back to article Government swiftly backpedals on vetting scheme

The Vetting Database is in trouble: that’s official. Or rather, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), it most definitely is not. That is why Ed Balls, Secretary of State at the DCSF, is absolutely NOT calling for "a review". Rather, in a letter to Barry Sheerman, Chair of the …


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  1. TeeCee Gold badge

    Translation required.

    ".....a sure-fire vote-winner has less support than they expected."

    I think this really means: "A knee-jerk political reaction designed to please readers* of the Daily Mail has been rubbished by the, er, Daily Mail.".

    *It may be the right word, but it *feels* wrong in context. Any suggestions?

  2. Nomen Publicus

    More pointless waste and intrusion

    It's an impossible task - no vetting will ever detect the *first* and subsequent undetected offences and if we could spot pedos by their everyday behaviour there wouldn't be a problem anyway.

    Waste of money and gives people who don't understand the problem false hopes.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What information are they looking at?

    It would seem that my assessment will be based on my medical records (drug use), interviews with past girlfriends (sexual history) and my Amazon wish list (favourite films).

    So paracetamol, grateful and Terminator. Do I pass?

    Paris, because she has had more screenings than I have had hot dinners.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This is a load of BS

    "the case worker will examine..."predisposing factors", such as "those factors relating to an individual’s interests or drives"; "cognitive factors", such as "strong anti-social beliefs"; and "behavioural factors", including "using substances or sex to cope with stress or impulsive, chaotic or unstable lifestyle. Drug use, sex life, favourite films".

    So anything and everything an applicant is interested in would be under the microscope. As would "cognitive factors", whatever they are. "Favourite films" - what difference does it make if I prefer Psycho to Snow WHite?!?! This is all enough to lead me to have "strong anti-social beliefs" - if you include hating the government as an anti-social belief.

  5. Steve X

    I see the plan now

    So, "using sex to cope with stress" will get people banned from contact with children?

    Clearly the government's plan is to stop people having sex (nasty, durty stuff) at all. Then, of course, there will be no more children, which guarantees 100% child safety. As a bonus the non-children won't emit any CO2, nor consume any fossil fuel, so the UK future energy problems are solved. A masterstroke. And since it will be 18 years before these non-children become non-voters it won't be a problem for the current government, many of whom are soon to become non-MPs anyway.

    What will all the bureautwats do then, though?

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Quote: three formal contacts within a three month period – even with different vulnerable groups - would count.

    Cool. This means _ALL_ MPs need to be vetted. They end up visiting that much schools in the run-up to each election. It is also easy to force - just set your lawyer on any LEA that has not requested a vetting for an MP visiting your child's school. I definitely will (nothing, personal, just happen to "love" the local LEA).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    "Predisposing factors

    such as those relating to individuals interests". Thought police, says me. Obviously anon.

  8. The Original Ash

    Well, I'm screwed.

    Despite four years wworking with Primary School children without a bad word said about me, no doubt I'll be "restricted" under this scheme because:

    - I've watched "A Clockwork Orange" and found it an interesting insight into improper government intervention into individual's private life (Ironic?) and not a debauched perv-fest which should have all copies burned.

    - I played Doom at around the same time as the Columbine kids played Doom

    - I spend a lot of time playing WoW, and therefore not in the physical company of others

    - I am witty and charming, and therefore engender trust in others (God forbid that should actually help me do my job, though).

    They can't scrap this idea fast enough. It's total rubbish.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ISA and CRB checks

    Comments on the need to continue with CRB checks given that ISA is a simple "yes/no" gets to one of the problems with the new scheme. A few months back I was speaking to a Church Diocesan secretary (who is responsible for handling all the Diocese CRB checks) as to how "negative" CRB results were handled (mainly because when our church had discussed CRB checks with seeminly no concern for any confidentiality and I asked how they would hanle a negative response and was told "well that's not going tohappen is it"). Her response was that while it was possible to get a result that clearly indicate the person must not be allowed to work with children (though she agreed that its unlikely now that people in this category would attempt a CRB check) the most likely issue was examples like a CRB result that showed no child protection issues but (and this is the example she gave) revealed a history of dangerous driving convictions in which case the result of the CRB check would probably be to say that the person was ok to work with children but an instruction that the Church was in no circumstance to use that person to drive children anywhere.

    Given that the whole issue has just blown up over whether people driving children around need to be vetted then the idea that ISA is a benefit because it removes the need for a CRB check may actually be counterproductive as it removes information that while not directly child protection related in general may, by the nature of the specific role involved be very relevant.

  10. dunncha

    I refuse to prove I am not guilty

    I like a drink

    I like a smoke

    I like to play Quake Live Online

    I like to look at porn.

    I sometimes get annoyed

    I sometimes shout..................

    but I love my own children and respect the others around me.

    I am normal and refuse to submit to your categorising

  11. Number6
    Big Brother

    It's not paranoia... etc.

    The government, and DSCF in particular, seem to have an obsession with safeguarding, to the exclusion of everything else. They don't care that children will be denied the chance to be children and do fun things, merely that no harm can come to them until they're 18 and have to find their own way in the world. In reality, we know that there will always be casualties as under-resourced government departments struggle under the weight of bureaucracy. Baby P and Victoria Climbie are two high-profile examples of this where, even with all the information,, the system still failed.

    Therefore we need a sensible balance, which Balls did at least manage to understand, the problem being that his version of balance appears to be far from that of rational members of the public. Yes there will be unsavoury incidents, but proper education is the answer, not more regulation. Teach parents to help their children talk through things openly, to help avoid the culture of secrecy and fear that paedophiles attempt to create.

    On a related note, the attempt at regulating home education is subject to protests this week, with activities all over the country to draw attention to a similar nasty registration scheme that DCSF wants to inflict on home educators. Next it will be compulsory welfare home visits for all under-5s, then it wil be all children visited over the long summer holiday, lest their long time away from school be used for evil intent.

  12. AC 4


    surely the whole thing is absolute rubbish? A pdo looking to start their campaign of grossness surely will tip up with a clean bill of health, be given full access to the children and not get questioned as it'll have no history?

  13. Apocalypse Later

    There oughta be a law

    As usual, this intrusion is the fault of the very people who were howling for it to happen. When will the public understand that calling for new laws and restrictions on other people will inevitably come back to impact them. There are no other people, just us.

