Nobody wants potentially vulnerable people (whether children, those with disabilities, etc.) to be put at risk. Nor does anyone want to be the person who allowed those people to be put at risk. Which is why the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) regime is so insidious. No government will ever be able to prune it much, for fear of a tabloid storm if someone subsequently suffered as a result (“PM let paedos work with children”- that sort of thing).
Yet it does need to be curbed. The rigorous nature of the system means that more and more people are not bothering to offer their services, whether on a part time of temporary basis. It is an expensive hassle. One friend of mine has undergone four CRB checks in the last one and a half years, despite his first one which was enhanced, so could have been transferred over to his other roles. Another friend was unemployed for three months while he waited for his to come through. And they were two of the lucky ones, with hundreds of people incorrectly being branded criminals by the CRB.
Now the ISA (which has a wider remit than the CRB) is poised to take this totalitarian (and it is totalitarian) regime one step further with new rules that would allow people to be banned from working with vulnerable people even if they have never done anything wrong:
Workers judged to be lonely and to have a chaotic home life could be barred from working with vulnerable people, even though there is no evidence that they pose a risk, according to guidelines from the Government’s new vetting agency. Decisions about staff will be taken by officials who have never met them, based on details passed on by their employers…
Guidance seen by The Sunday Telegraph, which has been given to more than 100 case workers at the ISA reveals that those referred could be permanently blocked from work if aspects of their home life or attitudes are judged to be unsatisfactory. It says case workers should be “minded to bar” cases referred to them if they feel “definite concerns” about at least two aspects of their life, which are specified in the document.
It means, for example, that if a teaching assistant was believed to be “unable to sustain emotionally intimate relationships” and also had a “chaotic, unstable lifestyle” they could be barred from ever working with children.
Given how many roles this involves it is chilling. If the Conservatives don’t pledge to sack every single individual at the ISA and emasculate the CRB on their first day of government they aren’t fit to take over.
(Via Tim Worstall)
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Filed in: Civil liberties