The following letter, dated 16 December, was published in the Sunday Times on 20 December 2009. The letter and article are available on the Times Online website.
Your article last week (Paranoia casts volunteers as perverts) states that the Conservative parliamentary candidate Richard Graham is ‘prepared to defy the law’ and ‘willing to go to jail’ for driving members of his son’s cricket team to matches.
I can reassure Mr Graham that there is no such law for him to defy, no consequences for him to face and no question of him going to jail.
Parents making private arrangements between each other to drive children to sports matches have never been part of the Vetting and Barring Scheme, which was recommended by the inquiry into the Soham murders.
However, where parents are entrusting third parties, such as schools or cub scout groups, to choose the adults who have frequent contact with their children, it is right that they are checked out.
As you reported elsewhere in your newspaper last week, the Government is making a number of changes to the scheme following the review I asked Sir Roger Singleton to undertake. I am confident these changes mean we now have a scheme which is not overly burdensome and strikes the right balance for children and parents.
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families