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Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will change the process of obtaining a Criminal Records Bureau check so that an individual in more than one relevant role need only apply for one check. (227500)

Disclosures are primarily designed to be used by an employer at the point of recruitment for a particular position. Ultimately it is for each employer, and not the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), to decide whether a new disclosure should be applied for, bearing in mind their legal and other responsibilities and subject to any statutory requirements.

There are a number of reasons why an employer may not wish to accept a disclosure that has been processed for a previous employment position, including:

The disclosure may not be at the right level (there are two different levels of CRB check: standard and enhanced);

The older a disclosure is the less reliant the information is because the information it contains may not be up to date;

Information revealed through a CRB check reflects the information that was available at the time of its issue—a person may have committed a crime in the intervening period;

The disclosure process may also include a search to establish whether an individual is subject to a direction under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002, or a check against the Protection of Children Act and Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoCA and PoVA) lists;

Each disclosure is specific to the circumstances of a particular job application and any decision to disclose any non-conviction information held by individual police forces is unique to that position.

The introduction of the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) may affect how employers behave. An initial application to the scheme can include, for eligible applicants, a CRB check at the same time. Once an individual is registered with the scheme, the employer will be advised of their registered status and a CRB disclosure will be issued.

Any further information arising on the individual will be referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority for consideration, and employers will be updated with any change to the individual's registered status. It will be a matter for employers to decide when and whether a further CRB check is needed, except in those sectors where this is a separate legal requirement.

The scheme will increase portability of an individual's “barring status” (suitability) and the scope of role deemed “relevant” within certain sectors.