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Vetting

Volume 492: debated on Friday 8 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the UK Central Authority passes on information it holds to the relevant authorities when individuals apply for jobs working in (a) the Passport Service, (b) the UK Border Agency, (c) her Department, (d) the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, (e) the Police Service as (i) civilian support and (ii) warranted constables, (f) the Criminal Records Bureau, (g) the Greater London Authority, (h) local authorities children's departments, (i) local authority finance departments, (j) local authority electoral administration offices, (k) local authority social services departments, (l) the Pension Service, (m) the Criminal Cases Review Commission, (n) the Prison Service, (o) the Court Service and (p) the Crown Prosecution Service are vetted for crimes committed outside the United Kingdom. (243143)

The United Kingdom Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Records adds conviction information onto the Police National Computer (PNC) in relation to UK citizens where this has been provided by other countries. The PNC will also contain any information about crimes committed in the United Kingdom by foreign nationals.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether (a) British and (b) foreign nationals working (i) as security guards in government buildings and departments, (ii) as police community support officers, (iii) in the Passport Service, (iv) in the UK Border Agency, (v) in her Department, (vi) in the Serious Organised Crime Agency, (vii) in the Police Service as (A) civilian support and (B) warranted constables, (viii) in the Criminal Records Bureau, (ix) for the Greater London Authority, (x) in local authorities children's departments, (xi) in local authority finance departments, (xii) in local authority electoral administration offices, (xiii) local authority social services departments, (xiv) in the Pension Service, (xv) in the Criminal Cases Review Commission, (xvi) in the Prison Service, (xvii) in the Court Service and (xviii) in the Crown Prosecution Service are vetted for crimes committed outside the United Kingdom. (243144)

For reasons of cost, I am only able to answer this question on behalf of the Home Office. It is Home Office policy to ensure that all recruits satisfy identity, background, right to work and unspent criminal conviction record checks including, for UK nationals, details of criminal convictions for recordable offences which have been notified to the UK authorities by either EU member states or through Interpol channels. This fully complies with the Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) issued by the Cabinet Office. In addition, using Home Office records, details are verified to ensure that any applicant has the right to work and that there are no integrity concerns. In addition, enhanced disclosures provided by the Criminal Records Bureau or Disclosure Scotland are required for those Home Office staff who work with children or vulnerable adults. We require information about both spent and unspent convictions for staff that are employed in a National Security Vetting (NSV) post.

When a foreign national seeks employment with the Home Office we seek to establish whether the individual has a criminal record in the UK as well as in their country of origin. It is not always possible to obtain this information from overseas. As set out in the Government Response to Sir Ian Magee's Review of Criminality Information published on 4 December 2008, we aim to improve the sharing of electronic information and to prioritise agreements on the sharing of criminality information for employment vetting and barring purposes with other EU countries.

Outside the EU we are taking a risk based approach to identify those countries that need to be a priority for information exchange for this purpose. However, in most cases where individuals have lived abroad during the preceding three years, if we cannot obtain a confident assessment about the absence of criminal records, the individual concerned will not be permitted to work in the Home Office and will be rejected on residency grounds.