CRB denies claims service will lead to discrimination

The head of operations at the Criminal Records Bureau has rebutted claims
that the service will lead to increased discrimination by employers against

Research carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests that
employers will use the CRB as a method of screening applicants to avoid
recruiting former offenders.

However, Keith Broadbent, operations director at the CRB, believes that in
practice the service will give employers more confidence when recruiting people
with criminal records.

Employers are not currently permitted to check applicants’ criminal records
unless the job involves working with children or vulnerable adults or has
security implications.

But under provisions in the Police Act (1997), which come into effect next
summer, all employers will be able to ask applicants to provide basic
disclosure certificates which detail all unspent convictions through the CRB.

Broadbent said, "I don’t see basic disclosure used as a sifting tool in
the same way that people don’t generally use references as a sifting system. It
will be used as verification to ensure the chosen applicant has been truthfulin
their application."

Broadbent believes employers will only request basic disclosure when there
is a question mark hanging over an applicant.

He said, "It offers a chance to address recruitment practices when
employing ex-offenders.

"With this you will know the details of any criminal record someone has
whereas currently, unless you go through the subject access process, you have
no idea that the information being given about someone’s criminal background is

From March next year employers such as NHS trusts and charities – which need
to check the criminal records of prospective employees when recruiting staff
responsible for children or vulnerable adults – will use the CRB.

Broadbent stressed that these employers will need to register with the CRB
before the end of this month to guarantee access to the CRB’s disclosure
service, or they will face delays in receiving the information.

By Ben Willmott

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