Dear Ed Balls…

I see you’ve been speaking out today defending Labour’s record over the Vetting and Barring Scheme.

So I hope you don’t mind me raising again my own experience of trying to raise concerns with the Labour government over one particular detail of the scheme it introduced.

As I previously wrote,

I emailed Sir Roger Singleton [see letter here] on 14 September about my concerns with the way the Independent Safeguarding Authority’s guidelines state that if someone has been found innocent in a court of law that does not mean they could have been completely innocent. Particularly given the many issues about the ISA’s remit, this choice of wording in their own guidelines is one of obvious concern.

I heard nothing so I emailed again on 16 October. On 19 October I was told by the Vetting & Barring Scheme Information Team that the issue had been passed to the Home Office. Again, I heard nothing further so I got in touch on 27 November. On 1 December the team apologised for the delays and said they would raise it with the Home Office again. I have not heard anything since.

I never did hear anything from the Home Office, although Sir Roger and his team did get in touch to apologise and say he would point out to the Home Office that it had failed to deal with the correspondence properly.

I did also write to my (Labour) MP, Jeremy Corbyn, twice asking him to ask the Home Office to reply. He didn’t reply to either letter. Nor did I get a reply even after a Labour local candidate in his constituency spotted my concerns and offered to pass them on (thank you Alex; the help was appreciated even if it didn’t produce the right result).

Perhaps in the spirit of learning what the Labour government didn’t get right, you and your colleagues could think again about this culture of ignoring relevant, concise and polite correspondence time and time and time again?

And if you bump into Jeremy Corbyn, perhaps you could have a quiet word?




UPDATE: Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to civil liberties in the UK hasn’t improved over the years.

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