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Vetting

Volume 494: debated on Monday 22 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether national guidance has been issued to police forces on information which should be included in Criminal Records Bureau disclosures; (279867)

(2) what criteria are used by police forces in deciding whether to (a) include and (b) exclude information in relation to a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure.

Section 114 B (4) of Part V of the Police Act 1997 requires that in addition to criminal record information from the Police National Computer (PNC), Enhanced Disclosures should include any other information which a chief police officer considers might be relevant to the job application in question.

This is usually non-conviction information deriving from local force records and is referred to as ‘approved information'; chief officers are obliged to provide such information for Enhanced Disclosures under the Act. Where disclosed, information of this nature is considered by the police to represent a factual record of previous events that an employer in the most sensitive type of occupation should be aware of in making an employment decision affecting the most vulnerable groups of people.

Factors that would be taken into consideration when making decisions to disclose would include, but not be restricted to, the position the individual is currently applying for, the age of the information, whether the information might be directly relevant to the assessment of the person's suitability to work with children and whether it is reasonable to disclose the information, bearing in mind the human rights of the individuals concerned.

In making such assessments, the chief officers follow guidelines including, Home Office circular 5 / 2005— “Criminal Records Bureau: Local Checks by Police Forces for the Purpose of Enhanced Disclosure” and this has been augmented by a process known as the Quality Assurance Framework. The circular makes clear that consideration has been given to a person's right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In this regard there is a section in the circular which details what factors should be considered in determining relevancy.

The Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) is a standardised approach to processing local intelligence information relating to a Disclosure application held by Police Force Disclosure Units. QAF provides a step-by-step process framework that ensures that information is considered consistently and in the same way every time. searches performed on local systems using the QAF Framework and document set produce an audit trail that can be used for quality assurance and to assure QAF compliance.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosures were issued for those (a) working with children, (b) applying for an alcohol licence, (c) applying to work as a licensed minicab driver, (d) working with vulnerable adults and (e) subject to a CRB check for another reason in each police force area in each of the last 10 years; (279869)

(2) how many Criminal Records Bureau disclosures were issued in each police force area in each of the last 10 years.

Since it's inception in 2002, the CRB has issued over 19 million disclosures and the following table shows this broken down by disclosures issued in each financial year.

Number

2002-03

1,437,094

2003-04

2,284,688

2004-05

2,430,937

2005-06

2,770,265

2006-07

3,277,957

2007-08

3,323,334

2008-09

3,853,686

Of these, the following table shows the number of disclosure applications submitted in each financial year since inception that requested:

checks against the Protection of Children Act (PoCA) list and List 99;

checks against the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) list for those individuals working within the care sector;

checks against all lists.

Number

PoCA checks

PoVA checks

All lists

2002-03

1,209

6

61

2003-04

1,557,904

29

7

2004-05

1,338,278

369,149

527,856

2005-06

1,215,074

516,062

924,627

2006-07

1,401,528

483,961

1,124,745

2007-08

1,390,153

487,441

1,312,159

The CRB is unable to provide this information based on employment sectors or broken down by each police force area because the information is not collated in this manner.

These figures do not constitute part of national statistics as they are based on internal management information. The information has not been quality assured under national statistics protocols, should be treated as provisional and is subject to change.