Those now being vetted include 16-year-olds teaching younger kids to read, parents volunteering at school, and foster carers’ friends. Running an after-school club is now subject to more stringent security tests than selling explosives.
The Manifesto Club is leading the national opposition to UK legislation such as the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, which makes vetting compulsory for all adults who work or volunteer with kids. We also take on bans on parents photographing their children, no-touch rules, and other over-cautious child protection proceedures.
Such rules have no positive benefit, and do nothing to stop those who seek to harm children. Instead, they merely target and turn away decent adults, whose help is essential for children’s development and safety.
We argue for a commonsense approach to child protection, that recognises the value of informal interaction between the generations.
The Manifesto Club has published a number of reports showing how the expansion of vetting is damaging community life.
- The Case Against Vetting (October 2006) provides an overview of the dramatic expansion of vetting, and shows how this feeds a child protection bureaucracy, while undermining everyday relationships between adults and children.
- How the Child Protection Industry Stole Christmas (December 2006) shows how overregulation is affecting seasonal celebrations.
- Hobby Clubs (April 2007) documents how some mixed-age clubs are banning children.
- A Briefing Document (April 2008) shows how the government’s new vetting laws will be late, over-budget and over-stretched.
- A briefing document, Regulating Trust: Who will be on the vetting database? (July 2009), reports on a leaked copy of the government’s new Guidance for the vetting database.
- A report, Vetting Under 18s: An Education in Mistrust (December 2009), shows the massive rise in CRB checks on under-18s.
- Volunteering Made Difficult (June 2010) shows the damaging effect of child protection proceedures on the volunteering sector.
- Why We Should Scrap the Vetting Database (June 2010) includes essays from academics in social work and probation, arguing that the vetting database won’t protect children.
- Barred for Life?: A briefing document on how the ISA could be barring innocent people
- Carers or Suspects? (September 2010), by a social work academic, reveals the millions being wasted on CRB checking health and social care staff.
- Briefing Document (February 2011) responds to the Freedom Bill, and the scrapping of the vetting database.
- Vetting Tree Surgeons – CRB checks and local authorities (February 2012), exposes over-checking by local authorities
- Briefing Document: 32 Million CRB checks since 2002 (April 2012)
- Vetting Parent Volunteers (February 2013)
We coordinated a Letter to the Times on 16 October 2006, opposing the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act. Signatories included Johnny Ball, Fay Weldon, the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, the Mayor of Oxford, Frank Furedi, Eileen Munro, and Mary Kenny. This was made into an online petition, which was signed by hundreds of teachers, parents, volunteers, and other concerned individuals.
UPDATE, July 2009: Sign the new Manifesto Club Petition Against the Vetting Database, which follows on from the 2006 petition.
UPDATE, December 2010: See letters in support of Annabel Hayter, the Gloucester Cathedral flower arranger who rebelled against CRB checks, and was forced to resign.
We held a London meeting, Checkmate: Has vetting gone too far?, at the east London gallery The Spitz. The event was a lively and passionate affair, attended by youth workers, teachers, and many others. See the video and transcripts for the evening.
We also have a blog that keeps a track of damaging child protection measures – such as parents banned from photographing their own children in public, or university lecturers vetted to teach 17-year-old students. If you have a story to tell, email Josie Appleton.
The vetting campaign has featured widely in the UK media, including BBC Newsnight, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, PM programme, Panorama, The World At One, Sunday Times and Daily Express; and also on radio in Australia and the USA, and on TV in France. For more details, see the Manifesto Club in the news page.