Friday, 11 September 2009

Presumed Weird until Certified Otherwise

The other Today discussion that caught my interest this morning was that concerning the Independent Safeguarding Authority and (in particular) its edict that people who regularly drive children to clubs will need to be vetted. Now, I drive Master Patently to a cricket club that is also attended by the lad next door, so sometime we share lifts. So I was worried; either I need to undergo this check (prompting the response "why the **** should I?") or I will be in line for a fine, or (more likely) the lad next door will have to make his own way there.

But no; it was clarified that the check is only needed if the club asks me to do the driving, not the parent. So now I see the system not as an intrusion, but as idiotic and unworkable.

Idiotic because in what way does it make it impossible that I will fiddle with the lad next door simply because his parents ask me to drop him off, as opposed to the club? Indeed, as acknowledged in the interview, it is the adults who know or are close to the child who are most likely to abuse them. So in fact, the system misses out the group most likely to need vetting and draws an entirely artificial distinction that is inversely related to the actual risk!

It is also unworkable. Let us say, for example, that one week there is a family crisis next door, during cricket club. So they pop next door to ask us to collect, but we are out. So they phone the club to ask them to pass on the message - could I bring him home please? Now, that is ok because it is a one-off.

Next week, there is a further crisis, and I am once again out buying the Sunday paper. But the lad's parents cannot this week ask the club to ask me to bring him home, because it could then be seen as a regular weekly trip done at the request of the club. I would need to be vetted; without an ISA certificate for me, I and the club are at risk of a heavy fine. Or, to put it differently, last week there was no risk of me abusing him, but this week there is (unless I have paid a £64 extra tax).

This is not just my invention of an artificially difficult case, either. It was my immediate thought on listening to the article; how could I carry him to and from from cricket club? I concluded that, certainly, 99% of the time there would be no risk of prosecution. But given that there is no way on earth that I will risk being branded a kiddie fiddler, this means that I will not risk contravening these regulations.

Which means no lifts. Full stop. Sorry.

I do hope the ISA does stop a lot of perverts - because it is going to do a lot of harm, and if there is no benefit then it will have been a terrible mistake to have made.

(Of course, the Daily Mash has explained it all far better that I could ever)


  1. Not overreacting, are we?

    It is a one off check for those concerned. It reassures parents. I just hope clubs do not suffer from a shortage of drivers now.

  2. No, not over-reacting.

    First, the check is quite intrusive; Mrs P has had to be CRB'd and it is not trivial.

    Second, the check is an overhead. Each time, it took her about 6 weeks to get clearance. She has to visit with all her documents, and someone has to pay for it.

    Third, it is insulting. Someone volunteers, and the first reaction is to ask for a certificate proving they are not a kiddie fiddler. Then, they have to wait - not helping - until a certificate arrives saying that they are telling the truth.

    Fourth, whilst there are get-outs for private arrangements (which, as I tried to explain, mean that the most likely criminals will be missed), the very harsh penalties for non-compliance and the inevitable assumption if you are found guilty of evasion mean that people will take a cautious approach, increasing the burden correspondingly.

    Finally (for now!) it imposes inflexibility. No interim or immediate arrangements can be made, if the person standing in does not have the right piece of paper. If the appointed driver is ill on the day, you can't make a lastminute substitution because they substititue might not have been checked.

    This will make life harder for clubs helping kids. There will be fewer drivers - there is no "if" about it. That is why I said "I do hope the ISA does stop a lot of perverts" - because it will have to a lot of good if it is to justify the harm that it will inevitably cause.

  3. A couple of years ago they messed up the CRB checks during the summer. Therefore some members of staff started school unchecked. This meant (in theory at least) that they we not allowed to teach the children. So (in theory) the children should not have come to school in case their teacher was a pervert. But that would mean that they would remain on the streets instead.

    So, in order to abide by the law, children had to be out with all the street perverts, so that they weren't taught by teachers who had been teaching for years without accusation and who just 6 weeks earlier had proper clearance to work with children.

    A further worry: the primary carers of children are their parents, not the state. Apart from the point of principle here, who wants our children in the care of this Government?

  4. "So now I see the system not as an intrusion, but as idiotic and unworkable."

    So, just like all other hastily written legislation designed to be seen to be 'doing something' then?

    "I just hope clubs do not suffer from a shortage of drivers now."

    I hope they do. Not because I wish ill on the kiddiewinks, but because until we all start standing up and saying 'No! ENOUGH OF THIS!', we'll keep getting worthless, do-more-harm-than-good laws on the books.

    "A further worry: the primary carers of children are their parents, not the state."

    I truly belive changing that is their ultimate goal.

  5. >>>"A further worry: the primary carers of children are their parents, not the state."

    I truly belive changing that is their ultimate goal.<<<

    Indeed, Julia. The sex 'education' that encourages promiscuity and thus hinders commitment and marriage, the acceptance of 'alternative lifestyles', getting women into work thus separating them from their children, and so on.

    The masses have been hypnotised by rights, equality and diversity and don't see that these things are being used as weapons against them and their families.

  6. I truly belive changing that is their ultimate goal.

    A few years ago when there was discussion of whether the parents must informed before the state performed abortions on their daughters, I recall a panalist on Question Time saying that he thought not, because her parents might be (wait for it) Catholic.

    If parents lose their rights to care for the welfare of their children because some parents are Catholic, I think we can say the aim of the state is close to being achieved.