Feeds

Would you leave your child alone with a cabinet minister?

Govt says kids safer with politicians than authors

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

When it comes to vetting adults who may come into contact with children, there is yet again one rule for politicians, another for the rest of us.

There is much fuss in this morning’s papers over a statement by Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials trilogy, that once the government’s new vetting system is in place, he will simply stop making visits to schools. In an interview in the latest Bookseller, he says: "This is Labour's Section 28 — the implication being that no adult could possibly choose to spend time with children unless they wanted to abuse them. What will it say to children? It'll say that every adult is a potential rapist or murderer, and that they should never trust anyone."

He expresses his regret that he may never be allowed inside a school again, but adds: "I refuse to be complicit in any measure that assumes my guilt before I've done anything wrong. The proposal deserves nothing but contempt."

Mr Pullman is not alone in his refusal. Other authors who object to being vetted include Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake. According to former Children's Laureate Mrs Fine: "The whole idea of vetting an adult who visits many schools, but each only for a day, and then always in the presence of other adults, is deeply offensive."

However, spokespeople for the relevant departments – including the Home Office and Department of Children Schools and Families – appear adamant that authors should be registered on the new database and vetted accordingly.

They are not so clear on the need for their own Ministers to do so. A Spokesman for Number 10 could not confirm whether Gordon Brown was planning to be vetted. A similar response was received at the Home Office in respect of Alan Johnson, who masterminded the legislation that put this requirement in place.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health appeared unaware of the implications of this legislation and opined that vetting was for "people with access in their work". Therefore Health Secretary Andy Burnham "doesn’t need to be vetted as part of his job".

Best of all, though, was the Department of Children Schools and Families (DCSF), where a spokesman argued that Ed Balls would not need to be vetted because he "doesn’t work with children directly and in an unsupervised way". He went on: "the reason authors are required to register is because they go to the same school over and over again: familiarity means that a teacher could go out of class and leave them unsupervised, whilst a one-off visitor (such as a government Minister) would never be left alone."

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?