THIS week I received an invitation from my daughter’s primary school in St Ives for all parents to attend an open meeting to discuss volunteering and fundraising opportunities for local youth groups.
This is an open meeting organised by the St Ives locality manager employed by Cambridgeshire County Council. Upon further investigation it appears that this request for volunteers is as a direct consequence of funding cuts to the local youth services budget.
I write to express my anger about this request as it is a clear example of the current Government's 'Big Society' scheme to get local services delivered on the cheap.
The Government forces councils to cut vital services and then expects volunteers/parents to pick up the pieces. Why should parents be asked to do this when it is the Government cuts that have crippled local services? Having said this, an even bigger issue for me and other parents all over the country must be the implementation of the new recommendations for the vetting and barring scheme due to be enforced under the 'cut backs' agenda by the Government in 2012.
This will mean changes to the way in which volunteers, volunteering to help provide youth services, for example, are vetted and checked. In short, the vetting procedures are to be relaxed, which will mean the provision of 'portable' CRB checks, rather than compulsory ones, and for checks to apply only to those with regular intensive contact with children and vulnerable adults. For example, a volunteer mini-bus driver or volunteer youth worker will no longer have to be checked.Can we be sure that volunteers taking part in the Big Society scam are thoroughly vetted with these new recommendations?
Yet again it is the most vulnerable in our community who will be the ones to suffer as a direct consequence of government cuts. How can we stand by and let David Cameron and his rich buddies get away with this?