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Meanwhile officialdom ensures some people will embrace ID controls with gratitude

Spiked carries a fascinating, if frightening, piece by Charles Pither, a private doctor, on the invasive requirements of galloping regulation on those working in the healthcare sector. Just being able to check and list their employees (and their own) slave-number online will no doubt come as a relief.

What I hadn’t appreciated, until the man came to make his inspection, was all the personal data that we needed to keep for our staff (in a locked cabinet, of course). Two references, a recent photo, a copy of their passport, copies of their qualification certificates, a curriculum vitae with explanations for any gaps, a copy of their contract and job description.

Including the cleaner? Yes, including the cleaner. ‘It’s not me who makes the regulations’, said the man from the HCC. ‘The onus is on you to comply with the statutory requirements as set out in the standards of care regulations.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

What’s most disturbing is how suddenly these bureaucratic personal checks have sprung up, and how it has happened with no resistence. The Health Care Commission was created by the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003, and started its interfering on April 1st 2004. The Criminal Records Bureau was established under the Police Act 1997, but its functions have been rapidly widened, in legislation on children, education, financial services, and health, but also notably by a series of Exceptions Orders to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Acts that have made the idea of a spent conviction (an old, minor one you need not acknowledge) pretty much obsolete. The operative Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations are dated 2002.

Never mind 1890, it would be nice to get the British state back to the size it was in 1990.

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15 comments to Meanwhile officialdom ensures some people will embrace ID controls with gratitude

  • John East

    It’s getting the same in the private sector as well. My student daughter has just taken a part time job at that bastion of free market enterprise Toys R Us. Their personel dept. requested a copy of her birth certificate. Fair enough I thought, I never came across such a request when I was a student, but no problem.

    We were subsequently told by Toys R Us that the birth certificate which was issued when she was born was no longer acceptable as official ID because her parents names were not recorded on it. We contacted the general General Registry Office and were told that Toys R Us were correct, recent regulation changes had effectively invalidated the old birth certificates and all I had to do was send them £7 and they would issue a new certificate.
    I must admit my reaction was , “Thieving bastards, another ******** stealth tax.” Maybe I was wrong, it may just be the result of ever expanding bureaucracy looking for something to do, or more ID measures to stop my daughter blowing up the world.

  • GCooper

    Guy Herbert has put his finger on one of the most disturbing aspects of this spreading cancer – the fact that it is being applied so stealthily.

    The ‘reasonable person’, when s/he bangs-up against one of these regulations, will often be perusaded that ‘it’s for your own good’ and, indeed, some of them do seem almost sensible taken in isolation.

    It’s when one takes a step back (and particularly if one has a sense of the power of IT to transform raw data into weapons) and sees the scale and extent of control, that the same ‘reasonable’ person becomes very unreasonable indeed.

    And, yes, it certainly has advanced since 1990. It fits perfectly with the Za-NuLabour mindset of bullying, nursery school authoritarianism.

  • What did you expect from a bunch of Marxists? But don’t worry this only applies to the honest – criminals,terrorists and illegals will not be affected.

    Don’t forget if you have nothing to hide,you have nothing to fear – until we make something up.

  • Sure, and the Tory Party have made it a manifesto pledge to abolish the The Health Care Commission and The Criminal Records Bureau, right? Right? No, I didn’t think so.

    Please, don’t get so worked up about the ghastly ‘Nu-Labour’, the problem is far more systemic than a mere political party. The Tories are not the solution to anything.

  • Who mentioned the Tories?

  • guy herbert

    Indeed, Perry. That’s why I specified 1990.

    Heaven knows the Thatcher administration was not above nannying and legislation by moral panic, but the regulatory boom really got going under John Major, when the Tories went native in Whitehall. Look at say 1991 which gave us the Dangerous Dogs Act and 2495 statutory instruments, with 1994, which gave us the ironically named Deregulation and Contracting Out Act, as well as 3327 statutory instruments…

    I don’t think I expected anything less from New Labour, Peter. I’m notoriously pessimistic (or realistic, as I prefer to think of it.) But I’m still shocked by the speed, and ruthless organistion with which it has been and is being pressed forward. It’s a chain reaction consuming all civil society, not a panzer thrust that might just run beyond its supply lines.

