Price hike for criminal record checks

Voluntary sector employers have criticised the Home Office for more than
doubling the price of criminal record checks.

Home secretary David Blunkett announced that the Criminal Records Bureau’s
(CRB) fees for carrying out a check are to rise from £12 to £24 for a standard
disclosure, and to £29 for an enhanced disclosure.

Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary
Organisations (NCVO), said the increase would hit voluntary organisations hard.

"We were very surprised and disappointed to be told voluntary and
community organisations are to be hit by the doubling of the cost of criminal
records checks," he said. "This decision appears to have been made
without any prior consultation and any thought for its impact on the voluntary
sector."

Janice Cook, HR director for children’s charity NCH, was unhappy that the
rise in processing costs had been made without any consultation.

"This is a massive increase. We employ 6,000 staff and most work
directly with children. This shows a complete lack of understanding of our
resourcing position," she said. "We probably recruit about 1,500
people a year and would need to ask for enhanced checks on about 80 per cent of
these."

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "It is entirely reasonable that
users of the service should meet the costs of the CRB. However, volunteers will
continue to get disclosures free of charge."

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