    Remember when people were complaining that every potential house buyer had to pay for his own surveyor's report? That lead to the current expensive and useless house seller's information pack that we all have to pay for (if you think only the seller pays, you don't understand economics), but you still need a surveyor's report as well. Naturally the government threw in all the extra red tape they could think of; they are government after all. Having a mandate from the public was an opportunity to slip in their own agenda, and of course they lost the original objective along the way.

    We have to stop calling for draconian measures to be taken against others. They are inevitably applied against everyone. You think the government should regulate banker's pay? Think it through.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He doesn't speak for me or you

    Independent Safeguarding Authority? Sir Roger Singleton? Another fake proxy to give approval on behalf of the parents who don't!!

    It seems to me that ISA has no standing on the matter, because the people who disagree with the CRB checks didn't appoint him as their representative. He is of course not independent, he is an appointee! It's like the ID check thing:

    Pilots: "We will not be force to take ID cards"

    Data Protection Commissioner: "I have grave doubts about this ID card for pilots"

    Government: "We will address these concerns"... (talks to Data Protection Commissioner rather than pilots)

    Government: "We have addressed the concerns and now the data protection commissioner agrees it is ok"

    Data Protection Commissioner: "I had my doubts, but I have been totally reassured and while I'm at it, lets take DNA samples too and do Extended Background Checks because they flay a plane that may contain children!"

    In effect the government substitutes a fake representative in place of the objecting party, then addresses the fake complaints of that objecting party instead of the real complaint.

    This sounds like the same thing Ed Balls is doing here. He's already tried the 'blame someone else' trick..... blaming the report when the report says it is unlikely to fix Soham because the kid snatcher didn't even work at the school!

    Does he understand, that by creating a set of people who are vetted and approved, he is creating a huge *unapproved* set of people who must be excluded from interacting with children. i.e. the Children as freaks unable to deal with social interactions because all their social interactions with adults are adults walking away trying to avoid them!

    Roll forward 20 years and you'll end up with a (more) socially dysfunctional Britain than today, you think it's bad when neighbours will call the police rather than ask someone to turn down their stereo, wait till 20 years from now when this anti social law has done its damage.

  15. Peter Day

    Back-pedaling or U-turn

    It seem the chickens are coming home to roost.

  16. Dan 10


    "'those factors relating to an individual’s interests or drives'; 'cognitive factors', such as 'strong anti-social beliefs'; and 'behavioural factors', including 'using substances or sex to cope with stress or impulsive, chaotic or unstable lifestyle. Drug use, sex life, favourite films.'"

    Someone please, please tell me that the anti-vetting campaigners (or an El Reg hack) has over-sensationalised this!

    *HOW* would they know about things like your interests, beliefs, sex life or favourite films? There isn't a record somewhere of the fact that I like martial arts, Kill Bill and Sin City ("Ooh, too violent, no job for me then").

    Can't help thinking that the easiest way to find out people's interests is to buy the consumer purchase patterns from the likes of Nectar or Tesco Clubcard. Cash-only transactions, anyone?

    So, how long until they start lobbying ISPs for data logs? That's the other logical way of finding out this stuff. ("Oh, you like p0rn? You won't be teaching any kids then!")

    Combine this with an unfounded allegation, via the enhanced CRB 'soft data' farce, and no-one will be innocent of anything.

    Right, that's it. I've not been motivated so far towards things like encryption for everything, but IF this stuff is true, then it really is time to start covering your tracks. Cash-only, encrypted comms, you name it.

    Note also that the traits above, e.g. chaotic lifestyle, drugs etc, would be deemed as hugely relevant by most employers, not just ones involving kids. So the near-apocalyptic view by a poster yesterday that ALL employers would only recruit off the vetted DB comes MUCH closer to reality. Cue a 2-tier society; 'valids' and 'invalids', just like Gattaca.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    How the scheme will fail ...

    Bearing in mind the new scheme deals with "soft" data, then somebodys position is absolutely irrelevant. Whilst you can be 99.9999% sure a fully-sworn police officer has no CRB issues, you cannot say the same of the "soft" data that may surround them. Or MPs come to that.

    So there is no logical concept of "exempted" roles.

    Wait till policemen and the like start failing ISA vetting ... it won't be dropped fast enough.

  18. Paul Gomme

    Sign the petition - it's at...

    Naturally, in doing so, you may notice increased incidents of black helicopters flying over your house...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Hooray for John Ozimek!

    More excellent work from John Ozimek. Give him a knighthood!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ISA and CRB checks

    "Her response ....the most likely issue was examples like a CRB result that showed no child protection issues but (and this is the example she gave) revealed a history of dangerous driving convictions in which case the result of the CRB check would probably be to say that the person was ok to work with children but an instruction that the Church was in no circumstance to use that person to drive children anywhere."

    So the court decides that his driving license isn't worth taking away, yet she gets to decide not just if that should be a lifetime ban on driving children, not based on the evidence or testimony in court, based on a note in the record and some point score. Also at her whim she gets to decide whether he should even be allowed near children even if he isn't to drive them?

    And why should this information be provided IF HE'S NOT BEING HIRED AS A DRIVER? If he was being hired as a driver, then his driving license would be provided and insurance required, which would show the problem.

    Worse, the proposal is to include soft information, i.e. unsubstantiated accusations, and secret information, i.e. libel, because if they could be substantiated then they wouldn't need to be secret!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Why not just vet everyone, and be done with it.

    Then, when the tragically inevitable happens, it can be proven to be a waste of everyone's time and money.

    Think of the kids, won't you, that after school football club that never get's formed on that dodgy estate, because the prospective coach is worried that he was cautioned once for smoking a spliff.

    Let the kids amuse themselves instead, bothering the elderly and getting caught up in gangs.

    I don't know what bothers me most about all this, the intrusive pointlessness of it all, the obscene waste of money, or the Orwellian progression.

  22. John Ozimek

    The unasked question

    In the course of interviewing for this piece, I shocked one Children's charity by asking the unaskable: what value would they put on a child's life...especially given the expense and social disruption that this system might cause. Do they genuinely believe that ANY cost is justifiable to save one child's life?

