CRB launch delay as reports cast doubt on accuracy

The Information Commission is set to delay the launch of the Criminal
Records Bureau until it proves its police records are accurate.

The bureau was due to provide employers with details of any criminal records
of potential staff from the Police National Computer system from this autumn.

But two independent reports suggest that the PNC data is between 15 and 65
per cent inaccurate, and the bureau’s launch will have to be delayed unless
there are significant improvements.

The Information Commission’s annual report indicates that it is keeping the
bureau under "close scrutiny".

It is anticipated that a large number of organisations will use the Criminal
Records Bureau as a means of vetting job applicants.

Fears have been raised that disclosures could be issued without showing
recent convictions or appeal results.

However, most employers still welcome the new service. Carol Mickleburgh, recruitment
manager at the NSPCC, said, "We are already relying heavily on police
records, so little will change there. The advantage offered by the Criminal
Records Bureau is that it will be a better, faster and more inclusive check on
a broader range of staff.

"We understand that it has a built-in appeal system, and if an
applicant feels they have been unfairly disqualified, they will have every
opportunity to use it."

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