  • Guy Herbert,
    There is a bright side to this,having very recent experience of some of the bureaucratic form filling,I cna tell you that those who administer this Mandarin edifice do not know either.
    There is so much information that nobody can collate it,even wth computers.The upshot is that everything is down to the paperwork being correct,everyone has lost sight of what the paperwork was for,ultimately only the paperwork exists.
    Future generations will learn to game this system,bureaucrats will punt bits of paper around whilst the real world goes o elsewhere.

  • GCooper

    guy herbert writes:

    “But I’m still shocked by the speed, and ruthless organistion with which it has been and is being pressed forward. It’s a chain reaction consuming all civil society, not a panzer thrust that might just run beyond its supply lines. ”

    The British have long had a facility for this kind of bullying ( pace Euan Gray, one thinks of Cromwell’s miserable Commonwealth, or perhaps the WWII experience which resulted in the removal of the first identity card).

    As, I believe, the same instincts that drove English puritanism are still busily at work in the Left today, perhaps that should come as no surprise.

    But you are right, of course, this latest spurt of nannyism started under Major, who, when panicked by events, was swift to resort to what he hoped would be vote-buying laws.

    However, also as you say, it has got immeasurably worse in recent years – as anyone who notes occasions when the ”it’s ‘elf and safety, innit?’ rubric can’t fail to have noticed.

  • APaul

    I have heard some interesting stories from friends in the NHS about the requirement for certification. Many technical departments are staffed by people found to be no good in their original job but then shuffled sideways into support departments where they could be hidden. In some sections these people can make up half the staff with the other half having to do the actual work. Now though all such staff should be applying for certification which is causing problems for the management. The solution appears to be to ignore the requirement in some cases. Those staff who are good at their job are pushed to get certified while the others are just left alone. No doubt the rules will be more stictly applied to the private sector however.

  • Surely the EU should get a dishonourable mention in all this? Although ministers claim a thing as there own,it is often revealed later that it was introduced to comply with some EU directive or other.

  • guy herbert

    Before joining in with blaming the EU, one should check one isn’t being deceived by policy-laundering. Remember who decides EU law: the Council of Ministers acting on an agenda prepared by the invisible college of COREPER. Our government machine is quite capable of arranging for itself to be “forced” by the EU to do things it wants to both do but also to deny if they are unpopular.

    That mechanism is a plausible explanation for the steady increase in the proportion of regulation purportedly deriving from the EU. Across the Union, governments want to govern more but not be blamed. So they will tend (no conspiracy required) to agree to do such things at an international level. The OECD and UN organisations give rise to similar opportunities for the bureaucratic imperative.

  • I am not convinced tha Ministers have the capacity to understand most of the legislation that is being produced,from my experience even those administering the details don’t understand it either.
    It strikes me that a bunch of politicos come up with the idea that it would be good to know how many size 9 brown boots are being exported or imported without the slightest idea of the mechanisms involved in acquiring the information.
    Along the way the scheme will be gold plated by those who want to know how many one legged brown boot wearers there are in the EU until the final form is so complex it needs a new department to administer it.The pols will not have a clue about any of the details of this.
    We are watching a new Soviet system being created ,with much tha same outcome,crime,corruption and collapse.

  • Sylvain Galineau

    “It’s for the good of the children”

    “We wouldn’t need this if we had ID cards !”

    Pick one.

  • Science fiction authors often pose the “dual society” scenario in which most people live their ultra-regulated lives under a totalitarian government, and others live, usually in poverty, usually hidden (as in obsolete subway tunnels) lives in freedom but without certain amenities available to the more compliant.

    I often wonder how long it’ll be before we have to make that choice.

  • The Last Toryboy

    SINless times ahead!

    Maybe William Gibson was right?