Members of the public are to be given the power to report anyone they suspect of posing a danger to children, under a new Government scheme.Oh, just fantastic...
People who suspect an individual of being unsuitable to work or volunteer with children will be able to refer them to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) through a form on its website. After receiving an allegation from a member of the public, the ISA will examine the available evidence and contact the person concerned to allow them to mount a defence.Mount a defence? To what? They aren't being charged with a crime, they are being accused, on the basis of an anonymous tip off, of one of the worst things anyone could ever be accused of...
Depending on the seriousness of the allegations, they could be asked to make a written statement, be interviewed over the phone or talk face-to-face to an ISA representative.I don't even know where to start...
A Home Office spokesman said that as the scheme had not yet been launched, it was difficult to say exactly how the interview process would operate, but that each allegation would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.OK, first, you have no idea how this is going to work? You are seriously proposing this as an option and you haven't even drafted out a protocol for it?
He added that if the safeguarding authority decided the allegations were unfounded, the accused person's information would be discarded.
You're either making it up as you go along, or you know full well that it will have no chance whatsoever of seeing the light of day and it's just a cynical exercise to hoik in the 'pedophiles under the bed, oh my!' crowd..
Secondly, on the 'information will be discarded', yeah. Riiiighhht....
Even the curiously uninvolved sounding Liberty spokeswoman didn't go for that:
Anna Fairclough of the human rights group Liberty said that any accusations made by individuals rather than official bodies should be "treated with circumspection" by the ISA. "In principle there's probably nothing wrong with the ISA gathering information from all sorts of sources," she said, "but obviously if an allegation is made by a member of the public, the chances of it being malicious is perhaps higher."I’m sorry...?
She thought it "unlikely" that the ISA would discard the details of the wrongly accused, but that there was no problem with this as long as the information was not passed on.
Was this person actually a member of Liberty, or did the reporter mistakenly talk to the cleaner, or something?
Oh, and another government sympathiser has come forward to support the Vetting and Barring Scheme that Phillip Pullman so bravely spoke out about last week:
However, the chief executive of children's charity Barnardo's, Martin Narey, defended the scheme.Oooh, good point Martin!
"Before I joined Barnardo's I ran the prison service, so I know a little bit about sex offenders and the unique way they plan their crimes and groom children," he said. "What they might do while under supervision in a school is not the point – their appearance in the school gives them legitimacy, and the next time they might see a child on their own it's in the park or outside the school gates, by which time they're a trusted adult."
You know who else children regularly see at school? Other parents!
Let’s get them all checked out and on the register, shall we? Maybe the daft cow at Liberty might wake up and take notice if that was proposed.
And maybe not...