UK Supremes question vetting scheme
New rules for enhanced CRB checks
Britain's top judges have warned that new background checks to vet millions of adults for contact with children carry a "real risk" of infringing human rights and undermining public confidence in protection measures.
The comments about the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) were made today as a nursery worker who lost her job because of an enhanced CRB check lost her case against the police.
Although the new Supreme Court ruled that the police were right to disclose she had once been accused of neglecting her child because it was directly relevant to her work, it sounded a strong note of caution about the ISA in its judgement.
In future, "the police must give due weight to the applicant's right to respect for her private life" the judges said, and chief constables should allow individuals to make representations before making an enhanced CRB disclosure.
They extended their concerns over government vetting to the ISA, which will call on the existing CRB system.
"The widespread concern about the compulsory registration rules for all those having regular contact with children, as proposed by the Government in September 2009, demonstrates that there is a real risk that, unless child protection procedures are proportionate and contain adequate safeguards, they will not merely fall foul of the Convention [on human rights], but they will rebound to the disadvantage of the very group they are designed to shield, and will undermine public confidence in the laudable exercise of protecting the vulnerable," wrote Lord Neuberger, one of the panel of five judges considering the case.
The nursery worker, referred to by the Court as "L", attempted to sue the Met under the Human Rights Act, arguing that the enhanced CRB disclosure had infringed her right to privacy.
Enhanced CRB checks allow disclosure of investigations that never led to a charge. They are used for occupations that involve contact with children and vulnerable people.
Although she lost, the woman's solicitor said she welcomed the judgement because it would mean more care will be taken by police in future.
Liberty also welcomed the ruling.
"The Supreme Court has thankfully brought some wisdom and balance to the current frenzy around employment vetting. At a time when more people than ever before have been made subject to CRB checks, and the police seek to hold information forever, this judgment strikes a welcome note of caution and fairness," said legal officer Anna Fairclough.
"Our children are better protected by a rational and balanced scheme than by one that disclosed gossip and rumour without safeguards."
The full judgement is here (pdf). ®
Individual with a Record
I answer that description.
Falsely accused and with a record held by Police, Social Work, NHS, Local Education Authority and who knows what other bodies.
The fact that I was innocent has no effect on the record. The fact that an Acting Senior Social Worker is, following the "matter" "no longer employed by the Local Authority" ( last seen working as an assistant to a double-glazing fitter) has no effect on the record. The fact that two paediatricians have now left the country has no effect on the record. The fact that a school nurse has been redeployed to another area has no effect on the record. The fact that two of the three teachers in hte school in question are no longer there has no effect on the record. The fact that a wpc has been removed to other duties has no effect on the record.
The fact is that when it comes to "Child Protection" matters once a "concern" has been laundered by a "professional" it acquires the status of fact and the individual about whom the "concern" has been expressed is deemed guilty. Whether or not the individual is successfully nailed by the system at the time does not affect that the fact that he or she is deemed guilty. Some groups are largely exempt from this risk -- those within the Child "Protection" system. So teachers, social workers, police officers and doctors are at much less likely to be classed as abusers because they are part of the system and therefore allegations against them are much less likely to be passed on at all.
Nothing to hide, nothing to fear
I have long criticised those sprouting the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mantra as deluded. Permitting state agencies, such as the police, to retain innuendo and downright lies is a gross abuse of power.
This government has trampled over OUR liberties, protecting our children and preventing terrorism since the day it won power. Legislation of which Stalin would have been proud became the order of the day. Then it became more intrusive, and now the early effects are beginning to show.
We MUST begin to protect our rights and liberties, yes, even for those whom we despise. We must protect the innocent and make the police remove lies and innuendo from their records, make them remove innocent people from the PNC and force them to obey the law themselves.
I shall hope that the next government starts to unravel the intrusive and unfair legislation enacted by NuLabour, that surveillance and monitoring will be removed from our lives and that Britain can be reconstructed into the once moral leader of the world.
"they will not merely fall foul of the Convention [on human rights]...
... but they will rebound to the disadvantage of the very group they are designed to shield, and will undermine public confidence"
Come on, El Reg, we *need* that bear pooping in the trees icon...!