Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001
40. Did he have a criminal record?
(Mr Twine) It is fair to say that he did not have
a criminal record. There may or may not have been soft information
available to the police, but there was no criminal record; therefore,
even if we had asked for a lesser check, or even if we had asked,
"Has this man a criminal record?" the answer would have
been "No." But our own approach was rigorous enough
to reject him.
41. It is a tribute to your own mechanism, is
it not, in that sense?
(Mr Twine) Yes.
42. So where would the CRB enter, in that case;
what are you going to get for your ten quid per person that you
have not already got through your very extensive and sophisticated
(Mr Twine) On that occasion, it would have added nothing
to us, but it may have added to other organisations where he set
up his own youth work, he set up his own youth club for boys in
the village, and there is a history whereby if information had
been able to be shared, through such a one-stop shop, as the CRB
is giving, then that may have been a different situation in Dunblane
at the time.
43. And he tried constantly, nevertheless, despite
the first rejection and second, to get into the Scouts movement?
(Mr Twine) He did, indeed, and we constantly rejected
44. When you say "we", as the Chairman
has already said, it is a matter of congratulation to the Scouts
movement, but, clearly, in Scotland, they must have been extremely
diligent in order to ensure this occurred?
(Mr Twine) Yes. And if I may repeat an earlier point,
Chairman, the "we" is The Scout Association for the
United Kingdom, we are one organisation; and thereby I must illustrate,
yet again, our concerns about differentials between Scotland and
England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
Chairman: We have picked that up, Mr Twine.
45. The reason I deliberately put that question
is because I think it does underline the vital role which the
Scouts' and Guides' and other youth organisations' existing checking
systems provide, which they are already having to fund, and which,
as I understand it, from our two witnesses here, they will have
to continue even with the Criminal Records Bureau?
(Mr Twine) Oh, yes.
46. You were talking about sharing information.
I wonder if you could explain exactly what has happened then for
the Department for Education and the Department of Health not
to assist the two largest youth organisations in the country,
and presumably other youth organisations, on this vital area of
child protection; why have they stopped doing it?
(Mr Twine) The intention of the Criminal Records Bureau,
much lauded, is to provide what I referred to as a one-stop shop;
in the past
Chairman: But it is not open yet, is it?
(Mr Twine) It is not open yet, and, accordingly, the
need is that we have the POCALS system, which is something we
have to pay for, as a temporary measure, until
48. What system?
(Mr Twine) The Protection of Children Act Disclosure
Service; forgive me for not necessarily getting correctly all
of the words in that acronym. But it is an arrangement whereby
some of that information can be available to us, if we start paying
for it, and that will be integrated into CRB when it does come
on line. But that was available free of charge, the DfEE list
`99 and the Department of Health information about people deemed
to be unsuitable for work similar to that which we are doing,
and is now not available as a free public service, that has been
taken away from us.
49. Can you tell me when it was taken away,
please, roughly, in recent times?
(Mr Twine) Oh, recent times, we are talking about
within the past 12 months.
50. Thank you for that. Perhaps we need to come
back to that one. You mentioned earlier the problems you are having
recruiting volunteers, so others have already asked about that
one. Can I move on then to other areas. The Government has encouraged
volunteering, through its recently announced £300 million
aid package, last month, and through initiatives such as the Millennium
Volunteers, which is targeted specifically at the 16-24 year old
age group. What have been your experiences of those initiatives?
(Mr Twine) You mentioned the Millennium Volunteers
as your last example. I can illustrate. We are engaged with Millennium
Volunteers, with opportunities, at our residential centres throughout
the country. Just in Hertfordshire alone, in the last six months,
there has been the Millennium Volunteer team going out and trying
to identify new recruits into the Millennium Volunteer team, and,
out of about 150, 160 recruits, more than 20 have come from Scouts
and Guides. Working the other way round, I can illustrate that
on one of our Scout campsites, in the north of London, then an
individual who was with Millennium Volunteers was diverted, not
because he had previous scouting experience, which he did not,
to do some work on our campsite. He did his required benchmark
of 200 hours, decided he liked it, he is continuing, he is pursuing
with his qualifications in forestry, in rifle-shooting and in
archery instruction, he is moving towards an NVQ in adventure
centre management, and his intention is he will use his NVQ as
an entry qualification to college. So that is a two-way process,
just by those examples. With the Connexions service, the Scouts,
like the Guides and others, are signposted out-of-school activity;
there is a member of The Scout Association on the national board
for the Connexions service, and we have got, at the local level,
many Scouts, and there are many Guide people, on the local boards
for Connexions. I could go through the summer camps for teenagers,
Chairman. Guides and Scouts have been in summer camps for teenagers
for nigh on 90 plus years; we offered that service to the DfEE
when the summer camps residential scheme was made available, we
still have that offer on the table, particularly with regard to
our training expertise. The New Opportunities Fund, we have counties,
in scouting, involved with local consortia. So, with the specifics
of Government schemes, a fairly substantial track record of both
of our organisations being engaged. But I would underpin that
by saying that if those schemes are but names and what we are
really talking about are issues whereby we can provide young people
and volunteers with opportunities for social inclusion, addressing
inner-city deprivation, working with minority ethnic communities,
parenting, intergenerational activity, working with young refugees,
then, by golly, we are supporting and working on the Government's
51. Mrs Ryall, a final question to you is, I
mentioned the £300 million aid package the Government announced
last week, would you agree with me that, perhaps if £15 million
of that was earmarked for the youth movements for the CRB, that
would pay that bill, and would that not, therefore, help the Prime
Minister's wish to get another one million volunteers?
(Mrs Ryall) Yes.
Mr Howarth: Can I ask one question, of which
I have given Mrs Ryall, as it were, prior notice. The Guide Association
published a booklet called `Look Wider'; may I put it to you,
Mrs Ryall, publicly, that so long as you put out a document like
that, which invites Guides to organise a debate arguing for and
against single-sex marriages, to discuss prostitution, contraception,
divorce, homosexuality and transsexualism, you are likely to invite
the wrong sort of person to apply to be a member of The Guide
Association and to teach young girls proper values?
52. I am not sure this is directly to do with
the inquiry, but do respond to it, Mrs Ryall?
(Mrs Ryall) Yes, I will. Some of the publicity surrounding
that particular document has been taken out of context.
53. I have it here.
(Mrs Ryall) And, indeed, I think that, in some instances,
with the language used and the listing, it is always a very difficult
thing when you list what people talk about. When you involve young
women in putting together their own programme materials, it is
a risk in itself. And, I think, in terms of what the organisation
is trying to do, it is very laudable, but the way perhaps it is
portraying that, or it has been portrayed - by being taken out
of a very large document - a tiny little proportion like that,
really it does not give the entire or balanced story at all.
Chairman: Mrs Ryall, Mr Twine, thank you very
much indeed for your help with this. We intend to publish a report
by the end of March, if it is humanly possible, on this, because
the timing for this inquiry, in a sense, is perfect. So thank
you very much indeed.