    Should they be costed as adults are? Or should different rules apply?

    Any thoughts? Genuine interest in how people believe this question can or should be asked...and answered.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of Niemöller......

    "First they wanted CCTV cameras, and I said nothing as I had been scared into it as a victim of crime....

    Then they forced an ID card on me, and I took it as I was not able to get served a jar at the pub......

    Then they wanted to see my internet traffic, and I let them as I had nothing to hide......

    Then they wanted to vet me, and I had to to keep my job.....

    I failed the vetting because I surfed for porn, and now have no job, no money, no wife and kids, no internet, no beer, and no privacy......"

  24. Chris Arnold
    Big Brother

    @ Dan10

    El Reg hasn't made any of this "soft inteliigence" up:

    Sections 4, 5 and 6

  25. Anonymous Coward

    What a Sly Trick!

    "He stressed the minimal burden that the new vetting scheme will impose on the average citizen. However, he agreed that there might be some scope for re-adjusting "the line that separates those situations that should be covered from those that should be excluded".

    So he is instructing Sir Roger Singleton, chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), to check the Government has drawn the line in the right place – and to report back by the beginning of December."

    The trick here is to respond to the public outcry as if it's really only about where the line is drawn. That's the government choosing the battle it wants, so even if it "loses", it still wins its war. It can retreat to a more "reasonable" position, but it still has its Vetting and Barring Sham, its "Independent" "Safeguarding" Authority. The real battles that need to be fought then get avoided. The government still has its oppressive, Orwellian scheme of disregarding people's innocence "just to be on the safe side" and all that.

    Never let your enemy choose the battlefield.

    Campaigners, opponents, etc, need to loudly make the point that this isn't just about how many people will be affected by the scheme, but also about the nature of the scheme itself.

    For example, a lot of very loud noise needs to be made about how "soft intelligence" is to be used. And when the government and the ISA respond by pointing out that the "soft intelligence" doesn't come from just anybody, but from police, the CRB, and various other authorities, the question needs to be asked, and asked recursively: where do they, in turn, get their "soft intelligence"? Chase it back to the origins, and show how the whole network of authorities acts as a libel laundering operation. Ultimately, the "soft intelligence" does originate from anybody who provides it to any of the relevant authorities the ISA then relies upon. It's practically a formalised system of trial by rumour.

    Ed Balls and the ISA need to be called on this. If we let them set the agenda (which is what they're trying to do by focussing on where the line is drawn on whether or not vetting is needed), then they will set the agenda that leaves them winning by default. They must be challenged on the rest of it.

    I'm going to have a look at the ISA website to see what interesting things I can find there:

  26. mmiied

    @john ozimek

    I beleve the army had a prive for each solider logicley a child is worth less as they are untrained and under equiped

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Uneasy times

    ...Create all sorts of idiocy and blatant danger for ordinary people. Sadly the rise and rise of the Great Paedogeddon™ has marked an unstoppable thirst for bad law and tabloid-style mob-handedness.

    Still, looking on the bright side, all this protest over the vetting scheme, coupled with a few recent public utterances from the likes of IWF and CEOP have all combined to rid us of a few well rehearsed myths about 'stranger danger' (a complete red herring in and of itself). We now know (because 'the experts' have had to admit it) that the overwhelming majority of sexual abuse against children is committed by adults or others already known to the victims and their families... Roger Singleton (ISA) confirmed that as a known and accepted fact on Ch4 News only last night. Very emphatically.

    Which does kinda beg the question - what - or, more specifically, who - is the new vetting scheme for? If we know - and the experts appear to confirm it - that the overwhelming numbers of children sexually assaulted are attacked by adults or others already known to them... I just don't get it. When looked at like this, the new scheme appears to be nothing less than a 'certificate' for every relative, youth worker or family friend to hold up as proof they are not a nonce. If you don't have such a certificate...

    I 'regularly' go to stay with a very old friend (who happenes to be Child Protection Officer) and his wife and young son. I have known this friend for over 25 years. His son is just 13. I'm starting to feel very uneasy about my visits. I'm starting to think perhaps I'm gonna need a certificate from the ISA proving my credentials as a non-kiddy-fiddler before I can feel secure about being left alone with the boy. Or perhaps I should just stay away from now on, despite the fact I enjoy a good, healthy relationship with the boy..? How will I know whether or not I'm liable for a 5K fine if I don't get myself 'approved' by a Government list..?

    I thought NuLabour said the idea was the create a society 'at ease' with itself..? Did I get that wrong..?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The unasked question

    The price of any life should not be one's own freedom, after all, without freedom what is life worth?

    As to whether a child's life is worth more than that of an adult, NO.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Re: The unasked question

    Oh, please do ask that kind of question! Please ask the government, the ISA, etc, etc.

    One idea might be to quote Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnado's: "If the vetting and barring scheme stops just one child ending up a victim of a paedophile then it will be worth it."

    Then ask whoever you're asking if they agree with that. If they do, ask if it's worth it if the cost is two children's lives in other ways. After all, a cost of £170m has been touted for this scheme (and that's probably not the total cost - 11m times £64 is over £0.7bn). How many children's lives could be saved in other ways if that money was spent in those other ways instead? How many opportunities to save children's lives are being forgone for this Vetting and Barring Scheme? Is it worth it, just to save one, single child from abuse?

    Would you really let two children die just to stop one being abused?

    This is basically about the Broken Window Fallacy:

    When accused of trying to reduce the value of a child's life and welfare to just a monetary value, just point out that it's really a matter of comparing a child's life with a child's life, treating all children as being equal. Keep asking: should that £170m be spend saving just one child from abuse, or should it be spent saving more children in a variety of ways?

    Pressing the Broken Window angle further, there's also the stuff a lot of people are going on about when it comes to deterring volunteers, lost opportunities to benefit children in various ways as people are put off by Vetting and Barring, as you've already said. I'm beginning to think there could be a lot of mileage in the Broken Window angle.

    There's also the question of what sort of future we're building for today's children. Is it worth condemning them to adulthoods spent in some kind of Orwellian nightmare just for the sake of keeping them safe while they're still children and teenagers?

