The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Some Good News In The Darkness

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 15, 2010 @ 09:28

We love databases cos they do all good stuff like this!

In the past I’ve strongly challenged the idea that what this country needs to protect its children is a bloody great database constantly monitoring the activities of nearly one-quarter of the adult population on it.

So today’s announcement that the Independent Safeguarding Authority’s Vetting and Barring Scheme is to be suspended pending a very rigorous investigation is to be welcomed.

So far this government has been reasonably true to its word of looking carefully at ways to roll back the frontiers of the infant police state that Labour were building. A state based around databases and vast swathes of information about its subjects, all built to make them sound good and thoroughly decent, but with no safeguards as to where they could head, and with little concept of how damaging they are to our civil liberties.

I understand that there is actually some relief within the civil service at this announcement, primarily because the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was not going to be ready for its July start date. This news will mean no need for embarrassing admissions about yet another bureaucratic failure.

But there’s still some way to go before proper celebration. We don’t yet know the full extent of the “Great Repeal Bill” promised by Clegg and Cameron. The ISA and its associated legislation would have to be included in such a repeal bill if it were to be shelved altogether. Indeed, as I pointed out in one of the posts linked to earlier, there was no need for the ISA in the first place, given the fact that the CRB could easily have done the job.

All it takes is a little imaginative thinking in government. I dearly hope this review gives them enough time to think properly about what is actually needed for the safety of children and vulnerable adults. What risks are we prepared to accept in society?

Sadly, yes, anyone with close, and frequently isolated, contact with children must be checked out. This does include the voluntary sector too. But how much further beyond that do we need to go? Do we really need, as I have seen in job adverts, chefs working for a major English professional football club being CRB checked because they might also be cooking food for the youth teams?

The coalition keeps moving in the right direction with this kind of stuff, and so it fills me with some confidence that we may finally be seeing the limits of state intrusion.

The scores on the doors: ContactPoint child database: to be scrapped. Identity cards, and the national identity database, to be scrapped. ISA bureaucratic, intrusive nightmare: on the abyss. Great Repeal Bill? Jury’s still out on that one…

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2 Responses to “Some Good News In The Darkness”

  1. Just to clarify, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)’s role within the Government’s Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) is to receive referrals from employers where they have moved or removed an individual following harm to a child or vulnerable adult, or where there is a risk of harm. We will then consider whether the person should be barred from working with vulnerable groups because of the future harm they might cause.

    We have been undertaking this work since January 2009 and as confirmed by the Home Secretary in today’s announcement our independent barring responsibilities and our maintenance of the barred lists remain in place.

  2. Harry D said

    good news all round then. In a sense I’m not even too bothered about the extent of the Great Repeal Bill: this government will turn around on constantly increasing illiberal legislation. We’re saved! It is not obvious that a tory government would do this – they could easily have gone on about ‘protecting the children’…

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