Charities lose confidence in Criminal Records Bureau

Voluntary organisations have lost confidence in the Criminal Records Bureau
(CRB) after a series of controversial delays and mistakes, claims the sector’s
umbrella body.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (NCVO) has criticised the
system for being too costly, too slow and offering a ‘very poor’ service.

In a recent poll of 100 members, almost half claimed they had lost
confidence in the current system. They expressed concern at costs of up to £15
per application when applying through the NCVO because the CRB does not cover
the costs of registered umbrella groups. Organisations applying individually
are not charged but face a mountain of red tape.

Campbell Robb, director of public policy at the NCVO, said the Government
could not afford to overlook problems at the service, which is operated jointly
by the Home Office and Capita.

"Voluntary organisations have an extreme lack of confidence in the CRB.
These difficulties may be deterring potential volunteers from engaging in
voluntary work altogether," he added.

However, Clare Smith, HR director at Leonard Cheshire, who had been one of
the CRB’s harshest critics now feels the service is improving. "At last
it’s becoming more capable of dealing with the volume of work and seems to be
making progress. There’s still a backlog, but it has significantly reduced in
the past three months," she said.

A CRBspokesman claimed the service has registered some improvements recently
but admitted it still has a 100,000 backlog of cases over three weeks old.

It typically takes five weeks to process most claims compared to the
three-week period it expected to process claims in when it launched last March.

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