EMPLOYMENT/VULNERABLE ADULTS: Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families v BP [2009] EWHC 866 (Admin)

07 MAY 2009

(Family Division; Munby J; 28 April 2009)

Following a trial at which the man pleaded guilty to offences of making indecent photos of children, the Secretary of State confirmed the man's inclusion on both the Protection of Children Act list (PoCA) and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list (PoVA). The man appealed to the Care Standards Tribunal, which heard evidence not only of his guilty plea, but also of between 70 and 223 indecent images of children found on his computer, and a very large number of images of children in gymnastic wear or swimwear. Also the man had subscribed to a newsgroup whose articles were concerned with indecent images of children. The Tribunal considered that the man was unsuitable to work with children, and that his name should remain on the PoCA list. However, the Tribunal considered that the man was not a risk to vulnerable adults or unsuitable to work with them, and that, given his qualities as a successful and inspirational organiser, his name should be removed from the PoVA list. The Secretary of State appealed on the basis that the Tribunal had given insufficient reasons, in particular failing to explain why it felt that there would be public confidence in the man.

The Tribunal seemed not to have addressed what, on the jurisprudence, was always going to be a key and very possibly, though not inevitably, a decisive issue: the question of public confidence. Given the jurisprudence of the Tribunal and the importance the Tribunal had always and appropriately attached to the question of public confidence, and the fact that the man should remain on the PoCA list, it had not given its reasons for deciding that he nonetheless did not need to remain on the PoVA list. The question of his listing must be re-determined by the Tribunal.

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