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Social Workers (Criminal Records)

Volume 122: debated on Tuesday 10 November 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to how many officers form the present complement of that section in the Metropolitan police checking the existence and content of any criminal record of applicants for posts with social services departments with access to children in accordance with Home Office circular HOC(86)44; what was the complement of this section in 1985 and in 1986; what is the average length of time currently taken in responding to a request for a check from a social services department; and how many boroughs in London are currently operating the terms of the circular and requesting checks.

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the staff complement for the section within the Metropolitan police charged with checking the existence and content of any criminal record of applicants for posts with substantial access to children was as follows:

Number
19854
19866
19878
Until July 1986, the scope of such checks was limited to those seeking specific posts within the probation and social services. The arrangements announced in the Home Office circular 44/1986 widened the scope of these checks to include all those seeking local authority posts which involve substantial access to children, and the complement of the section has been increased to reflect the additional work load. The complement will be increased to 12 from January 1988.The average time taken to process checks of this kind is six weeks, although this should be reduced when the additional staff are in post. Twenty London boroughs currently make use of the arrangements.