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Social Services: Vetting

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of individuals working in the care sector who have not been subject to a full Criminal Records Bureau check in each of the last 10 years. (221666)

No such estimate has been made.

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) started work in March 2002. CRB checks are generally discretionary, but in some instances are mandatory. CRB checks for staff working in regulated social care were phased in, starting in April 2002, and have been required for all staff since 31 October 2004. Since 26 July 2004, all staff working in regulated social care are required to be checked against the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) list. Anyone who is on the list is automatically barred from working in regulated adult social care.

People can start work in regulated social care before receiving their CRB check where this is necessary to ensure that the care provider has sufficient staff to meet the needs of service users. However, these staff must have applied for a CRB check, they must not be on the POVA list and they must have successfully fulfilled all the other pre-employment requirements. All new staff must undergo training and be adequately supervised.

In February 2005, Ministers decided that CRB checks should be mandatory throughout the NHS for all eligible new staff with access to patients in the normal course of duties. Full guidance on pre-appointment checks for national health service staff was issued by NHS Employers in May 2005. The NHS Employers guidance is mandatory by virtue of the Standards for Better Health which includes a standard for staff recruitment checks.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Healthcare Commission are responsible for monitoring compliance. They will take appropriate enforcement action if they find a person who has not been appropriately checked.