back to article Gov retreats on vetting database but ain't climbing down

Government tinkering with the eligibility rules for the new Vetting and Barring Scheme may satisfy some critics – but the black hole of logic at the heart of the scheme has not been addressed. This weekend saw the long-awaited report back from Sir Roger Singleton, Chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Alex 83

    Stupid System

    I think i should register because i see the same kids on the way to work every morning. That would make my contact with them intensive. Im not sure i even know their name. What a load of bull

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You're a terrible father.

  2. Paul_Murphy

    And it still won't stop abuse.

    It will inconvenience a large number of people,

    It will stop people volunterring to help,

    It will re-enforce the 'guilty unless proven' dogma,

    People who say they have been passed will be automatically trusted and leave parents off guard.

    Oh, and one more point - how will parents know that someone has actually been passed and not just lied that they have? How will we be able to tell if someone has been cleared? Will they have a stamp on their forehead or something?

    It makes more sense to me that anyone convicted of child abuse is branded on their forehead - at least it makes it obvious, and is a visual confirmation of their breaking of societoes rules.

    Since we can't do that, then everyone is to be automatically seen as suspicious, thus adding to societies paranoia.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Can't wait for first court case

    I can't wait for the first court case where the accused has passed all ISA and CRB checks and is squeaky clean to all who know them and still has committed a horrific crime. The government will then have some serious explaining to do about why their beautiful system didn't work. In fact I wonder why they aren't being asked this question already about the Southampton nursery worker and others who communicated over Facebook.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't wait for first court case


      Nothing will happen at the first, second, third or even hundredth court case. The idea of the system is that there is noone is _PERSONALLY_ responsible. All decisions are taken by nameless quangos, committees and agencies and the only way of being at fault is not being obedient to them.

      This is the idea of this law. It is to ensure that when the next Soham, Baby P or Southhampton nursery will happen everyone in all chains of command is completely absolved of any responsibility.

      By the way, some of us have already seen this system fully deployed and at work. This was what Brezhnev's Soviet Union was all about. There was _NEVER_ anyone at fault. _NO_ decision was taken personally by anyone. It was all agencies. Everyone was vetted for everything, even for moving a house. We all know where did this get them and we all can see their successors trying to untangle that for more than 30 years now.

    2. John Square

      But that's just what I don't understand...

      ... it's so obviously a flawed system. However you shake it, this system will only spot those who haven't been caught yet. As soon as a "first time (caught) offender" turns up on some awful charge in court with an eCRB/Vetting certificate/whatever, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

      That much is obvious even to an idiot like me. So why has Balls been so determined to push this through? It so clearly inconveniences a great majority of people all for so little impact.

      Is he trying to make up for being less well proportioned in certain areas than other people? Because that is *honestly* the only reason I can see for sticking with it- but it can;t all be about a powerplay, and a maladjusted ego can it?

      Oh... I see what I did there.

    3. The Original Ash

      Where the hell have you been living?

      What they'll do is make the ID card mandatory for all people who have contact with children other than their own.

      Haven't you been paying attention to the way this works?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're not serious??

      Do you really think the government responsible for this complete arse-up of a piece of legislation will still be in office by the time a court case of the type you describe is heard?

      1. Andrew Culpeck
        Thumb Up

        Yes I do

        You made an unfounded claim against him and if the police where to act on it and take him in for questioning then he would be bared from working with children ether again.

    5. TimeMaster T
      Big Brother


      "The government will then have some serious explaining to do about why their beautiful system didn't work."

      The gov will just use it as justification for the NEW requirement that anyone coming into even peripheral contact with children be vetted using brain scanners to determine if they ever even THINK a 16 year old girl with the body of a Vegas dancer is attractive.

      And if you fail the tests you get prosecuted under the new "Potential Pedophile Public Protection Act" and have your life ruined because you wanted a job mopping the floors on the night shift at McDonalds.

  4. Scott 19
    Thumb Up

    Nu-Lie-Bour gets my vote

    Never liked kids anyway this now makes sure that i never have to go near one ever again and yes i'm aware about the employemnt side of this, nearly ever employer in the country will use this as an excuse to run checks on new employees.

    But like i said before its the sheer number of checks that will cause this like all other guberment run initiatives to run years behind and be completely useless, just ask the immigration office who still are reviewing files from 1997 and they had to build prison style detention centres just to handel the back log, can't wait to see if the same happens with this idea? locked up until your CRB check is cleared and your allowed back onto the streets to mix with the yoof.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is still the same problem

    This government (and the incoming is not any better) likes to interfere in everything and anything without assuming any responsibility.

