CRB checks are still the best safeguard for all concerned

I was interested in your report on NHS employers breaking the law by conducting Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on all staff (Personnel Today, 24 January). I agree with Gordon Fleck, senior business manager at NHS Employers, who said it “is paramount to check staff thoroughly”, and I am surprised that the NHS has such legal exceptions.

My company employs personal advisers who work in schools, colleges and a wide range of centres, meeting with young people from the age of 11 upwards. We also work with a range of vulnerable young people and those with special needs, some of whom attend or reside in specialist schools.

We carry out full CRB checks on all personal advisers – something which, from recent media coverage, appears not necessarily to be the case in all schools throughout the country. We also conduct full checks on all our people, including senior managers, admin staff and maintenance personnel at our headquarters, who do not have direct access to our young clients. We have extensive personal details for anything up to 70,000 young people on our computers. Our view, supported by our trade union stewards and board of directors, is that we should take every possible step to ensure the integrity of our staff.

I would urge all employers to adopt this approach, despite the CRB system’s shortcomings – the most significant of which being that organisations are not informed about subsequent cautions or child-related convictions for individuals who have been employed following a previous successful check. There is a need for the updating of such information relating to those offending while in employment.

Derran Sewell

HRD manager

Calderdale & Kirklees Careers



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