Two stories caught my eye today. The first one is in the Times about schools formally vetting parents before they are allowed to attend Christmas festivities. The other is in the Telegraph about social workers with known disciplinary breaches, including paedophile offences, being left to look after vulnerable people.

Parents who want to attend certain school Christmas festivities will have to provide proof of their identity and their address so they can be vetted. This will even include activities where teachers are present, such as a carol service. Some parents may welcome this move but many may see this as just going too far and way beyond that required by common sense.

There is also the danger of parent ‘playground gossip’, “Where’s little Johnny’s dad? I know he’s on holiday, why isn’t he here ……… ?” etc.

How about if someone was wrongly on the database or a mistake was made? How do you explain that to family and friends? No-one in their wildest dreams can possibly think that this type of database checking would be without error.

Which brings me on to the second story in the Telegraph. Here we have cases of those people who are allowed extended and intimate contact with vulnerable people even though they had severe allegations made against them. Some had even been struck off later for having abused their own children. According to the Telegraph Mike Wardle, the CEO of the General Social Care Council (GSCC), was dismissed this month for these failings. This also affects the vast majority of social workers who work tirelessly for the good of society.

My contention is that if we cannot properly vet and monitor the activities of the professional care workers who have continual day to day access to vulnerable people and children, how can we possibly do it for the millions of parents in this country who just want to enjoy all the activities that society has to offer together with their children?

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