    Another approach, if they agree with Martin Narey, is to invite them to publicly call for the installation of State-monitored CCTV in every room of every home. After all, the majority of abuse - sexual and otherwise - takes place in the privacy of the home. Abusers exploit and abuse that domestic privacy to hide the abuse. Such a truly Orwellian extreme might seem, well, extreme, but "if it saves even just one child from abuse..."

    When they refuse to support such a scheme (which undoubtedly would stop at least some abuse), ask them why they're taking the side of child abusers. Turn the tables on them. Give them a dose of their own medicine. See how they start pleading for reason, for "striking a balance", etc. Then press them on what they mean by "striking a balance", ask them if they really believe it's acceptable to forego opportunities to stop child abuse in the name of respecting the rights of adults - when it's some of those adults who are abusing those children. Be ruthless!

    And if they point out that such intrusive CCTV would deprive the children themselves of privacy? Well, just ask how that's really any different to State intrusion by social workers, the family courts, etc. And don't forget, "nothing to hide, nothing to fear."

    Go on, John, give them a taste of their own medicine. Be ruthless, give 'em hell!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The unasked question, False dichotomy

    I reckon that's a false dichotomy. The rozzer in charge of Soham pointed out:

    "Retired Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson said that “no amount of legislation, record keeping or checking” could prevent future murders of children by paedophiles. He accused ministers of creating a state of paranoia after the deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002. "

    As I see it, it's all an interconnected system. You can check everyone, but for each angry alienated person you CORRECTLY refuse a job, you'll create 1000 angry alienated people WRONGLY refused a job. Those people have kids and you are destroying people lives based on hysterical irrational fears.

    It's not a sliding scale, refuse-more-people-jobs vs more-kids-alive, they may actually be destroying many more lives and creating many more alienated loners by their actions.

  31. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The world gone mad

    Ms Appleton adds: "the case worker will examine... 'predisposing factors', such as 'those factors relating to an individual’s interests or drives ... favourite films"

    Do you think I should not mention Bugsy Malone in my list of favourite films ?

    Heaven help those who have a copy of Lollita and admit to it.

  32. Bumbling Fool

    This has to be a wind up?

    "the case worker will examine... 'predisposing factors', such as 'those factors relating to an individual’s interests or drives'; 'cognitive factors', such as 'strong anti-social beliefs'; and 'behavioural factors', including 'using substances or sex to cope with stress or impulsive, chaotic or unstable lifestyle. Drug use, sex life, favourite films."


    So you have some 'case-worker' making a moral judgement on a person's lifestyle - on what basis?

    predisposing factors?

    cognitive factors?

    behavioural factors?

    And how in the name of holy f**k are they going to get this information?

    What professional qualifications or experience will the 'case worker' have for forming an assessment based on such information?

    What is the evidence anyway that the existence of such 'factors' necessarily imply that an individual is a danger to kids or others?

    My flabber has been well and truly gasted. I knew this scheme was half-cocked - but this is absolutely unbelievable. The ramifications and implications of this are really quite sinister.

  33. Graham Bartlett


    And what was the answer, John...? For most charities AFAIK the problem is not that there's too few rules already, it's that there's too little effort put into enforcing them. So little Jimmy/Janey gets sent back from the hospital with the abusive father (or mother) who put him/her there in the first place.

    Someone further up really nailed it. The problem is that social workers are so overloaded already, they can't deal adequately with the caseloads they've already got. If the government decides to put this scheme in place *and* funnels an extra billion to child welfare services to do the job properly, then great. But if they expect the people already on the ground to implement it with no new money, they're simply deluded.

    Because we already have absolute proof that the system is currently only failing because it's under-funded, the answer to "how much is a child's life worth?" is "more than the government is spending right now". And no amount of new legislation or words in Parliament or in print will solve the problem of too few social workers with too many vulnerable children.

  34. Shakje

    @John Ozimek

    I don't know if I could answer that question to be honest. I pasted in your comment and was going to answer it in parts, but found myself contradicting myself. The reason it's such a difficult question to ask (I think) is because people skew it the wrong way, and instead of trying to answer it, try to answer "do you think your own kids are worth more than an adult life" which just blows it right out of the water. If I thought my son was in danger and something could save him, I wouldn't be able to put an upper limit on what I was willing to spend to save him, so is it really fair to put a value on saving other people's childrens' lives?

    I fully understand that there has to be a value in order to judge the benefits of a system, but I don't know if I can come up with a good answer as to what it's worth. I guess, personally, I think that all human life should be protected as much as possible, and children have more life in them, so should be protected more (bear in mind I'm just meandering through my thoughts here), but the way I'd probably try and value it would be, would the economic impact of a system damage more lives than it would help? And I guess I'd use the same idea of more life.

    So say a child of 6 is saved but a man of 66 is killed, it could be said to be a success. If a child of 10 dies, but two 16 year olds are saved, it's also a tragic success. I think you could say it's a success partially, but continue to strive for perfection, to avoid death at all. Bleh, I really am just rambling now, especially because then I don't know how I would value children who were going to die within a few years.

  35. Dan 10


    @Chris Arnold

    Thanks for confirming what I thought - not very reassuring though!

    @John Ozimek

    I don't think that's the right question. It's like asking how badly I need food in order to justify battery-farmed chickens - the two are not intrinsically linked, since I choose to buy free-range chicken. A poor analogy perhaps, but the point is that your question assumes that the vetting DB, in it's current intended form, is the only viable way forward.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @John Ozimek

    >So say a child of 6 is saved but a man of 66 is killed, it could be said to be a success.

    This is one big mistake, you are assuming the child will not grow up to be a serial killer and that the adult has nothing worth living for.

    Just consider a 6 year old Adolf Hitler against a 66 year old Oppenheimer* and then tell us if you'd consider the trade off to have been a success. On the other hand there must be many Japanese that would be happy with it.

    Life is life, fullstop. Until a life has been lived then you cannot say that one life is worth more than another, or more correctly that one life contributed more than another.

    *I know he died at 62 but that is irrelevant to the point of the argument.

  37. Bumbling Fool

    @the unasked question

    There are a few hidden assumptions that I reckon proponents of the new scheme will jump to when answering this question.

    Firstly, that the proposed system **will** actually save lives

    Secondly, that it is the **optimal** system

    Thirdly, the scheme brings only positive benefits

    Fourthly, no child will be harmed as a result of the implementation of the scheme.

