New Year, new vetting

News comes of more professions taking on vetting – even though they are not required to do so by law.

First, the Driving Standards Authority proposed that checks for driving instructors should be made compulsory. The organisation’s chief executive explained his reasoning: ‘Many parents put their trust in instructors to teach their children how to drive, and believe they are in a safe environment. Teachers in schools and playgroups are required to have such checks. I would like to see these checks incorporated as soon as possible so we can protect teenagers and young adults learning to drive.’

This despite the fact that driving pupils are 17 and over, not helpless four-year-olds – and that the main threat to any ‘safe environment’ is their own mismanaging of the motor vehicle.

Then came a report that MPs want financial advisers to undergo a CRB check before they can enter a care home – ‘even if just for a brief meeting with a client’.

This suggests that institutions will pre-empt any new legislation, in an attempt to cover their backs. Many are taking a kind of ‘me too’ approach, saying ‘if that other profession needs vetting, so do we’. The problem for 2007 will be not just the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, as officials start to put it into practice, but also the voluntary expansion of vetting into new domains.