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Criminal Records Bureau

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many criminal records checks have been carried out on staff employed by a (a) domiciliary care agency and (b) nursing agency, which have resulted in a criminal records certificate not being issued since the introduction of Criminal Records Bureau checks; [130530]

(2) how many criminal records checks have been carried out on staff employed by a (a) domiciliary care agency and (b) nurses agency who seek work in care homes since the introduction of Criminal Records Bureau checks; [130531]

(3) what the average time taken is to process a criminal record check on a (a) domiciliary care agency employee and (b) nursing agency employee in cases (i) when a criminal records certificate is issued with no further investigation or problems arising, (ii) when further investigations are necessary before a criminal records certificate can be issued and (iii) when further investigations were necessary and it was consequently determined that a criminal records certificate would not be issued. [130661]

[holding answer 17 September 2003.]: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) issues a Disclosure against all applications received, regardless of the information contained in it, except where the application has been withdrawn at the request of the registered body or applicant. I am unable to provide data on the average time taken to process CRB checks, broken down by category of worker or when further investigation has been required as there are no information technology procedures at present to extract these data from the CRB database.However, I can confirm that the average turnaround times for Standard and Enhanced Disclosures across all business sectors is 24 days. Service turnaround times for Standard and Enhanced continue to exceed the CRB target of 90 per cent. of Standard Disclosures within two weeks and 90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures within four weeks. The CRB expects to process the checks for new care home workers within this service standard. In July 2003, the average turnaround was 93.1 per cent. for Standard Disclosures and 93.5 per cent. for Enhanced Disclosures. Over the last four weeks output has exceeded intake: 142,932 applications have been received and 145,117 have been issued. Since 11 March 2002 the Criminal Records Bureau has issued over 2,364,312 Disclosures.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the total costs imposed on the voluntary sector in 2003–04 by (a) Criminal Records Bureau changes in respect of volunteers, (b) registration fees imposed under the Care Standards Act 2000 and (c) medical checks required by legislation. [130700]

The information is as follows:

  • (a) My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced in February 2001 that criminal record checks for volunteers would be conducted free of charge by the Criminal Records Bureau. There has been no change to that policy and checks remain free for volunteers.
  • (b) The Department of Health consulted the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC), which is the independent regulator of care services. The NCSC does not identify the voluntary sector payments separate from payments made by the statutory and private providers of care services. It is therefore not possible to provide separate figures for the voluntary sector.
  • (c) The Department of Health has informed us that as far as they are aware, there are no medical checks, as such, required by legislation. There are requirements in the various care regulations that providers, managers and staff must be physically and mentally fit for the purpose of the work they are to do. However, the regulations do not specify how these people are to prove they are fit. It is for the NCSC to decide whether the evidence of fitness is satisfactory.