    Let's imagine the scenario where someone has to undergo vetting, fails and loses his job. No longer able to afford mortgage payments his house is going to be re-possessed, his marriage is under strain etc etc.

    There have been tragic cases where some people snap in these kinds of conditions and end up doing something very bad - like killing their wives and children and then themselves.

    So in the interests of saving these lives maybe the scheme should be scrapped?

    Isn't saving one child's life worth it?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much is a life worth?

    From the point of view of government policy, when you don't know anything about the people whose lives may or may not be saved, and there's no high-profile political or emotive issue to distort people's judgement, the answer is about half a million pounds.

    So, if there is a proposal for some kind of health screening that will cost X million pounds a year and save Y lives a year, then, if X/Y is much less than 1/2 it will probably be implemented, but if X/Y is much bigger than a 1/2 it will probably be rejected (assuming politicians keep out of it and there is no bribery and corruption, etc).

    There is absolutely no way the Vetting Database makes economic sense as a way of saving lives. So maybe it increases the quality of life? No, rather the opposite, in fact.

  39. John Ozimek

    Personal vs. State Value

    Interesting...guess the question of a life value instantly deconstructs into what value do you place personally on your child - say if they had a life-threatening illness, how much of your own life/resource/money would you sink towards trying to cure them.... would you go into bankruptcy, f'rinstance...or are there some hard-hearted souls out there who would say this far - and no further?

    Then there is the value a state imposes.

    The end cost of the vetting base is likely to be near £1 billion.

    If it saves just one child's life, is that worth it (as Martin Narey of Barnardo's seems to think).... many respirators, ICU's, etc., etc. could we buy for that money. Basically, what we spend is not an absolute, but a trade-off...and I think maybe the question boils down to what PREMUM would we spend to save a child's life over any other.

    Or how much would we take away from other services in order to preserve a child.

    A wholly neutral policy would say... every adult is worth spending up to £900k for (a figure close to that used for Transport)...and the same figure would apply to children.

    On that basis, the Vetting Base would need to save something like 1100 lives to be worth putting up. But for other purposes, we use higher values. Maybe we say £500k for an OAP... £1m for an adult and...£2 m for a child?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It may not be the 'intention' but let's see what the result will be

    Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 15th September 2009 10:55 GMT has it spot on, if you don't like a teacher or the decision the ref made in your sons football match, just start the rumour and the ISA will do the rest.

    The ISA will also reduce the number of real abusers are take to court. If one of the key purposes of the crimial justice system is to prevent the perpitrator from doing harm then the ISA is a simple and effective way of doing this without the need of pesky issues like: evidence, trial, jury, judge, rehab, treatment, parole and reintegration into sociaty (in the utopian view of our justice system of course)

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @How much is a life worth?... half a million pounds.

    I think the problem is the currency used, you say half a million pounds, but I think it should be measured in one of two currencies:

    1. About 100 votes.

    2. About 1 favourable newspaper headline

    Lets not kid ourselves that this was intended as anything but a way to turn bad headlines into good ones. It's backfired sure, but that's because they has piss poor judgement, and couldn't resist the urge to turn a background check into a 'good-citizen-as-defined-by-a-NuLabour-nanny' check.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Rights of Busybodies

    In one of the Convention on Modern Liberty videos, Tony Benn said something that, for me, really captured an essential part of liberty: "People said, 'Who gave him the right to do that to me?'"

    I think an essential part of why so many people have such a dislike for these kinds of authoritarian schemes is that it comes down to an essential inequality of rights. For example, what right does the busybody have to decide what's in the best interests of the child that the parents themselves don't have? Who has the right to give those busybodies such rights, and, in doing so, to deny the parents themselves those same rights? If the parents themselves don't have those rights, who else does?

    As I understand it, an essential concept - if not the central, fundamental concept - in liberal democracy (or democratic liberalism, or whatever you want to call it,) is the idea that as each individual will naturally, and rightly, object to this kind of authoritarian hypocrisy, the majority of individuals will therefore democratically oppose authoritarianism in favour of true liberty.

    When we're talking about this Vetting and Barring Scam/Sham/Scandal, we're talking about bureaucrats (or whatever they want to call them) exercising rights to decide that others are therefore denied. Who gives them the right to decide who is and is not fit to work with children and vulnerable adults? Supposedly, we, the people, do, through parliament - so it goes back to the sham of "democracy" that the government relies on for its claimed democratic legitimacy. (I still remember, in the early years of this New Labour government, Labour ministers claiming to be doing the "will of the people" as a justification for ramming their legislation through parliament.)

    What people need to realise, as Apocalypse Later pointed out, is that when people call for other people to be subjected to vetting, it's not just other people who will be subjected to it, but the people calling for it as well. Apocalypse Later said, "There are no other people, just us." Putting it another way, we're all other people. There's no "them and us": we're all "them"; "they" are us.

    What people need to realise is that when they call for what amounts to the abolition of the rights of innocent people to be treated as innocent - that's what the presumption of innocence essentially is - it's their own rights to be treated as innocent that they're calling to have abolished. It should be no surprise when, as Apocalypse Later explained, they find that they themselves are being treated with suspicion, prejudged "just to be on the safe side", and so on.

    We need to cultivate a culture, in our society, of stopping and thinking of ourselves as being the targets of what we're calling for. When we want people to be presumed guilty, "just to err on the side of caution, for the sake of the children," we need to stop and think about how we ourselves will find it when we're being presumed guilty.

    (This is also a tremendous opportunity for the Lib Dems to evangelise, to spread the Lib Dem message of liberal democracy. I hope they don't waste it!)

    So, when and where are the public protests to begin?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I <3 you

    "The origins of the vetting database lie in the perceived need to prevent "another Ian Huntley"."

    This particular bit never gets coverage anywhere and when asked the lying basterds have the audacity to say that it will.

    As to the "is it worth it"

    I suspect that the billions that shall be spent as years roll by would have been better invested in improved social care and awareness training in industries closely related to children. Spotting the early signs of abuse would be far more helpful then hopping you've blocked all the bad people.

    The idea that sexual preferences are taken into account isn't new they've been wanting to ban people they view as perverted from working with normal people for sometime (which makes me laugh if you've ever met mental health care nurses, those guys are freaky awsome lol.)

