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Criminal Records

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for the introduction of (a) basic criminal records disclosure and (b) the Protection of Vulnerable Adults List. [126821]

The priority for the Criminal Records Bureau is to ensure that the demand for higher level disclosures is fully met; to this end we have announced proposals for the introduction of checks on care workers starting in October. The Basic Disclosure service will not be introduced until this objective has been achieved. Moreover, we are considering the Independent Review Team's proposal that applications for Basic Disclosures should be routed through Register Bodies. In the event that the Government decides to proceed, it would be necessary to amend Part 5 of the Police Act 1997 before the change could be implemented.We are working with the Department of Health to implement the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) list as soon as practicable.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the care home sector on deferring increases in fees for Criminal Records Bureau checks. [124883]

[holding answer 10 July 2003]: To date we have received some 100 written representations from the care home sector with regard to the increase in Criminal Records Bureau fees. These primarily expressed concern about the scale and timing of the increase. The Criminal Records Bureau has received a further 27 written representations on this matter from the care home sector.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Criminal Records Checks have been outstanding for (a) three months, (b) six months and (c) more than 12 months. [124900]

[holding answer 10 July 2003]: The number of outstanding valid Disclosure applications over three, six and 12 months old are as follows:

Number
3–6 months1,671
6–12 months1,843
Over 12 months120
Total3,634
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has undertaken several initiatives recently to reduce the number of aged applications in the system. These have included contacting applicants and the Registered Bodies who submitted the applications to encourage them to provide any outstanding information and seeking closer co-operation with the police forces to prioritise applications in their systems.The Bureau continues to improve its output and is already achieving its Business Plan target that the number of applications over six weeks old, will be reduced to no more than 5 per cent. of work in progress by September 2003. The Bureau is now achieving its published service standards of issuing 90 per cent. of Standard Disclosures within two weeks and 90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures within four weeks.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received from the voluntary and community sector about the increase in fees for Criminal Records Bureau checks; and if he will make a statement. [125121]

To date we have received a small number of representations from the voluntary and community sector, including from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, with regard to the increase in Criminal Records Bureau fees. These primarily expressed concern about the scale of the increase and the absence of consultation prior to the introduction of the new fees. Checks on volunteers continue to be free, saving the voluntary sector an estimated £10 million in 2003–04.