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Criminal Records Bureau

Volume 401: debated on Wednesday 19 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his statement of 27 February 2003,Official Report, columns 32–36WS,

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders were recorded in (a) the Chelmsford division of Essex police and (b) Essex in each year since 1997, broken down by category. [103120]

It is not possible, from the information collected centrally, to separately identify offenders convicted or cautioned in the Essex police division of Chelmsford. The table gives offenders found guilty at all courts or cautioned ('known offenders') in Essex for the years 1997 to 2001 by offence group.Figures for 2002 will be published in the autumn.on the Criminal Records Bureau, what steps his Department is taking to moderate public expectations of the role of the Criminal Records Bureau. [101390]

The Summary Independent Review Team report placed in the Library on 27 February 2003 contains the statement "we are concerned that public expectations are possibly unreasonably high and that there needs to be a clear recognition that the (Disclosure) process cannot provide complete security".The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has worked with the National Association of Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to produce two publications 'Recruiting Safely' and 'Employing People With Conviction'. These are available to customers and are issued to all organisations registering with the CRB to gain access to Standard and Enhanced Disclosures and are also available on request from the CRB website. These publications are aimed at employers and volunteering organisations that wish to use criminal record information as part of their recruitment process. Both publications set the Disclosure service into context and demonstrate that if used it should be as part of a wider range of pre-employment checks.This message will continue to be given out to our customers and the general public when the CRB attends exhibitions, conferences and speaking engagements, and makes customer visits, as well as in CRB newsletters and publications.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have made applications for clearance by the Criminal Records Bureau on more than one occasion since it was formed; and what proportion of these have resulted in an applicant being charged more than one fee for the service. [101602]

There is no facility available at present to extract from the Criminal Records Bureau's (CRB) database the number of people who have applied for more than one Disclosure or how many times they have been charged. Under the legislation a fee is due for each fresh application for a Disclosure.Prospective employees may be requested to apply for Disclosure for each position they have applied for. The CRB has issued portability guidance for Disclosures to the Registered Bodies, and encourages them to avoid unnecessary additional Disclosure applications for the same individual. However, the decision on accepting a previous Disclosure rests with the individual Registered Body.

:To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many referrals have been received by the Criminal Records Bureau since its inception; how many of those referrals have been completed and responded to; how many are pending; and how many the bureau was unable to fulfil; [101603](2) what proportion of applicants for clearance by the Criminal Records Bureau from within the teaching profession have not yet received their Disclosure certificates. [101601]

Since 11 March when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) launched its Disclosure service, the Bureau has received 1,388,896 applications for Disclosure, of which 1,267,561 have been issued. 50,000 of the remaining applications are currently outside our three-week service standard. This figure has reduced from its peak of 109,000 during the summer of 2002 as a direct consequence of the targeted work that is being done to clear the oldest applications from the system.For the last four months the CRB has issued, on average more Disclosures out each week than it has received applications for, thereby reducing the number of outstanding cases. The CRB is issuing on average around 42,000 Disclosures per week, which is well over double the weekly output issued by the police under the previous arrangements. The CRB fulfil all Disclosures that are processed through the system. In some cases, forms are returned to the Registered Body or the applicant because the form is incomplete and cannot be processed. The information sought by the hon. Member regarding the proportion of applicants from within the teaching profession who have not received their Disclosure is not available in the format requested. There are no IT procedures at present to extract these data from the CRB database. It is expected that this functionality will become available in subsequent system releases. No distinction is made in relation to the profession of an applicant. They are all subject to the same level of service.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the Criminal Records Bureau has supplied inaccurate information about an individual; on how many occasions the supply of inaccurate information resulted in (a) the denial of a job to that individual and (b) the offer of a job to an individual who would normally be disbarred from taking that job; and if he will make a statement. [101790]

Up to and including the end of February 2003 there have been 400 instances where applicant details supplied by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) to the police has led to mistakenly matching conviction details with an applicant. This represents 0.03 per cent. of all Disclosures issued, a total that currently stands at 1,269,367.The decision on whether an applicant is suitable to take up a position following a Disclosure rests solely with the employer. It is therefore not possible to provide an answer regarding the employment of people following a Disclosure. However, the CRB does have procedures in place for applicants to dispute the information provided on their Disclosure. If upon investigation the CRB finds that the conviction does not relate to the person for whom the Disclosure was issued they will re-issue a corrected Disclosure free of charge. Prior to the CRB operation, had an applicant applied for a position which was police checked under the previous arrangements, details of any alleged convictions would have been passed only to the prospective employer and not to the applicant. That prospective employer would have had no obligation to pass on the contents to the applicant, who could have been oblivious of the facts. As it is, applicants now have the opportunity to dispute any conviction details.

:To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the type of disclosure needed from the Criminal Records Bureau for members of the clergy and other religious bodies. [102522]

As with other types of position, the level of disclosure for which an applicant would be eligible would depend upon the particular duties. But a position which entailed regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of persons under the age of 18, or of vulnerable adults (as defined), would be eligible for the highest level of disclosure, Enhanced.