Child vetting database will cost £200 million and create 1,450 jobs in Labour marginal
The total cost of the child vetting scheme is expected to soar close to £200 million – and will lead to the creation of around 1,450 jobs in a key Labour marginal constituency.
Public bodies such as the NHS and the Prison Service will be forced to spend millions of pounds registering their employees on the scheme at a time when their budgets have already been squeezed.
Almost all of the NHS’s 1.3 million employees will have to join at a cost of around £83m. The Local Government Association has already warned about the increased cost to councils and their staff.
Labour Ministers will have to sanction a huge spending increase as the Criminal Records Bureau employs 582 staff who dealt with 3.9 million cases last year, or 6,700 cases per employee.
By contrast, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has 250 staff whose case load will soar to 45,200 cases per employee as they reach the target of monitoring one in four adults. If, as expected, the ISA processed the work at the same rate as the Criminal Records Bureau it will require 1,686 employees, up 1,430. The staff bill will rise to £43 million.
It will provide a timely jobs boost for Darlington, where the ISA is based, which is a key election battle ground. Alan Milburn, the former Labour Cabinet minister and local MP is standing down at the election in a seat which until 1992 was Conservative held.
James Dawkins, Research Associate at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The Criminal Records Bureau already struggles, at huge cost, to do its job and this task is more complex and larger. While taxpayers and the people forced to undergo the ISA’s checks will lose out, the only people to benefit will be the army of bureaucrats needed to attempt the impossible. The Government have already created far too many quango jobs, and the last thing taxpayers need is yet more officials on the public payroll.”
Tom Brake, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said: “The new database is not only a disproportionate response to the problem it is trying to solve, it is also a very expensive proposal. It is not clear that asking public bodies to pay millions to prove their staff are not sex offenders will significantly enhance the safety of children. Asking people to pay £64 to prove their innocence may put a lot of them off working with children.”
Parents who do not register for driving their children’s friends to a sports event or Cub or Scout meeting face fines of up £5,000.