Criminal vetting of employees must be simpler and more cost effective

The new coalition government should take a more efficient, common-sense approach to criminal vetting of staff and only require it where necessary, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Responding to four separate government consultations, the REC highlighted members’ concerns that recruitment agencies often have to process repeat Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, which is both costly and time consuming, especially for those working in temping environments where they change jobs regularly, such as supply teachers, agency nurses or locum doctors.

Last month, the government announced it was “fundamentally remodelling” a new vetting and barring scheme, which would have allowed new employees and job movers to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority on a regularly updated list that employers can reference.

It was meant to go live on 26 July but was put on hold because of concerns over the extra bureaucracy it would cause by duplicating the existing safeguarding measures for many roles where CRB checks are also required. The most recent consultation closed last Friday.

Speaking to Personnel Today, Anne Fairweather, the REC’s head of public policy, said: “The government has been trying to sort this out since 2006. We want to make sure we get it right this time.”

Once the vetting and barring scheme is up and running, the REC wants greater portability of criminal disclosures, within strict guidelines, and through considering the necessity of continuing to apply for criminal disclosures.

“The vetting process needs to be easy to use and make sense,” continued Fairweather. “Safe recruitment is much broader than simply criminal checks. Recruitment agencies also carry out checks on identity, making sure people have the professional qualifications they say they have, which, along with interviews, are also a vital part of assessing if someone is safe to work with children or vulnerable adults.”

Fairweather added: “The REC fully supports measures to encourage safe recruitment but the CRB must also respond to a workforce that moves frequently.”

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