Following the ever-increasing amount of allegations made against BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, former children's minister Tim Loughton has called for new safeguarding guidelines to govern children working in the media.

Mr Loughton said he was "frustrated" that the Department of Education are yet to update the 40-year-old rules in light of the scandal.

The former minister, who lost his position in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, plans to bring a Private Member's Bill after his proposals to improve legislation weren't brought forward while he was in government.

"As things stand, a lot of children who are involved in performances are actually breaking the law, and it's a complete lottery around the country, because this is down to licences being issued by local authorities," he said.

"Things like chaperones who need proper training, and it's not clear that we've got a consistently high level of training and standards across the whole."

"I tried to persuade Michael Gove to bring that into law. I wasn't able to do that, so what I'm now going to do, is to bring forward a Private Member's Bill in the House of Commons as a matter of urgency to see if we can get this stuff into law to make sure that everybody is following the rules, that we've got good quality child protection happening in all sorts of TV, film, panto, on the stage, so that children are safe."

The NSPCC have said they now received over 300 calls in relation to Jimmy Savile with helpline chief Peter Watt describing him as "one of the most prolific sex offenders" the charity had ever encountered

It was also announced earlier this week that Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer is to review the decision not to prosecute Savile while the Metropolitan Police Service will hold a press briefing today [25 Oct] into the investigation.

Labour education spokesman Stephen Twigg added that his party would look into details of Loughton's proposed bill and urged  MPs from all parties to "unite to bring in better safeguards", describing the issue as a "priority".

Posted 25/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com