children, home office minister Alun Michael has announced.
An inter-departmental working group of officials is to be set up to
look at concerns that the various safeguards which already exist are
The group will:
- look at whether a central register of people who are deemed
unsuitable for working with children should be set up
- look at the possible creation of a new criminal offence for anyone
on that list who seeks work with children
- consider further measures to protect 16 and 17 year olds who may be
vulnerable to abuse by those in a position of trust such as carers,
teachers and leaders of organised residential activities
The group will draw upon the consultation exercise 'Sex Offenders: A
Ban on Working with Children' and on the recommendations made by Sir
William Utting in his review of safeguards for children living away
It will include representatives from the home office, department of
health, department for education and employment and other government
It is expected that the group will make its final recommendations to
ministers by the end of the year.
Mr Michael said:
'We are already taking action on a number of fronts to protect
children and vulnerable adults from the dangers of sex offenders who
live and seek work in the community.
'We have acted to make sex offenders tell the police where they live
and if they change their names. This ensures that the police know
where they are and can monitor their behaviour.
'Our Crime and Disorder Bill will bring into law Sex Offender Orders.
These will stop known sex offenders behaving in a way which threatens
our children. There would be serious penalties for breach of an
'The Bill will also extend the supervision of sex offenders in the
community after they have finished their sentence. This could be for
up to ten years. If they remain a danger they can be returned to
'And we plan to make criminal records checks more widely available by
implementing Part V of the Police Act.
'We must work together to make sure that there are no loopholes.
This is why we have set up a new working group to ensure that our
children are given the protection they deserve.