Sir Michael Bichard, whose enquiry into the Soham murders led to the creation of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has spoken out against what it’s fast becoming:
Sir Michael said there were a number of issues with the scheme which “need to be looked at again” and that “there will always be situations where you could argue that the line has been drawn in the wrong place”.
The Government estimates that 11.3 million people – almost 20 per cent of the population – will have to register within five years. Sir Michael said that the figure was “astonishing” and “surprising” but was irrelevant as long as children were protected. In 2004, his report into child protection made recommendations including that a registration scheme be introduced for those wishing to work with children or vulnerable adults.
Yesterday, he said the system he had examined in 2004 had been “a mess” and he believed the UK was moving towards a “much better” scheme under which tutors, sports coaches and other people with access to children would have to be registered. But he warned: “What I didn’t want was a disproportionate response. I made it very clear that I didn’t want parents to have to check relatives before they could put their children in their care for babysitting and things like that.
“We must have proportionate arrangements. We mustn’t over-react.”
I’ll repeat a comment I added to an earlier thread: why the Bichard enquiry and the child protection industry which embraced it’s findings so wholeheartedly afterwards weren’t required to read Foucault or Weber is beyond me. In a society dominated by rationalisation and increasingly ordered by bureaucracies in the misguided belief in the benefits they bring, the ISA was always destined to be a monster. ‘We mustn’t overreact?’ What exactly did he expect, when the starting point of the agency was to presume universal guilt until innocence could be proven?
He brings up the comparison with Roger Federer and drugs testing, that noone assumes Federer is a cheat because he has to undergo doping tests alongside his peers. But it’s a meaningless comparison and sadly displays the depth of his ignorance. It’s true that noone assumes he’s a cheat, but that’s sort of the point – drugs testing is not done with a starting presumption of universal guilt; the same cannot be said of the ISA. Through this ridiculous expectation of universal guilt (which ensures that the real abusers remain hidden – they don’t appear on tick boxes after all), the Independent Safeguarding Authority has already caused significant damage to many people’s lives, and hasn’t led to any demonstrable ‘safeguarding’ at all. Bichard though seems to think that’s fine ‘as long as children are protected’ – it strikes me that he’s the real monster here.
The Independent Safeguarding Authority must be abolished.