Given that the Government is revising the child contact vetting database, why not consider going the whole hog – and scrap it?

Blog-38-ed-balls1 Following significant criticisms, covered by Dylan earlier in the week, Ed Balls and co have admitted there are significant problems with the "Independent Safeguarding Authority" vetting database for people coming into contact with children, and have started making major revisions to it.  One can't help but notice that said revisions remove from the vetting requirements the most potent critics of the scheme, such as high-profile authors accustomed to visiting schools, but still – it's a good development.

However, now that the scheme is being revisited, Balls and his coleagues should consider cancelling it per se.  There is no pressing need for it.  Our national obsession with paedophilia, of which this scheme is a reflection, makes children no safer, whilst – by harming the culture of volunteerism upon which so much of civic society in our country depends – it objectively threatens to make the lives of many children much worse. 

Indeed, the Government could make a virtue of having listened to the voices of many people in carrying out such a move.  It would also greatly benefit a constituency about which the Labour Party apparently cares a great deal – that is, the poorest in society, whose children depend disproportionately on such volunteerism, as their families are unable to buy into the kind of privately run extra-curricular activities which would be able to afford (and willing to comply with) the accreditation requirements of the vetting scheme.  Whilst by no means claiming to be the first to come up with it, I've not seen this point made before in the course of this debate.

By Alex Deane

Posted by on Dec 13, 2009 in Databases | 3 Comments


  1. FaustiesBlog
    13th December 2009

    I don’t believe for one moment that this watered down version is here to stay. Should Labour win the general election, the virulent version will be back, with a vengeance.
    Labour won’t promise to repeal it because it hopes that the bill will survive the Tories’s time in power – after which time, Labour will augment it.
    Labour opines that it is degrading for people to have to seek alms from charities – unless they are state-controlled.

  2. Gareth
    13th December 2009

    I can’t for the life of me fathom the change for authors. I know Philip Pullman was a vocal critic of the plan (and agree with him about what the scheme represents) but to be so specific in the changing of it is bizarre. They just haven’t got a clue. There is no credible argument for authors being removed from the scheme while so many others remain covered by it.
    1. The vetting scheme would not have prevented the Soham murders – Huntley befriended the girls through his girlfriend.
    2. In general it will not prevent first offences nor catch those who have offended without detection. Worse, it may have the opposite effect – will people be less mindful of suspicious behaviour by dint of someone having been vetted?(If the nanny state does our thinking for us we stop doing it ourselves.)
    3. Pullman is spot on in saying it creates a ‘trust no one’ culture.

    14th December 2009

    Labour will extend it to cover everyone should they win the election, the thought of control and another lovely database is just to good to miss.
    After all we were promised a vote on Europe, which never happened, so they can not be trusted.