More urgency needed on proposals

A great deal still needs to be done to create a scheme by 2007
to bar unsuitable people from working with children, the chair of
the Ian Huntley inquiry said this week.

Sir Michael Bichard said there was also a need for sustained
action to create a national IT system for sharing police
intelligence in England and Wales.

He warned that the successful delivery of these two key
recommendations to come out of his inquiry was “by no means

Bichard, who made the comments in his review of the
government’s progress on his June 2004 recommendations, said
that although there was government commitment to the barring
scheme, the resources had not yet been allocated and legislation
would need to go through parliament.

The government proposed the barring scheme after it rejected
Bichard’s recommendation for all those working with children
to be registered as “prohibitively costly and impractical to
implement”. Bichard endorsed the alternative, saying it met all the
requirements of his recommendation.

Bichard asked for preparatory work on this and the national IT
system to be completed by Spring 2006. He expressed concern that
the government’s submission of the business case for the IT
system had been delayed from March to September and called on home
secretary Charles Clarke to intervene if problems were not resolved
quickly. Bichard also said that Clarke should publish progress
reviews in September this year and March 2006.

Other problems raised included slow progress in police putting
information onto the police national computer, and concerns over
effective recruitment and vetting controls for overseas

His inquiry was set up to look at how Ian Huntley obtained his
job as a school care taker. Huntley was convicted of murdering
school girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.


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