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Leading Anglican bishop criticizes child-protection bureaucracy, paperwork

CWN - May 27, 2010

A leading Anglican bishop and New Testament scholar has criticized as a “waste of time” the bureaucratic paperwork surrounding government-mandated child-protection procedures. In a May 25 talk, Bishop N. T. Wright of Durham said:

The last Government, and this isn’t a party political point it’s just a fact, produced more legislation from the Home Office in 13 years than the Home Office has produced in the previous 100 years and most of it is microscopic, micro-managing rules and regulations.

This applies to businesses, to churches, hospitals all over the place, you can’t move. We are drowning in legislation. Rules and regulations are not the way to create a good, wise, human society but our last Government tried to do that.

When it comes to child protection, we all have to fill in these forms again and again. I’ve done several of them – I’ve got one for the diocese but then there was a youth project in the diocese that was organized independently so I had to have another CRB check.

We have people come to my office all the time, frankly wasting their time and my staff’s time in order that there be a paper trail for every single person just in case something happens and somebody has to sue somebody.

Until all filing cabinets in the country get so full that they are over-flowing it looks like we are going to go on just doing this, and that is not the way to be responsible. That’s the way actually to avoid it, it’s a pseudo-responsibility and we need to learn character instead.

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