job, but I accept that as I need to earn a luiving. I'll be damned if I have to go through the same just to give my time away freely, whether it costs £64 or not.

    This idea is not to advance protection, it's been concieved by a piss poor government to show to "Fleet Street" editors that it is doing something positive! I can see all of the knees jerking merrily in the cabinet office as I type!

  90. Fiona

    Only if alone with kids

    As far as I understand it, you only need a CRB check if you're going to be alone with kids. So you can help out with Scouts or whatever without being checked so long as there is always another CRB checked adult with you. Don't know if this would continue with the new system though.

  91. Lyndon Hills
    Joke

    @Research

    Actually, most right-thinking people already assume that scout masters are paedophiles, or at least thinking about it. When this is force and there are no scout troops left, we'll know we were right.

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