    For all practical purposes the UK Govt are the _OWNER_ of the state education system. They can put nearly any f*** rules they want as a part of the hiring process. Similarly, they can put any conditions they like on registration of volunteers, etc. They can also do it overnight.

    _NO_ law required and anyone who does not like the idea can go private. Case closed.

    However, this will mean that they will admit responsibility and they cannot stomach that as an idea. It is much easier to create 3-4 levels of quangos and manage by committee where the responsibility is completely devolved from anyone if some sh*t happens.

    1. brimful

      We own the school system

      No WE are the _OWNER_ of the state education system. WE the people pay the Gov's wages. They the Govt work for US. I still don't understand how - even on a local council level - those in a position to make decisions are allowed to make said decisions which we do not want and do everything in their power to not to make a decision on the things we do want?

      WE the people - I assume I'm speaking for the masses and being completely democratic about this - do NOT want this database. WE the people do not want an ID card system. WE the people want you the Govt to stop interfering in our lives and be responsible for things like making sure the trains run on time, the local bowling alley isn't turned into a block of luxury flats thus forcing the youth to find other avenues of entertainment, and stop taxing us silly so that you can build more speed bumps. The list goes on and on. Oh and before I forget, WE the people want the VAT rate lowered from its current 15% to a more reasonable 10% and NI to be lowered even further. You the govt receive too much money, thus spend too much money, and by past experience squander too much money. Anyone see this vicious positive feedback loop?

      REVOLUTION!!!! Where are the french we we need them. At least they have the nack of protesting :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what is going to happen:

    The scheme will be pushed through. The database will eat lots of dosh until eternity. There'll be a storm of protest at the start, ``amendments'' will be made, the storm subsides. People get checked, most will get through. Occasionally someone vetted does something horrible anyway, Questions Will Be Asked. More often someone gets rebuffed for no reason, leading to bad press. The system will barely be used but it'll eat lots of dosh anyway. Occasionally some clerk at the vet's gets personal and ruins someone's life out of spite. That's about all the ``good'' it'll manage, but if you propose to drop the scheme people'll claim that would ``endanger childrun'', or cost jobs, or government pork, or what have you.

    Much like the other databases. Plus ca change, rien ca change.

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    I - and I suspect many other people in the world - find it fascinating that the British appear to believe that you can "vet" your way to safety in this way ... surely if this sort of process worked then it would make sense to apply it far more universally?

    You could "vet" everyone for tendencies to theft, members of the armed services for loyalty - hell, for that matter you could "vet" politicians for honesty ...

    1. mmiied

      we all ready do

      "vet" our politiciations for hosesty that is why we have never elected an honest one


      Not really...

      The British don't believe that you can vet everyone and find the bad guys., just the government.

  8. Stuart 22

    Criminalising the (now) innocent

    Unintended consequences doesn't appear to get much thought from legislators these days. Anyone who was convicted in their youth is going to think twice about going anywhere near a CRB check - even if it was for an offence that would pose no risk to children.

    So fewer volunteers and fewer opportunities for reformed criminals. Who benefits?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    The Enemy Within

    "...The problem, of course, is that the circumstances in which trust is most likely to be engendered – and therefore where abuse is most possible – are also circumstances that go so close to cherished personal values in the UK that Government dare not look the real issues in the eye..."

    This is the crux of the matter, John, and well done for highlighting it. It's the bit of the paedohysteria government and media never seem to 'get'. While the public were busy being scared out of their wits by misleading and unhelpful 'Stranger Danger' campaigns suggesting paedophiles on every street corner, in every playground, the real business of child sexual abuse was going on behind closed doors up and down the country at the hands of parents, guardians, carers and relatives (and still does).

    Any child protection professional will tell you the threat to children from 'trusted adults' already known to the child statistically dwarfs any speculative threat from the stereotypical (and highly inaccurate) 'dirty old man' or simple chancer. The police want us all to believe that some lonely middle aged bloke staring at anonymous images on his PC screen is a far, far bigger threat to our children than an outwardly 'normal' father of two who has regular access to his own children behind the privacy of his own front door. As the Reg article suggests, the ISA's new 'safeguarding' (the current favourite 'buzzword' amongst child protection professionals) rules are, in reality, little more than ineffective window dressing from a government too cowardly to call it as it is. If they are serious about protecting children, Ministers have some very unappetizing truths to face up to.

