A central register for all people working with children is being
“urgently” considered by the government, following the publication
this week of the Bichard Inquiry report into the failures that led
to Ian Huntley’s appointment as a school caretaker.
Home secretary David Blunkett said the recommendation, which could
mean that those working with children would be given a licence or
card to prove they had been vetted, would be looked at
Speaking at the launch of his report, Sir Michael said he had
discovered “errors, omissions, failures and shortcomings which were
Blunkett has ordered the suspension of the chief constable of
Humberside police, David Westwood. Next month, a serious case
review into North East Lincolnshire Council’s handling of
allegations involving Huntley will be published.
Blunkett ordered the inquiry in December 2003 after it emerged that
Huntley, who was convicted of the murders of Holly Wells and
Jessica Chapman, had nine sexual allegations against him that were
not picked up in the vetting process.
Weaknesses in the handling of information by Humberside police
meant Bichard could not be confident that it was Huntley alone who
had “slipped through the net”.
The report recommends that guidance should be produced to help
social services departments decide when not to pass on cases of
underage sex to the police. But it adds that the majority of cases
should be passed to the police and, where they are not, details
should be recorded on a database.
Inspections by the Commission for Social Care Inspection should
include an analysis of a random sample of cases that were not
passed to the police so as to check departments are making
It follows concerns raised in the report that “underage sex may not
be taken sufficiently seriously by the police or social services
Measures to improve the vetting of job applicants in schools are
also included and all staff will be given an enhanced check by the
Criminal Records Bureau.
Interview panels should include at least one person who has had
child protection training.
Bichard will reconvene the inquiry in six months to review progress
on the recommendations.