CRB reviews service to clear backlog

The Criminal Records Bureau is delaying the introduction of a new disclosure
service allowing wider employer access to criminal record information in an bid
to clear its backlog.

The basic disclosure service planned for this summer has been postponed for
five months amid fears that the CRB is already struggling to meet its
obligations in checking individuals applying to work in schools.

Pressure on the bureau has been heightened by the recent murder of 10 year
olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, and the arrest of school caretaker Ian
Huntley and former teaching assistant Maxine Carr. Education Secretary Estelle
Morris subsequently reversed her decision to allow individuals to work
temporarily in schools before the results of full checks are known.

The CRB, established under the Police Act 1997, provides its highest level
of checks for anyone caring for or supervising children or vulnerable adults.
It also offers a lower level of disclosure for a wider range of jobs that
involve working with children and vulnerable adults. But these checks can only
be requested by organisations entitled to do so under the Exceptions Order to
the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The third level of ‘basic’ disclosures, to be much more widely available,
will reveal only current convictions.

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