    80+ children a year in England and Wales are killed at the hands of parents or guardians, according to the NSPCC. That's parents or guardians - trusted adults, in other words, not kiddy-fiddling paedomonsters so beloved of Plod and his friends in the tabloid press. Nobody denies it might occasionally happen that a complete stranger will abduct or sexually abuse a kid, but statistically it's far more likely to be a parent, uncle, cousin or family friend; the saddest part is that the professionals all know this, but choose to keep quiet, content in the knowledge that another edifice to paedohysteria gets the green light and a £multimillion annual budget. Job done.

    1. CD001

      So the answer is...

      ... that any prospective parent needs to be vetted and entered into the database before they're allowed to breed. Ideally there should be an aptitude test beforehand and perhaps some kind of "license to breed", possibly even sterilisation of those that fail the aptitude test, just to be on the safe side.

      Of course, if I was running the tests I would automatically fail every politician for starting the whole twuntish thing in the first place.

  10. johnB

    Useless Parliament bypassed again

    The bit I don't like about this is that Ed Balls has just decided to change what was agreed to by Parliament. Nu Labour are recidivists in removing as much of Parliament's authority as it can get away with & move powers to ministers. This is just a continuing example of them doing it.

    Mind, given that many MP's seem to think their job is inventing expenses claims rather than scrutinising legislation, maybe we shouldn't be surprised when yet more dross like this gets a FAIL as soon as it gets anywhere close to reality.

  11. bell

    The crusader without

    Yes, the enemy is mainly within. The causes of those behaviours are badly understood, so the possibility of a campaign to address them is near zero. It is also nigh impossible to police the home environment effectively, even were there to be a morally acceptable way to do so. From a political point scoring point of view none of this matters though.

    The only objective any of the intrusive data-centric initiatives currently under way is to avoid the accusation of "someone saw this coming and did nothing". The population in general accepts that you often won't see family abuse, but there is an expectation that the minority which doesn't originate at home can and should be spotted. However ill founded this feeling is, and whatever the other social costs of pandering to it, it would appear to be a political imperative that none can resist.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Insufficient U-Turn?

    "Changing the frequency criteria from three days in three months (monthly) to once a week, and the intensive test to four days a month or overnight"

    Isn't that still going to cover weekly events? Aren't a lot of volunteers still going to be required to undergo vetting?

    "A review of the minimum age for registration, and an immediate change to remove the vetting requirement from those aged up to 18 and in education (so removing the registration requirement from sixth-formers doing voluntary work, for instance)."

    Isn't that still going to leave older sixth-formers, those who are already 18, having to undergo vetting?

    I won't be surprised if volunteers, etc, find that this U-turn just doesn't go far enough.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    The changes are cosmetic and pointless. As someone already noted, it still captures all weekly activities (sports clubs, afterschool care, scouts - sunday school and bible classes for goodness' sake), and the "under 18" rule will be confusing and oft-broken in error (how many 17-year-olds will remember to get checked on their birthday?).

    Mind you, the proposed law itself is pointless. The vast majority of abuse isn't from random strangers, and a self-initiated weaker version of the CRB check won't catch anything anyway - except innuendo and spite.

  14. Iggle Piggle

    You are right

    Statistically my daughter is in far more danger from me than anyone she might encounter. However I know that I am not a danger to my daughter. I am compelled by law to either home school (which is not an option) or to send her off to a building full of adults who are almost certainly no danger to her. However I still want to know that the school has done its best to ensure that the people who come in contact are not a danger. I fully realise that this does not mean my daughter is 100% safe but at least if there is a danger it will not from someone who has a list of offences as long as your arm but nobody could be bothered to check.

    1. Iggle Piggle

      sigh indeed

      > it still captures all weekly activities ... - sunday school and bible classes for goodness' sake

      In the light of recent "revelations" from Ireland I really do not believe we should be too shocked that some people might not think the church to be above suspicion. And why would you believe that there are no people who are a threat to children in day care?

      What, perhaps, needs to be considered is the depth of the checks. Suspicion should never be reason enough to ruin the career of an individual. While this might mean some get away with it, they would be a small percentage of the already small percentage of people who do participate in caring roles and who are a threat.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I wonder more each day

    On whether the government has gone far enough that I could claim political asylum in another country - after all I am a dangerous deviant

    I believe in freedom of speech, even if I don't like what I'm hearing

    I believe in innocence before guilt and it is up to the prosecutor to prove guilt

    I believe in the right to offend, and that no-one has the right to not be offended

    I believe that not everything in life can be legislated

    I believe the government has no need to know where I am and what I am doing 24/7

    I believe the government should answer to the people, not the other way around

    I believe that terrorism is not the problem they make it out to be and that scaring the population means the terrorists have won

    I am now subject to unjust laws that go against my beliefs and should I violate those laws I will be inprisoned and under the new terror legislation can be held without evidence and not even charged with an offence. How long will it be before they start rounding up all the people who won't toe the line?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "How long will it be before they start rounding up all the people who won't toe the line?"

