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Criminal Conviction Certificates

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was of each criminal conviction certificate issued on an individual in each year since the inception of the CRB; what standard fee is paid by individuals requesting a check; how many certificates were requested in each year (a) from people wishing to work in the voluntary sector, (b) from unemployed people, (c) from disabled people, (d) from other individuals and (e) in total; and if she will make a statement. (198503)

The CRB issues higher level disclosures (both standard and enhanced) for employment and licensing purposes, as provided for in Part V of the Police Act 1997.

The cost to the CRB of each standard and enhanced disclosure issued in each financial year since its inception in March 2002 is provided in the following table. The fees charged to individuals that requested a check in each year are also provided.

Unit cost to CRB of each disclosure

£

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Standard

27.76

24.94

22.73

19.94

18.34

Enhanced

34.40

31.05

28.09

26.86

24.30

Fees Charged by CRB for each disclosure

Standard

12

24

28

29

31

Enhanced

12

29

33

34

36

Fees for the financial years 2007-08 and 2008-09 have been frozen at the 2006-07 level, meaning the cost of a disclosure has not increased since April 2006.

The total number of disclosures requested in each financial year is shown in the following table. The number requested in respect of individuals wishing to work in the voluntary sector is also shown. The CRB does not capture data on whether applicants are unemployed or disabled.

Number of disclosures requested

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Total Standard

200,198

289,767

281,045

317,178

328,042

Total Enhanced

1,462,802

2,059,233

2,269,955

2,568,822

2,908,958

Overall Total

1,663,000

2,349,000

2,551,000

2,886,000

3,237,000

Volunteer Applications

272,732

418,122

571 ,424

574,314

653,874

The CRB has issued over 15 million CRB checks and has developed the capacity to process in excess of 300,000 checks every month. Approximately 20 per cent. of applications are from volunteers and disclosures for volunteers continue to be processed free of charge. This has resulted in a considerable saving for the voluntary sector in excess of £20 million a year for the last four years.

The unit cost to the CRB is the average cost of producing one disclosure, irrespective of whether the disclosure is paid for. As the CRB is self-funding, the processing costs for all the volunteer applications, processed free of charge, needs to be recovered through the fee paid by other applicants; consequently, the fee must be set higher than the unit cost.