    All another database will do is drain money on magic beans creating the illusion of safety where none exists and reinforcing the idea that there is a massive problem where there is not. The lies from government and vested interest groups is amazing (especially in relation to the Huntley case) and the fact that most Journalists are such sock puppets they don't pull them up on the blatent lies.

    Amazing, but as I've said society is broken, and this is just another example of how were breaking it even more. No trust without a badge.

  44. John Murgatroyd

    So, no musicians cleared then ?

    So that means that no musicians will be cleared then ?

    After all:




    Three-time losers ?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @It may not be the 'intention' but let's see what the result will be

    "If one of the key purposes of the crimial justice system is to prevent the perpitrator from doing harm then "

    I prefered it when the criminal justice system was about convicting and punishing criminals and it was the local communities job to make life nice for other members of the community.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    about £4.50/ lb

    double if it's organic.

  47. Daniel Hutty
    Black Helicopters

    @AC, "This is a load of BS"

    "... what difference does it make if I prefer Psycho to Snow WHite?!?!"

    Well, if they're vetting for both killers and kiddie-fiddlers, I guess either of those would flag you up - and having both on your list? Instant "regulation"!

  48. asiaseen

    The quickest way,

    I suspect, to kill off this nonsense is to start challenging those wonderful people who are members of ACPO on how many policepersons in their respective forces have been cleared. In parallel, I'm sure that there must be many who wold be only too willing to volunteer soft intelligence about their least favorite coppers - it doesn't have to be based in fact, rumour is sufficient to thin the ranks to a miniscule blue line.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Thank god for the meja

    They (the meja) might have got us into this mess but now they are pressing ministers and the ISA about this bollocks scheme and the result is rapid backtracking. I have a crb check - it's rubbish and when you pin people down about it everyone agrees. All is says is that no criminal record is held but the applicant. The result is that the CRB check in itself becomes a stamp of approval and eyes are probably taken off the ball so to speak, as a result. When I entered youth work 30 years ago I believe that there was a cursary police check undertaken, however as a team we checked each other put our own boundaries in place. It seemed very effective to me.

    The ISA is going to be a collosal failure. It will criminalise many people for not being compliant or blight them when the get barred for something of little consequence. It will not protect children, indeed it will end up having the opposite effect. Adults will AVOID children who will probably at worst end up with little contact with well meaning adult role models. What they will get is what they get now... professional - arms length intervention and procedure based relationships. These kids will grow up well and truly fucked!!

    BTW I know this because my job brings me in contact with public sector staff who work with children and young people. They really go for this dogma, they love it. the number of times 'safeguarding' is mentioned per sentance with this lot is unbelievable. but hey,,,, another useful meeting/training event to attend to review safeguarding strategy or to training about partnership working for child protection to get through the week?

  50. Christoph

    Enormous damage for zero result

    "'cognitive factors', such as 'strong anti-social beliefs'" - So anyone who objects to this scheme will fail.

    "chaotic or unstable lifestyle" - We only want teachers who have never done anything else but be teachers. We definitely don't want anyone with lots of experience of life.

    Huge numbers of false positives, people kicked out of jobs or denied them for no reason.

    And no effect whatever on what it was designed to prevent. If someone has a driving urge to attack children, removing the easy options to get at them is not going to do anything more than slow them slightly while they look for another route. Unless you keep every child locked up all the time, someone driven and determined will always be able to get to some child somewhere.

  51. MnM

    Perverted algebra

    The case worker will examine predisposing factors, cognitive factors and behavioural factors.

    By what rhyme or reason has this categorisation been made? The factors are obscure, vague, and not mutually exclusive. Hardly the type of test that the ISA's 'trained bureaucrats' (presumably experienced Trisha-watchers) can be expected to apply consistently or with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The check was of course going to be highly subjective. Covering it in a layer of pseudo-science, to be practised by laymen, hardly helps. (Side issue, but it smacks of consultants.)


    As for the value of a child. I had wondered earlier what price freedom. I mean, if we lived in some state of perfect freedom, with the downside that children were acutely unsafe, what degree of freedom should be given up to improve their plight. Which begs the question, how safe should they be made? Perfectly? and what would the cost to freedom then be?

    There is no answer, of course. There's no explicit dynamic between personal freedom and child safety. Huntley, as the article said, is a case in point. Weighing up the cost as a budgeting exercise - I couldn't begin to guess, sorry. But any system can be gamed by the determined, and that has to be taken into account. This factor acts to reduce the amount it's worth spending on a safety net, without speaking to the value of a child.

    Question ducked, so putting myself in the FAIL bucket along with the 11 million porn fiends who once watched Barberella.

    @TeeCee - can't help you either! FAIL pour moi on that note too. A word for readers who don't really read is a big ask. Lookers?

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nothing to hide?

    I don't live in the UK any more, so this is largely moot to me; but the bottom line is that I would not submit to these checks because I don't trust the process. Even with a fairly unusual name, I have had mistakes in my credit records, tax records, etc. etc.

    If I were to undergo this check, there's a significant (to me) chance that I would be mistakenly identified as a problem. At that point the failure of vetting becomes a *much* larger data point than anything before it (even if that were hearsay or mistakenly attributed).

    It seems to me that the end result of this will be a much reduced pool of any kind of volunteers, chaperones, etc and that ultimately kids will suffer. For the vast majority of kids who never were in any danger this is the ultimate harm and result. A secondary effect is social change that comes around when people are treated with suspicion and distrust rather than lauded as volunteers.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Next thing....

    You'll be vetted to avoid having your own children taken away.....whether or not you've done anything wrong.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    "Independent" Safeguarding Authority?

    I've found out what "Independent" means in the name "Independent" Safeguarding Authority:

    "The Board

    The Board members will support the Chair and Chief Executive in leading the ISA. This role includes:

    * ensuring all decisions are steered by guidance from the relevant minister or sponsoring department;


    "Independent" means "doing what the government tells them". Or, to put it another way, "ensuring all decisions are steered by guidance from the relevant minister or sponsoring department".

  55. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Some possible prices per child


    Well the US lawyers for the victims and relatives at Lockerbie negotiated $10m each. I mentioned this on the cost of the IMP scheme.

