Sunday, September 13, 2009

Keeping Children Safe - an update and round up of reaction

I wrote this piece the other day about the new requirements to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority for anyone who volunteers with children's groups. While this requirement to register for volunteers doesn't yet apply in Scotland, it soon will.

There have been a few very interesting comments in response to this article not only on this site, but on my Facebook page. With the authors' permission, I wanted to reproduce those comments here:

Sandra Grieve wrote:

"I think this blog covers all the bases. Neil, your memory serves you well, there has been a Scottish version of this for a number of years now. Disclosure Scotland is the organisation charged with carrying out checks on people who have significant access to children, they did not give birth to!

As one such person, although ... Read moresometimes it feels like the ones I gave birth to have unnecessarily, unfettered access to me, I have 'enhanced disclosures' done at least twice a year, occasionally more frequently than that. For goodness sake, I hear you say, she's never been that dangerous.

It's been too long since I was mad, bad and dangerous to know! However, I do work with children through a number of organisations and agencies, each one requires its own personal Enhanced Disclosure. I can hear the staff of Disclosure Scotland groan each time I post off the form, not her again!!

The irony is that children are predominantly and significantly at risk from people who gave birth to them, or their close relatives, so what next? Let's not even think about going there.............."

She goes on to make a very relevant point about child wellbeing:

Despite our neurotic interference in the lives of children and families, we do not fare well in the child well being department

Since I wrote my posting, I've discovered a few more excellent offerings on the same subject:

Sara shows how an unconventional lifestyle could lead to you being barred from working with children I have my own worries about that. What if you home educate or don't immunise your children? Could those departures from what is considered the "norm" lead to you being barred from helping at Brownies?

Charlotte takes this a bit futher with a detailed analysis of the guidelines under which decisions as to people's suitability will be determined. While I don't quite agree that this signifies the advent of a totalitarian regime, her posting raises brilliantly takes the guidance apart and raises some very legitimate concerns.

Costigan takes issue with Charlotte on her totalitarian comments but raises his own concerns about the system.

Jeff has also written about this and if you look at the comments, particularly the one from Ferret, you'll see that we're going to get very similar requirememts for volunteers to submit themselves for vetting next year.

Mark looks at some of the effects that the introduction of these requirements is likely to have.

Tom Harris takes the opposite view but his piece is well balanced, and he raises the spectre that now this system is in, it would be politically very difficult for a future Government to get rid of it - and points out that the Tories have made no commitment to do so, whatever they might say.

Most worrying of all, the Telegraph reports that our biggest children's charity has added its voice to the concerns about this system. When they, and Esther Rantzen, whose long association with Childline makes her an expert in the field, think a mistake has been made, we should all sit up and take notice.


subrosa said...

England does have a scheme similar to Disclosure Scotland and it's been running for around the same time as DS.

Sorry I can't find info about it right now but I'll search when I have more time.

Morgan said...

David was perusing the guidelines this morning and decided that if we had our best friend's little boy overnight, something we've been looking to do as our boys age... we'd need to be registered.

A single overnight stay, requires clearance, apparently.

Does anyone know what the _penalty_ for not registering is?

Enquiring minds needs to know...

Richard T said...

I commented on your earlier posting and I won't repeat except to emphasise that even under the rpesent disclosure checks in Scotland everything in a person's background is covered. Whilst almost all the comments I have seen focus on paedophiles, don't lose sight of the point that there are a number of other things that might make a parent think twice about entrusting their children to ssomeone such as a history of drug or alcohol misuse, dangerous drving convictions, violent behaviour. As a former Head of Personnel, I didn't do trust or reliance on what I was told by an individual.


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