      As I'm sure you know, this _is_ it. And what the fools who can't see it and refer to it as paranoia just don't get: with what the Establishment has already done, this is as inevitable as that night follows day. It is the logical outcome. Such dismantling of democracy is never, ever done by a Govt. that doesn't want to go all the way.

  16. Vortigern
    Paris Hilton

    Very very very

    So the very very very very very stupid scheme is now only very very very very stupid.

    But just like your articles on climate change, no-one will really pick up on this until maybe there is some sort of scandal.

    I wouldn't expect a reply on their methodology of creating the number - they know it's plucked from thin air, and know we know that - but their core vote doesn't know or care - they just see the "reduced by 2 million" and so think that it's only 2 million that have to register and so that probably won't include them so all is hunky dory.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    An interesting statistic Stats drawn from 7 Home Office (2004) Crime in England and Wales 2002-3: Supplementary Volume 1, Homicide and Gun Crime.

    1-2 children a week are killed each week, every week. That's more than have died of terrorist acts in the UK in any year since at least the turn of the century, and about the number who die in farming accidents. It's not clear how many are from caregivers but the odds are a *lot*.

    This system AFAIK will change *nothing*. Contactpoint *might* make a difference. I doubt it.

    It is an expensive stupid system which gives the *ilusion* of security and nothing else.

  18. qwertyuiop

    Crap legislation but...

    This is a crap piece of legislation, but...

    - "bad cases make bad law" and this was rushed through in a frenzy of public hysteria whipped-up by the tabloid media post-Soham - "for goodness sake do something to protect the children"

    - much though I dislike this government, to blame it all on the present incumbents is to ignore the fact that it got virtually unanimous support from all parties when it went through Parliament

    - why the hysteria NOW. The law was passed two year ago (or maybe three - I can't recall exactly), so why weren't you all howling about it then?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ... but what?

      You seem to imply it's not the government deserving blame for bad legislation, but the tabloid press. Or maybe the people that keep on buying tabloids. And you have a point, albeit a modern nanotech enabled one.

      I for me say the government *ought to* be the wiser party, with more level heads, and refrain from jumping on every scare to pass legislation just to be seen to ``do something''. And with that, reality proves me just as much a wishful thinker as you are.

      In utopia people would recognize gossip and scares for what they are and refrain from letting them influence policy. In reality, all you can do is whack makers of bad policy over the head; the scaremongering is necessairily legal as free speech, though one could venture and teach children how that works so they won't fall into the same trap as the people currently in power like to do so much. In the meantime? Whack-a-minister would make for a good mass spectator sport, as long as it remains verbal. Otherwise it'd be assault and illegal. For as much as some of them resemble grass swaying in the wind sometimes, they're still legally human.

  19. John Ozimek

    All-party support?

    Sorry,qwerty...but you can't blsame this on other parties. After long consultation,debate, Lords debate, etc., etc. this legislationcame back to the Commons for final reading...and an onslaught of c. 50 amendments put forward by government at the last minute.

    Opposition had little more than a week...and in some cases significantly less, to consider fundamental changes to what had been proposed. Given the volume of amends, debate was suitably truncated, with the amend on barring people on the basis of their sexual intersts gettingno debate and maybe just two minutes time on the floor in total. And that is more than some other amendments got.

    This is bad legislation...ALan Johnson's legislation, for the record - and his successor is being left to pick up the pieces.

    Oh yes. I spoke with AJ's Tory opposite number. She was spitting about the way they were treated in the Commons...but beyond a mild parliamentary squawk, could do very little about it.

  20. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm
    Big Brother

    The Thick of It

    Am I alone in feeling I've wandered into some extended sketch of Armando Iannucci's 'The Thick Of It'? Got to feel sorry for him - what's the point in trying to write satire when real life is outdoing it every time? The lunatics have taken over the asylum, I'm afraid, and we have to take the blame for letting them.

    Oh well, as long as have X Factor. Bread and circuses......

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Each successive British government tries

    to make itself appear even more incompetent than the previous one. And on current performance, Cameron's lot are well on the way to succeeding.

    The government is incapable of treating the symptoms, let alone the causes.

    Ed Balls - doing his part in the never ending war on the British way of life.

    How many more thousands of laws do these politicians think we can't live without, without the sky falling in?!?

  22. John Ozimek


    What I meant to say is that at the last minute, the legislation in question got an avalanche of 250 additional amendments...not the paltry 50 I quoted above.

    mea culpa!

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019