Glorious Bureaucracy!

What a waste!

Thousands of shops, restaurants and cafés will be forced to register their staff with a new child protection agency and have their criminal records checked if they employ children for weekend or summer holiday work.

Any staff responsible for supervising children under 16 will have to be vetted. The measure is in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, which was passed in 2006. It was originally intended to screen teachers, nursery staff and youth workers more effectively by requiring them to register with a new quango, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), but ministers have decided to extend its scope to businesses.

The ISA will conduct enhanced checks through the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and give individuals – at a cost of £64 each – a “seal of approval” for working with children. The measure also covers work experience.

So anyone who tries to do what I did successfully at the age of 14, get a job washing up in the back of a curry house for two nights a week during the summer holidays, will now find that businesses don\’t want to employ them as all of their staff will have to be checked: even if it\’s just the supervisory staff that would be three or four people, £250 quid say. Something they don\’t haveto pay if they hire a 17 year old.

But the most up-to-date estimate from the Home Office, which now includes businesses employing under 16s, is that 11.3 million people will have to register.


The group has also discovered that the Government’s estimated cost for setting up and running the ISA for the first five years has grown from £91.6 million to £246 million as its scope has increased.

Umm, no, a most misleading figure.

The Government says that the ISA will be “self-funding” but employers will have to bear the £64 cost of registering each staff member,

£64 times 11 million people is, ermm, £720 million or so a year. Oh my! How Excellent!

We\’re headed into a recession and we\’re going to price young workers out of the market and cost businesses the thick end of a billion pounds for, umm, paperwork?

Can we hang them all yet?

12 thoughts on “Glorious Bureaucracy!”

  1. Nope, won’t happen. It’ll be like the hobbyist clubs – they just will not bother with anyone that will cause them to need a CRB check.

  2. “We’re headed into a recession and we’re going to price young workers out of the market and cost businesses the thick end of a billion pounds for, umm, paperwork?”

    But….but….yes…but…’s for the chiiillllddreeenn!

  3. Long since, I used to spend Sunday mornings teaching urchins to play rugby. Wonderful way to work off the bruises and beer. No longer, I suppose.

  4. “dearieme” – Of course it’s a huge waste of money and almost certainly ineffective. However, if you’re a volunteer coach you do need to be CRB checked but there is no fee. I had to be CRB checked for coaching juniors at my rowing club but we/I didn’t have to pay a penny (other than through taxes to fund the whole bureaucratic exercise, of course)

  5. Work experience? Good luck with that, then.

    If you’ve got 50 staff, are you going to spend £3K to allow some kid to come in for a few days for work experience?

  6. This government has steadily destroyed all opportunity for children to work, through Elf & Safety.

    I would hate to think what my life would have been like if I had not had the chance to earn a few shekels as a child. Now the only alternative is stealing.

    But if they let children work, they might become self reliant, and vote Tory when they are older.

    Oh and the assumption that we are all kiddie fiddlers unless proven otherwise is one of the most disgusting legacies of this repulsive government.

  7. Work experience programs for schoolchildren have never been easy to set up. There is very little or no tangible benefit for the employers.

    Now they will become impossible for the under 16 cohort.

    But the other aspect of this is the infringement of the privacy of established staff. Why should they have to tolerate such a vetting procedure, when they never applied to work with children in the first place? It is a direct infringement of their civil liberties.

  8. I posted at DK, but another thought occurs to me, workers aged over 16 will have to have ID cards to prove that they are over 16.

    Now, a sensible person would argue that it’s fair enough for young-looking people who are 17 or 18, but actually every worker would need an ID card, or else that is age discrimination against younger workers (who might be mistaken for being under 16) in favour of old ones.

    And not only is this for the children, it will create jobs!

  9. Simon Heffer posited the question a while back: is this government evil, or merely incompetent? I’m a firm believer in not ascribing to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but it strains credibility that Labour ministers and the Civil Service minions could fail, after all this time, to internalise the lessons taught by the Law of Unintended Consequences. Alas, we have to take the other tack, and assume that they are knaves, not fools.

  10. I made a point about this at Samizdata recently; one of the causes of youth crime is that youngsters, bored with school, lack a positive outlet for the desire to get money through apprenticeships, etc. This sort of stuff will only make it harder to get into the job market. So we wonder why some youngsters turn to crime, etc.

    Yes, I think this government is actively malevolent. They don’t want young people to work at all, both to protect their trade union paymasters and as part of the ongoing project to infantilise the British public.

  11. It’s actually worse than it sounds in this report. This law effectively means that EVERY person working with anyone under 16, and possibly under 18 depending on the legal definition of ‘child’ in these circumstances, will have to undergo an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check. I emphasise ‘working with’, not ‘supervising’; the law requires that any person with potentially unsupervised access to children be checked in this way.

    This Enhanced check lays bare a persons every offence however trivial and irrelevant to the job they are doing. It also gives a list of any arrests the person may have been the subject of, even if they were released without charge.
    Given the way in which our statist government is criminalising the population for ever increasing numbers of new offences, I have to wonder how many adults will suddenly become unemployable if the employer wants to employ cheap child labour? Or indeed, unemployable in their local area when word of their record leaks, as it inevitably will. Small town gossips are much the same the world over……

    I believe that the employers will simply refuse to employ children. I also believe that if this new law is drafted as poorly as some other recent new laws, we will see the 16 – 18 year old age group becoming unemployable. As I type this, a thought occurs to me; the UK government is moving towards all young people remaining in education or vocational training until they have passed their eighteenth birthday. Could this new CRB requirement be another part of that policy, I wonder……

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