I was glad to hear of school leaders criticising the paranoia inspired vetting and barring schemes now required for anyone working in schools. The administrative burden this has placed on those responsible for cleaning, catering, security and maintenance at schools is completely disproportionate to both the level of the threat and to the benefit such primitive processes provide.
Over £600m has already been spent by FM businesses, the government, and individual job applicants, paying for these checks, which are required prior to taking up work with vulnerable adults and all young people. Delays in the recruitment process have put increasing strain on overstretched support services who are already struggling to provide decent levels of service.
As public sector spending is gearing up for a big round of budget slashing the focus should be on the service itself not on more layers of value sapping administration and bureaucracy. The cost of a CRB check has already risen by 45% in the last three years. At the same time, the number of delays of more than one month has greatly increased. Last year over 400,000 people were stopped from starting jobs or voluntary placements by delays in the system of over a month.
Of course it’s necessary to protect the vulnerable but despite what you may read in the Mail or Express there isn’t a pervert lurking on every street corner! And the new checks probably wouldn’t catch them if they did. It is considered unlikely that Ian Huntley, the school caretaker who killed two young girls, would have been exposed by the CRB and ISA schemes.
Let’s hope the Singleton review (more time, more money) comes up with something less cumbersome and more effective but I’m not holding my breath!