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The Protection of Children  and Vulnerable Adults (POCVA)

Part of Private Members’ Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:30 am on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP 4:30 am, 13th October 2008

I am aware of that; it is a serious breach of data protection legislation and an indictment of the administration that is handling that sensitive personal information.

Successful applicants who cannot start employment will seek other jobs. That adds huge costs to the system such as re-advertising costs for employers and costs of submitting additional checks. That bungs up the system, and AccessNI may receive more applications for every full-time job than is necessary. Removal of that bottleneck is essential.

One of my constituents is experiencing difficulties receiving clearance to become a part-time taxi driver. After six months, his application has still not proceeded. That individual has a clean record and is a respected member of the local community. That is an important employment issue and, moreover, affects our towns and city centres in the evenings, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. AccessNI is not allowing young people to travel home safely and quickly, and avoid potential difficulties on the streets.

We must introduce new legislation to improve the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Where are the systems, resources and staff to deliver those improvements? The Northern Ireland Office must fix the situation. I concur with my colleague Tom Elliott, who outlined that the system must be altered — even temporarily. Individuals have received approval and, five days later, are told that they must return to the bottom of the pile and wait several months before they consider a similar job in a similar location. That is ridiculous; it is bureaucracy gone mad, and changes are essential. A rolling extension to those procedures — whereby an increasing number of areas will be scrutinised — is in operation. It is essential that the scheduling is carefully examined in order to ensure delivery and to ensure that our children and vulnerable adults do not experience further difficulties.