    However for childre lets work the NHS idea. They'll fund a treatment if it gives 1 extra year of life and is less than c£30k.

    Average life expectancy around 74? Adults outside the family starting to get (potentially) involved from about 5 onward? So 69 x 30k = £2 070 000.

    So you pays your money and takes your pick. I note, like other posters. It would not have stopped Huntley at Soham (and ther have not been any further case exactly like Huntly in the 7 years since).

    Perfect safety in *any* walk of life is nonsense. The baby P case still fascinates me. 60 visits in 3 months and *still* they were fobbed off and fooled.

    But maybe all they had were social works without common sense or experience. Just a qualification. A dangerous combination at the best of times.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop me if you've heard this one before but...

    Presumably every sixth-former who turns 18 before they've taken their a-levels instantly becomes an adult who will. until the a-levels have finished, have regular contact with children, and thus should be barred from school until their check result comes thorugh?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Look Who's Protecting Our Rights

    Look who's protecting our rights:

    "The Chief Executive, Adrian McAllister


    His other responsibilities include: ... ensuring the ISA balances the need to protect vulnerable people with the rights of the individual.

    Adrian comes with twenty two years' experience working in the West Midlands, Merseyside and Lancashire police force - including several years as a senior detective. He was ACPO spokesperson on Disclosure and Criminal records, a role that involved close liaison with the CRB. He is a Graduate of Loughborough and Manchester Universities and holds a diploma in Applied Criminology from Cambridge University."

    Police state.

    Also, it often seems that the government, et al, like to talk about "balancing" protection and rights as if the two are somehow mutually exclusive. But you don't protect people by taking away their rights; that's just an absurd contradiction along the lines of "WAR IS PEACE", "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY", "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH". You protect people not by taking their rights away, but by respecting and protecting their rights. That's fundamental.

    This talk of "balance" also seems to be a ploy to paint objectors as unreasonable, extremist, and the like. "Balance" sounds "reasonable", in a bit of a woolly, wishy-washy kind of way, while insisting that there's no balancing to be done, that it should all be one way, sounds unreasonable, extreme, and so on. But the kinds of rights we're talking about - especially the rights of innocent people to be treated as such, rather than prejudged "just to be on the safe side" - aren't rights to be balanced in this kind of way in the first place. Either innocent people have the right to be treated as innocent, or not. There's no balancing to be done.

    What's often called "balance" is actually the abolition - perhaps by a process of on-going salami slicing - of the rights being "balanced" with so-called "protection". "Balance" is a disgusting euphemism. </rant>

  58. Red Bren

    Three formal contacts within a three month period

    So if you work in the corner shop just opposite a school, will you have to have a CRB check as you will almost certainly have to deal with children on a daily basis? And if you spot the little darlings shop-lifting, do you confront them and risk losing your job or any other employment prospects when they falsely accuse you of doing something inappropriate?

  59. Nebulo
    Big Brother

    And nobody's mentioned

    Common Purpose.

    Imagine their zealots running this system (hell, from the look of it they *designed* the system) with their usual enthusiasm for going beyond the call of duty in the cause of the destruction of society.

    Dear God, and I say that as an atheist.

    Like AC 15:35 GMT, I don't trust it one tiny bit. As someone said in a Guardian letter today, can it be long before you need a CRB check to live on a street where there is a family with children?

    BB. Not *just* watching. Listening out for malicious gossip too.

  60. pienmashfilms

    Paedofile checking MUST go ahead

    I can’t see the problem with vetting all people that have contact with children who are not their own - in a professional or semi-professional job. National statistics tell us that one in every four of us have paedophilic tendencies. So these excuses for denying children their statutory human right of protection in these areas are verging on outrageous. What is becoming of our society and what do we expect in the future from all the victims who, in the majority, move on in to completely socially dysfunctional lives? The restraining techniques used by children in care officers should also be made public. They are horrific and cause children as young as 12 to take their own lives. Google ‘Adam Rickwood & The Medomsley Heroes’ and ‘Sun Sea & Satan’ by

  61. Graham Marsden

    @The unasked question

    "Do they genuinely believe that ANY cost is justifiable to save one child's life?"

    Others have already mentioned the False Dichotomy and other fallacies, but there's also the "Appeal to Pity" underpinning this whole business, ie "how can you *possibly* argue against anything that might save a child's life?" with, of course, the implication that if you do object, you are a callous and dangerous individual...

    The fact is that, as you point out in your article, after all this time wasted and money spent, this legislation would *still* fail to prevent another Soham and will only massively inconvenience (or implicitly criminalise) the vast majority of people who would in no way harm a child.

    Pace the "Reminds me of Niemöller......" comment, it reminds me of the "vetting programme" used by the US Military in Doctor Strangelove:

    President Merkin Muffley: "General Turgidson! When you instituted the human reliability tests, you *assured* me there was *no* possibility of such a thing *ever* occurring!"

    General "Buck" Turgidson: "Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, Sir. "

    So the *real* unasked question is if (or gods forbid, when) another "slip up" happens even *after* all this vetting and barring, what will the Government and the Childrens' Charities and so on do then...?

  62. Graham Marsden

    In the news today...

    ... I've just noticed two stories:

    One is of the Rocking Horse Nursery in Plumtree having its licence suspended after allegations of sexual assault, the other is of three pre-teen boys who have been arrested after claims of sexual by two younger children.

    So, going back to the unanswered questions: 1) would the vetting scheme have prevented either of these? 2) Will the record of the second one (whether true or false) follow these three boys for the rest of their lives?

  63. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Polly Toynbee at the Graun thinks different

    "It's more fun to have a good populist rant about the death of childhood, the evils of the nanny state and the infringement of civil liberties. Commentators bask in a glowing light as protectors of eternal freedom from officialdom for parents and children. Frankly, it's a bit boring to say this is a matter of good administration. Registering will be a minor nuisance to many people, but it's not a milestone on the road to dictatorship."

    Hurr Durr! So be good citizens and register. Welcome to City 17. It is safe here.

  64. Nick Williams

    Focus on the costs, but not just the money

    John (Ozimek)

    You're pushing in the right direction by pointing out that it's delusional thinking to believe that implementing the vetting and barring scheme will only have positive benefits.

