Criminal Records Bureau lets employers down

The Criminal Records Bureau is failing to give many employers the information they need or the service they want, according to research by Personnel Today’s sister title IRS Employment Review.

At a time when UK bosses are more reliant than ever on trustworthy staff, 33% of employers said that information from the CRB is not always accurate and 20% cannot rely on its accuracy.

A quarter of employers using the CRB are also unsatisfied with its administration and level of service.

Almost 90% of employers complied with the CRB’s aim to avoid discrimination and time-wasting by only requesting a disclosure after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

IRS managing editor, Mark Crail said: “The overriding rationale for setting up the CRB’s disclosure service was to help organisations to make safer recruitment decisions.

“The use of the CRB has a direct effect on the work of many employers.

“Despite reservations – which cannot and should not be ignored – about the quality of the disclosure service, most employers surveyed believe that these background checks for past criminal activity have helped their organisations to recruit more safely.”

Other key findings include:



  • Most employers surveyed (80%) have a written policy on recruiting and/or employing ex-offenders.
  • 65% of these have a standalone policy, while 25% include details within a more general equal opportunities statement
  • 93% – obtained disclosure information direct from the CRB in the organisation’s capacity as a “Registered Body”
  • 37% of employers surveyed apply for disclosure for between 50% and 74% of posts, while 32% follow this procedure for between 75% and 100% of roles
  • 68% of employers apply for standard disclosures,
  • 95% opt for enhanced disclosure checks
  • 37% respondents “agree” or “strongly agree” that the introduction of basic disclosures is likely to increase the risk of unfair discrimination against ex-offenders.

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