The government’s proposed reforms to CRB checks will make very little difference to anyone who is currently unemployed and seeking work.
The coalition has made it clear that all they are actually doing is shifting the burden of responsibility from the state to the employer for ensuring that a job candidate is suitable . It is therefore fairly obvious that employers will be just as reluctant as ever to take on anyone with a criminal record or who have been the subject of a police caution or reprimand.
Nor will the proposed scrapping of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) make much difference either, although it is a step in the right direction, even if only a very small one. Despite the objections to the infamous quango that have followed it from its inception, the government is only proposing to replace it with something similar, not something different.
It will remain the case that people may still be barred from work on the basis of rumor and suspicion, even though nothing has been proved and no charge has been made against them. This iniquitous situation was one of the main flaws in the original scheme and it seems that the Home Secretary, Theresa May is not going to do anything to get rid if it.
TheOpinionSite.org, like many others, welcomes the scaling back of the ISA but it will still cover some 4.5 million people, many of whom will not be entitled to know why they have been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.
What is much worse however, is the fact that employers will still be able to impose a CRB check even if the job does not warrant it. The coalition proposals are that this practice should end but in reality, if an employer wants a check, he will get one and there is little the government or anyone else can do to stop them.
For example, if a firm decided to take on a work experience teenager under 18 – and there are many incentives to do so – the prospective employer would be justified in asking for its employed workers to undergo a CRB check, due to the fact that there is a ‘child’ on the premises.
According to official figures, one third of all men of working age already have a criminal record for offences that potentially carry a prison sentence of 6 months or more and this figure will always increase. These are often capable people who have committed one of the 3,500 criminal offences brought in by Tony Blair or a public order offence. Yet the fact that they have a record will violently dissuade most employers from offering them a job.
Another example is that of the 50,000 people on the UK Sex Offender Register. This group of often very highly qualified people includes teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, lecturers, policemen, probation officers and social workers, as well as skilled artisans such as carpenters, plumbers and craftsmen.
Yet because of unwarranted public fear whipped up by the tabloids and the child protection organisations, both of which have vested interests in keeping that fear in the public mind, together with the reluctance of a weak government to do anything about it, most of these people will never work again. All their experience and expertise is lost to the nation for ever. (You can read more about this is in this month’s Subscribers Newsletter here)
If Cameron, May and Clegg really want to do something about the ISA and CRB that would benefit everyone, they should totally scrap both organisations. They are a complete waste of money and serve no purpose other than keeping a horde of generally malicious, faceless bureaucrats in a job.
The existing checks on offenders like List 99 for teachers, General Nursing and Medical registers and numerous other official ‘black lists’ already exists to ensure that the wrong people do not get to work with children or the vulnerable. The police monitor everyone convicted of a sexual offence and have a right to know about any employment.
Furthermore, if someone has not already been convicted, which is usually the case, neither the ISA or CRB will pick them up anyway.
The government is failing by only going halfway to correcting something which is not only unjust but also costing the country a fortune in benefits to ex-offenders and their families, loss of tax revenue from those who should be working andthe loss of much needed expertise which our present, lamentable education system seems incapable of replacing.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that instead of spouting meaningless words, the government should take real action to undo the damage done by 13 years of Blair and his followers and also discredit the nonsense put out by the media and so called child protection ‘professionals’, many of which do a pretty lousy job anyway judging by the number of cases that go wrong due to their incompetence.
The number of people with criminal records will only ever increase; logically, it can never do anything else. If the government does not act now then when? Hopefully, it will be before the situation is irreversible, if we are not already at that point; for if we are, the nation has a massive problem that seemingly has no workable solution.