The threats to liberty in Britain are too numerous to keep track of. Thanks to Josie Appleton on Spiked! for this, which I had entirely missed before now:
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill, due to return to the House of Commons next week, will mean that 9.5million adults – one third of the adult working population – will be subject to ongoing criminal checks.
It is a House of Lords Bill, but has Government backing.
The Bill would create an Independent Barring Board (IBB), which would maintain “barred lists” preventing listed individuals from engaging in “regulated activities”. “In respect of an individual who is included in a barred list, IBB must keep other information of such description as is prescribed.” [cl.2(5)]
As the Bill was originally presented, you would have no right to damages if you were mistakenly or maliciously included in a barred list, and nor would anyone else. And the IBB would have been an absolute finder of fact, with appeal allowed only on a point of law. So among the things the IBB would have been independent of is responsibility for its actions.
Now things are slightly better, but there’s a cunning pseudo-compromise. You can sue. And you can now appeal the facts. But the criteria applied in the application of policy to an individual case – the core of what the IBB would do – is expressly (with a shade of Guantanamo) deemed not to be a matter of law or fact, and are therefore not to be subject to examination by the courts [cl.4(3)].
The schedule of “regulated activity” is 5 pages long in the printed copy. So you’ll have to look it up yourselves if you are interested.
The practical effect? Well, as an example, as I understand it, if the Bill were currently law, I would be committing a criminal offence in paying someone I trust to look after my elderly mother, who is currently convalescing from an operation, without both of us being made subject to official monitoring first.
Once it is in force, if you wish to be self sufficient – even if you don’t value your privacy, and are confident that theree’s nothing about you to which an official could possibly have objected in the past, and that you might not be confused with anyone else – you’ll need to know if a family member is going to be ill in sufficient time to fill in all the forms and wait for them to be processed. Better leave it to the state – which is of course always perfect.