To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the increase in cost of Criminal Record Bureau checks on small and medium-sized care homes. 
Responsibility for paying the fee for a criminal record Disclosure rests with the individual applicant, although it is open to the employer to reimburse the cost. I have placed in the Library a Regulatory Impact Assessment which assesses the impact of the fee increase across all sectors.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what consultation took place with the Criminal Records Bureau's customers about the increase in fees for obtaining disclosure certificates (2) what assessment he has made of whether sufficient notice was given to registered bodies to assess the budgetary impact of the increase in fees for obtaining disclosure certificates from the Criminal Records Bureau; (3) whether an impact assessment for registered bodies was carried out prior to the announcement of increased fee levels for obtaining disclosure certificates from the Criminal Records Bureau; and whether such an assessment will be carried out in future. 
[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The Government made it clear when the original £12 fee was announced that it was our intention that the Criminal Records Bureau would be self-financing in the medium term. That remains our objective. However, in the short term, the costs of the CRB will continue to be met by a combination of fee receipts and contributions from the Home Office, the Department of Health and Department for Education and Skills. The CRB is expected to achieve full cost recovery from 2005–06.In view of the need to maintain an even as possible demand for the Disclosure service it was not possible to consult on the fee increase in advance of the announcement on 5 June.Responsibility for paying the fee rests primarily with the individual applicant, although it is open to the employer to reimburse the cost. Disclosures will continue to be issued to volunteers free of charge.A Regulatory Impact Assessment which assesses the impact of the fee increase for the voluntary and business sectors has been placed in the Library. In line with normal practice, a further assessment would be undertaken to accompany any future increase in fees that was above inflation.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) paper based, (b) phone based and (c) e-based applications for (i) standard and (ii) enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks were received in each month up until 1 July 2003. 
The figures requested are summarised in the following table.The gross applications refer to the number received by the CRB and the net receipts refer to the number that are being processed on the system. The difference between these figures is the number of applications returned to customers for amendment.
Phone based applications (Gross)
Paper based applications (Gross)
Total net applications received (Gross)
Total net receipts
At present the CRB has no e-based route for applications. Also, the CRB are unable to give a breakdown of Standard and Enhanced Disclosures for Telephone Disclosure Application Forms and Blank Disclosure Application Forms (paper based).
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultation was held with the voluntary sector in relation to the increase in fees for Criminal Records Bureau checks; what factors underlay the decision to make the increases; and if he will make a statement. 
With regard to consultation with the voluntary sector I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) on 8 July 2003, Official Report, column 721W. In respect of the factors underlying the fee increase, I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 5 June 2003, Official Report, columns 27–29WS.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many disclosure applications were dealt with by the Criminal Records Bureau in the last 12 months; and what the average time taken was to process, an application. 
During the last 12 months the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has issued a total of 1,946,465 Disclosures broken down as follows:
Standard Disclosures: 243,382
The average time taken to process a Disclosure during this period was between five and six weeks.The CRB current targets, published in our Corporate and Business Plan 2003 are to process 90 per cent, of Standard Disclosures within two weeks and 90 per cent. Enhanced Disclosures within four weeks. The CRB has been consistently achieving these service standards in recent weeks.Enhanced Disclosures: 1,703,083
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received from individuals and organisations about fees charged by the Criminal Records Bureau. 
Since announcing the increase in Disclosure application fees charged by the Criminal Records Bureau on 5 June, we have received approximately 350 written representations primarily concerning the scale of the increase and the lack of consultation prior to the introduction of the new fees. The majority of these representations have been from organisations.