    The V+B scheme will be yet another pressure which stigmatises men who want to work (or volunteer) with children.

    It's possible to draw a straight line between press hysteria on paedophiles and the minimal number of men now going into primary school teaching. V+B is an extension of that hysteria. As the father, I can see the effect that the lack of male role models at school has on my son. This isn't some theoretical problem - it's happening, and it affects nearly every male child of primary school age in the UK. Right here and right now.

    To say (as some have done) that 'if V+B prevents the abuse of one child it will have been worth it' is shortsighted nonsense. This scheme is not going to make a significant difference to the levels of child abuse which take place in this country because the vast majority of abuse takes place in a context which will not be regulated by the kind of controls which the V+B scheme introduces. Any money spent on V+B is money which could be better spent on other child protection activities. The minimal protection which will be afforded to a tiny minority of children will be at the cost of yet further erosion of the education and development of the vast majority of other children. Inter alia, there will be a direct and measurable effect on the discipline of primary school age children (and hence the whole of the rest of the school system) as a result of an even lower number of male teachers going into primary teaching.

    It's undoubtedly too much to hope that some politician will have the balls to stand up and say the truth, so I will do it for them - occasionally we have to risk harm to the few in order for the many to benefit.

  65. ExpertSkeptic

    Thought police, competent bodies, witchhunts

    The ISA "Guidance Notes for the Barring Decision Making Process" is well worth trying to read (with a glass of whiskey, revolver or passport to hand), notably the "thought police" at paragraph 6.4.1, and the list of "Competent Bodies" who deem whether or not an "event" took place (and whose opinion cannot be challenged in the decision-making process) at Appendix C.

    Incidentally, para 4.6.10 seems to be having a fight with 6.3.1 over paraphilia.

    Who on earth peer-reviewed this document? Oliver Cromwell? And it seems to be cribbed from the Malleus Maleficarum.

  66. ForthIsNotDead
    Big Brother

    And in the future...

    "Dear child, why are you crying?"

    "I can't find my mummy"

    "Oh, well, never mind, I'm sure we can find her. What does she look like?"

    "Have you been vetted for child contact by the ISA?"




  67. Bumbling Fool

    @Paedofile checking MUST go ahead

    pienmashfilms wrote : "I can’t see the problem with vetting all people that have contact with children who are not their own - in a professional or semi-professional job."


    "So these excuses for denying children their statutory human right of protection in these areas are verging on outrageous"


    . . . . and most people would agree with you that **some** system of vetting is reasonable and appropriate and (ideally) provides **some** measure of assurance and protection.

    The main criticisms aren't to do with the principle of such a scheme - but the cack-handed and inept implementation of the bizarre system they're putting in place.

    Don't confuse the objections to THIS scheme with objections to ALL schemes.

    No-one has said that children shouldn't be protected - what is under serious question here is whether the method they've chosen actually does what it says on the tin. In fact cogent arguments have been put forward to suggest that this particular scheme may be more harmful to children in the long run.

    Ditch this scheme - come up with a better vetting solution that might actually benefit our kids - that's the general idea of the arguments here.

    The cost argument has been interesting - there are obvious upfront financial implications of this scheme - but what has been persuasively argued on here is that there are a plethora of hidden costs that have been ignored (either deliberately or otherwise).

    As one poster wrote - look up the "broken window" fallacy to see the problems with ignoring the overall cost/benefit picture.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re@Paedofile checking MUST go ahead

    Or we could stick with the one we've already got - it works well enough (when was the last child death as a result of a peadophile working with the child?) I can't actually remember any myself.

    All you can really vet for is have they commited a crime before? And are they smart enough to get past a psychometric test.

    As already pointed out the scheme wouldn't stop another "huntley" and I love the idea that people are trying to stop such things, it's impossible every few years someone shall do something more horrible then normal, it's inevitable. No matter what you do, someone can pick some kids up off the street taking them somewhere and do terrible things. No amount of checks, paranoia or fear will stop it.

    And the money wasted on this can be better spent fixing the social services and getting rid of buzztalk and focusing on the real job of detecting crime, but that would be too sensible, best to make a few new quangos, get a few new headlines, and waste a few billion pounds on something that wont help.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better use of the money

    Give the £700,000,000 to the scout/guide movement to increase the quality of life for our kids.

    Anyone know how to do a freedom of information enquiry? Remuneration packages of the ISA (and CRB) senior staff, I bet they're being paid well enough to be very determined in defence of this hare-brained scheme.

    I do know of a kids charity currently discussing whether the need for ISA is the final straw (they provide an enrichment activity for physically handicapped kids so "touching" is inevitable).

    Although I have an ECRB showing absolutely nothing on record anywhere I will use ISA as a pretext to end my volunteer youth work although the real reason is the rest of the infrastructure which prevents us doing any remotely adventurous outdoor activities.

  70. ExpertSkeptic

    Malleus, 1692, McCarthy, CPC, ISA

    The latest draft of the ISA guidelines[1] is essentially the 1692 Salem protocol but re-phrased in NewSpeak and ported to Windows. I suspect that the e-Reports of ISA barring hearings will be much the same as reports of CPCs and will read much the same as those in 1692, but with more stringent threats of penalties for disclosure. The issues will be the same: mis-interpretation of malicious, deranged or standard gossip, normal childhood scatalogical behaviour and language as being evidence of adult malfeasance, and with the each meeting resulting in progressively more widespread and lurid phantasy. (One can create a first draft of the new reports by taking the witness transcripts and contemporaneous newspaper coverage then replacing all occurrences of Satanism with paedophilia and all occurrences of indigenous population with terrorists. What you get is a climate of fear building up and manifesting itself with suspicion that one's neighbour, rather than the clan over the hills, is an immediate serious threat.)

    One of the most alarming prospects is paragraph 5.6.1: "...A barring decision can, therefore, be

    made, having regard to all the circumstances, if the ISA is satisfied that the

    events concerned happened, on the balance of probabilities, notwithstanding

    an acquittal at court...." So if you are genuinely innocent, and have had that assertion upheld in a criminal court (or family court or civil court or "other competent body", apparently), the verdict (or finding of fact) can be overturned by three bloke(tte)s in Darlington, leaving you with something like an ISA appeal (£10000???) or judicial review (£100000??) as your only recourse.


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