Anger as cost of criminal checks set to rise again

Charities have reacted angrily to a further increase in the cost of vetting
employees as part of an initiative to ease pressure on the troubled Criminal
Records Bureau (CRB).

Fees will rise by £4 to £28 for a standard disclosure and £33 for an
enhanced disclosure. The 17 per cent rise comes into effect on 1 April 2004 –
just nine months after fees were increased by 133 per cent.

Clare Smith, HR director at Leonard Cheshire, who needs to use the CRB to
check staff working with vulnerable adults, said she was appalled that fees
were being increased again, despite improvements in the service.

Smith said Leonard Cheshire would have to find an extra £10,000 a year.

"I don’t believe the Government has given sufficient consideration to
the impact this will have on small organisations in the voluntary sector,"
she said.

Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary
Organisations, said the rises were unacceptable and would cost charities

Home Office minister Hazel Blears defended the price hike, insisting that it
would make the CRB self-financing by 2006.

"We believe that organisations will see the disclosure fee as a price
worth paying for the additional protection," she said.

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