Skip navigation

The government is to look again at how a new vetting system for those working with children will operate.
England’s Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said it was “tremendously important” to define “frequent or intensive” contact correctly.
He has asked the chairman of the new Independent Safeguarding Authority to review this and report by December.
The Tories said the plan was still too “vague” amid fears it could affect the running of sport and other clubs.
Mr Balls stressed the rules would not apply where, for example, parents agreed to give friends’ children “a lift to school or to Cubs”.
“Nor will it cover instances where parents work with children at school or a youth club on ‘an occasional or one-off basis’.”
He announced the reappraisal in a letter to the chairman of the Commons children, schools and families committee, Barry Sheerman.
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “All of this is so vague that in reality clubs and other organisations up and down the country will act to be on the safe side.
“So they’ll register all of the parents who are involved even loosely. So the result is we’ll get this huge expensive and cumbersome bureaucracy as well as volunteers giving up.”
Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne welcomed the review as the plans “were so disproportionate that they were going to put off masses of people from volunteering”.
Children’s charity the NSPCC said new procedures were needed but called on the government to provide more detailed information about how the scheme would work.
It said the new scheme “must be introduced carefully, in a way that does not inadvertently penalise children, weaken community relationships, or provide parents with a false sense of security”.
Mr Balls said the scheme had been introduced via legislation in parliament, following the Bichard inquiry into the murders of two schoolgirls in Soham.
It requires those working with children or with vulnerable adults, either on a paid or voluntary basis, to be on a register of suitability which employers can check.
The system will be phased in from next month and will operate in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from next year. A different scheme is being introduced in Scotland.
Mr Balls said there had generally been very strong support for the scheme during extensive consultation.
“Recently, however, some concerns have been expressed about the precise interpretation of a particular aspect of the scheme; that is, the degree of contact with children which should trigger the requirement to register,” he added.
There had been “some inaccurate and misleading reports”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: