Employers face delays in criminal checks backlog

Employers are facing delays recruiting nurses, carers and teachers because
the Criminal Records Bureau is experiencing teething problems and cannot cope
with demand.

The Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management and the Recruitment
and Employment Confederation have said their members are experiencing
difficulties recruiting and placing staff because the CRB is taking so long to
carry out criminal record checks.

Currently the CRB is completing only 10 per cent of criminal record checks
within 15 days rather than the 90 per cent it predicted when it took over
responsibility for the service from the police in March.

Employers have a legal responsibility to check the criminal records of
prospective staff who work with children or vulnerable adults.

Tracy Myhill, president of AHHRM, commented: "We have experienced
difficulty with the CRB – particularly around registration – and this has been
a widespread problem. We understand the problems are due to technical issues at
the CRB.

"Within my own trust [Gwent Community Health NHS Trust] we are now
registered and face a backlog of disclosure checks that need to be undertaken.

"We are hopeful that these unfortunate difficulties have been overcome
and we can look forward to an effective service."

The REC has called on the Government to bring back the old system until the
CRB service can be made properly operational.

Marcia Roberts, director of external relations for the REC, said: "The
REC and its members, along with many other organisations have been warning the
CRB for months that they were underestimating the likely demand for checks. All
our fears have now been realised."

A spokesman for the Home Office said there had been difficulties with new
staff operating new systems and a performance improvement plan has been
introduced to tackle the problems.


By Ben willmott

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