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Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Home Department on protection of children on the internet and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill. (85737)

My right hon. Friend and I have been informed of the content of discussions between DfES and Home Office officials and representatives of the industry about the provisions in the Bill for vetting chat room moderators. My hon. Friend the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety wrote to the Moderation Sub-Group of the Home Secretary's Taskforce for Child Protection on the Internet setting out the two Departments' response to the concerns raised by the group. Discussions are continuing with a view to clarifying how the requirements in the Bill will work alongside the “Good Practice Guidance for the Moderation of Interactive Services for Children”, which the taskforce published in November 2005. There is ongoing discussion at official level on matters arising from the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill which impact upon both Departments as and when they occur as well as a range of other areas concerning child protection on the internet. The taskforce child protection measures sub group has, for example, set up a working group, of which DfES is part, to look at the safety issues for children caused by the development and growth of social networking sites.