CRB steps up its workload

Employers have praised the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) after it announced
it has more than doubled its capacity to process applications and is about to
step up checks on healthcare workers.

Home Secretary David Blunkett revealed last week that the CRB now has the
capacity to process 60,000 criminal record checks a week, compared to 24,500
checks a week last August.

Last summer the service – set up to carry out background checks on staff
applying to work with children or vulnerable adults – came under fire after
struggling to cope with a backlog of 195,000 applications.

Janice Cook, HR director for children’s charity NCH, praised the service for
listening to criticism and making improvements.

David High, head of HR and corporate development at University Hospital
Lewisham NHS Trust, said: "Average response times are now 10 to 14 days
compared to up to six weeks in the bad period last year."

There was one disappointment, however – the cost of checks is to rise from
£12 to £29.

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