As always, eternally grateful to Ron for sharing his ‘bits’, the quirky and loony goings on back in the asylum. This time, though, one which made his blood boil. Not a pretty sight, I’d imagine.
Jayne Jones has a fourteen year old son, Alex, who suffers from severe epilepsy and requires accompanying to school. He has specialist equipment in case he suffers a life-threatening attack, equipment which his parents are trained to operate.
Alex takes 32 anti-convulsant tablets a day and the attacks he suffers could one day kill him. He has also recently been fitted with a lifesaving Vagus Nerve Stimulation system under the skin, which works like a pacemaker to help control the body’s electrical signals and calm seizures
School is five miles away and, with her husband needing the car for his work, Jayne applied for a council taxi to take her and Alex to the school on days when he looked at risk of having a fit .
That’s when the problems started. In order to accompany Alex in the taxi, Jayne must first undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check. If she was able to drive herself to school, no problem, and the Council was even prepared to pay her expenses. But in a Council licensed vehicle, a different story.
The taxi drivers themselves are quite happy to carry the life-saving equipment and medication, and do so, but are neither willing nor trained to use it should it become necessary.
Jayne would be classified as an ‘escort’ and, as a consequence, be deemed to be travelling with the implied authority of the council, the council rule being:
For the protection of the council and all vulnerable persons in its care it’s essential all those endowed with an authority, implicit or explicit, should meet the security requirements within the transport contract provisions.
And that means a CRB check. Jayne is now waiting for the results of the CRB check, but that takes six weeks!
Hopefully it will be an ‘all clear’. However, it is not unknown for the CRB to get their knickers in a twist when it comes to matching names on CRB files to persons being checked!
What could make matters worse is if two lunacy paths cross, heaven forbid. Imagine if Jayne had, on some occasion, accidentally dropped a morsel of sausage roll whilst attempting to retrieve a helium balloon which had slipped from her hand at a charity fete. Sounds ridiculous, but both the sausage roll and helium balloon episodes could these days lead to someone having a criminal record, and having a criminal record of any kind can lead to serious consequences.
People have lost, or been in danger of losing, their jobs for such heinous crimes of failing to renew a fishing licence. A conviction, even for littering, would mean that you have to disclose the fact that you have a ‘criminal record’ – which generally puts people off – when applying for employment and, in some cases, this actually prevents you working in certain professions for five years or more.
Yes, it is certainly a good idea to have CRB checks, but once again, common sense must also figure in the equation, somewhere.
A stranger given the task of accompanying a minor to school, most definitely. A mother, and the only one trained to deal with an emergency situation, accompanying her own son? A bit of common sense, flexibility or compassion wouldn’t go amiss.
There seems to be widespread concern about the application of child protection and health and safety regulations as more and more weird and wonderful measures are being introduced. Questions we should maybe be asking are, ‘are such measures beneficial?’ and ‘to whom?
In the case of Jayne Jones, if the primary objective was the health and safety of her son Alex, then rightly or wrongly, she should not be permitted to accompany him in the event that she decided to drive him to school herself.
What seems patently obvious is that, in many cases, the measures being introduced are not for the benefit of the child/person or persons involved/community, but are either an easy source of revenue (littering, wheelie bin offences etc) or a means of avoiding any type of responsibility should anything untoward ever actually happen.
Understandable in today’s ‘I’ll sue’ and ‘point the finger’ society, but it doesn’t make it right. Unfortunately it’s another of those Catch 22 situations. And these situations never seem to go in favour of the innocent…