We are seeing the first blowback from the introduction last autumn of the Government’s absurdly over-egged Vetting and Barring scheme. Children scheduled for surgery are having their operations cancelled by zealous apparatchiks blocking surgeons who – despite CRB clearance in one trust – are being refused entry to others, where they would otherwise be able to operate. The var, one might say, between stooge and surgeon is on, and all operation bets are off.
On a benign view, this is an example of goal displacement – a triumph of process over outcome. One could leave it at that, were it not for the fact that this triumphant process has trumped real kids needing real operations by real surgeons. And so we have a scheme designed to protect children perversely achieving the opposite result – harm to children.
How could we get to such a contrary outcome? The answer, of course, is totalitarian creep. A somewhat extreme explanation, I hear you say? Not a bit of it. Consider the following.
Some ten years ago, we largely trusted people. Doctors and others working with vulnerable people had to declare convictions on job application forms, but that was as far as it went. Then someone realised that maybe some applicants’ memories weren’t quite as sharp as they might be – and so, in 2002, we had CRB checks, and then enhanced CRB checks. Typically, their introduction was late and chaotic.
The Bichard Inquiry into the Soham murders led to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which in turn gave rise to the Vetting and Barring Scheme, designed to vet some five million adults – all of whom were deemed by the State to be paedophiles until proved otherwise. It was only a matter of time before the scheme was extended, and, surely enough, last year it was, to cover some ten million adults – one in four of the adult population. Full implementation is due later this year.
At the same time, the ‘Independent’ Safeguarding Authority was set up to centralise, on the State’s behalf, the investigation of one in four adult citizens, and to maintain a database of both hard – such as convictions – data and soft intelligence – canteen gossip to you and me.
And so we arrive at a culture of distrust – initially distrust by the State, but when it reaches the epidemic proportions that it has, the contagion spreads. The people adopt the State’s mood: citizen monitors citizen, subject spies on subject, and the zealous report the suspects to the ‘authorities’. No one – not even a surgeon with clearance from a nearby trust – can be trusted.
Meanwhile, children continue to miss operations they need – and to die. Khyra Ishaq was only the latest is a string of catastrophic failures by ‘professionals’ – ‘professionals’ who no doubt had full CRB clearance, who satisfied all the process requirements, but who failed utterly to do the job they were supposed to do.