Internet watchdog is another Ed Balls-up

The UK’s Children’s Minister was launching the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)yesterday. In essence, it seems a good idea, but as ever the politicians have failed to think deeply enough.

We already have the Internet Watch Foundation and the NSPCC, which does significant amounts of work for children online. Together, these organisations have been responsible for huge leaps forward in online safety for children. So, what does the Government do? Set up another, competing, organisation. And no doubt, a whole load of admin and civil service costs to boot.

As if this weren’t enough, the Government hasn’t worked out there is already a UKCCIS – and it’s run by a former Government agency, the Transport Research Laboratory. So, not only has Ed Balls set up a new agency to compete with highly efficient existing services, he’s also given it the same name as something else. Whoops.

And guess what – the Government has launched this service to help us provide a safer Internet for children without a web site. That’s right, the UKCCIS (the Children’s one, not the transport one – confusing isn’t it?) does not have a web site yet. Sorry, say that again? That’s right, it doesn’t have a web site yet – well, they only came up with the idea in March this year, give them time….!

And will the UKCCIS get anything done? Unlikely – it already has 100 members on its committee. That’s a recipe for a talking shop that gets nothing done. Well done Mr Balls-up as I like to call you – you’re presiding over another lack of thinking from the Government about the Internet. Well, at least you are consistent.

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