U-turn possible over child vetting demands

By politics.co.uk staff

Government demands that parents register to allow them to take part in regular voluntary activities with children could be dropped, it has emerged.

Independent Safeguarding Authority chairman Sir Roger Singleton told the Guardian newspaper he would seek to make potential legislation “simpler”.

It comes after a public backlash over the plans, which – if followed to the letter – would have meant parents who regularly took their children and others to football practice could be fined £5,000 for not registering.

“Once you have a broad approach then immediately you are on the receiving end of a whole range, thousands of questions, on what about this and what about that?” Sir Roger said.

“And obviously you cannot have legislation that is woolly. You have to be clear about whether you are breaking the law or not.”

He said it would be “foolish” to “blindly ignore” public concerns but argued few workable alternatives had been put forward. The government’s goal is to provide further safeguards for children.

“I hear phrases like common sense and proportion,” Sir Roger added. “But there is a genuine difficulty is that unless you have a comprehensive screening that makes sure the person you are considering is who they say they are, unless you have a screening process, I don’t know how you can achieve the same end.”

Children’s secretary Ed Balls announced a review of the policy last month. It is due to report in December.