Feeds

Gov retreats on vetting database but ain't climbing down

Balls throws vetting critics a bone

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Government tinkering with the eligibility rules for the new Vetting and Barring Scheme may satisfy some critics – but the black hole of logic at the heart of the scheme has not been addressed.

This weekend saw the long-awaited report back from Sir Roger Singleton, Chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), tasked in September with giving the once-over to the regulations underpinning the vetting system and checking them for sense – or possibly identifying political bear traps and covering them over before the Minister could fall in.

The published regulations envisaged individuals having to be registered with the Vetting and Barring scheme if their contact with vulnerable groups was "frequent", "intense" or "regular".

Unfortunately, their implementation was stirring up Middle England: parents worried about their continuing right to provide lifts for the children of friends. Authors – and politicians – appeared caught by a rule that claimed contact counted even if it never occurred with the same individuals twice.

This was nonsense even within the limited logic of the scheme, which is all about regulating those circumstances where a relationship of trust could emerge. However, the need for clear and legally enforceable rules has led to this proliferation of bureaucratic detail: an attempt, in essence, to reduce relationship building to a set of civil service guidelines.

Changes proposed by Sir Roger and accepted by Education Secretary Ed Balls include:

- Changing the frequency criteria from three days in three months (monthly) to once a week, and the intensive test to four days a month or overnight

- Scrapping the rule whereby contact with different sets of individuals could count towards the definition of "frequent" contact

- Giving overseas visitors bringing groups of children into Britain a three month exemption before they are required to register

- Excluding from the registration requirement parents who host exchange visits for less than 28 days, although this is qualified by the arrangement having to have been made directly/privately with an overseas family

- A review of the minimum age for registration, and an immediate change to remove the vetting requirement from those aged up to 18 and in education (so removing the registration requirement from sixth-formers doing voluntary work, for instance).

Predictably, this abrupt U-turn - calling in a senior establishment figure at the last minute to review what government had for three years been touting as a done deal - has been welcomed by many critics. According to the BBC, Sir Roger’s review received the thumbs up from the Scout Association, teachers' union NASUWT, children's charity Barnardo's and author Philip Pullman.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
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'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
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
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.