Sunday 3 May 2015

Disclosure and barring - ask Mam

One of the ticking time bombs under the British establishment is the welter of scandals involving senior politicians, high ranking officers in the armed forces and the security services in the abuse and possibly even murder of children and young people by paedophile rings operating over many years. Leading the investigation and campaign to have these people brought to justice is Exaro, a group of independent investigative journalists who specialise in digging into issues which are usually ignored by the mainstream media.

It is likely that many readers will be familiar with the process of applying for Criminal Records Bureau checks, now replaced by something called the Disclosure and Barring Service. Cneifiwr is, and it is pretty straightforward and painless. Depending on the level of disclosure required, the cost is either £29 or £44 per person, which from memory is quite a lot cheaper than the old CRB process.

Back in January, Cllr Sharen Davies (Lab), submitted a motion calling for all 74 of Carmarthenshire County Councillors to go through the DBS process, just as thousands of council employees have.

Nothing controversial about that, you might think, although it is worth emphasising that DBS checks only show whether an applicant has a criminal record or police cautions which should prevent them from working with children and vulnerable adults. Practically none of the high profile cases we have started to hear about would have been picked up by DBS.

The motion duly appeared on the agenda for the January meeting of the council meeting, only for Cllr Davies to ask for it to be withdrawn and referred to the Executive Board for consideration. Among the members of the Executive Board is Cllr Davies's mother, Cllr Tegwen Devichand, popularly known as 'Dafen Dolly'.

That was in January, and we are now in May, and the Executive Board still has not got round to discussing the matter.

For most councillors, the last thing you want if you are submitting a motion which you presumably feel is important, is to have the rug pulled from under you and see your proposal kicked into the long grass of the Executive Board.

Why Cllr Davies chose to send her motion off to the ruling Executive Board is anyone's guess, and the word is that if and when the matter finally does come up before Dolly, Mark James, Meryl and the rest, it will be rejected on cost grounds, a couple of thousand pounds being too high a price tag.

If the motion had gone before the full council, it would almost certainly have been passed because to be seen to be voting against something like this would have looked very strange indeed, even for Carmarthenshire County Council.

There are theories as to why the motion was brought in the first place, because the upper echeolons of Carmarthenshire County Council operate the reverse of the famous Ronseal advertisement: the contents are rarely what it says on the tin.

Perhaps someone discovered at the last moment that DBS checks could embarrass friends as well as enemies, and so Cllr Davies was told to opt for a quiet funeral.

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