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Vetting

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further steps are required for the Independent Safeguarding Authority's vetting and barring scheme to become fully operational. (289343)

The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is currently working towards the implementation of the next two significant phases of the vetting and barring scheme.

From 12 October 2009 the extension of the barring regime to all regulated activities will come into force. The ISA is planning for a significant increase in workload, ensuring that all relevant systems, staff and training requirements are in place. IT systems will be enhanced to support these changes.

From July 2010 applications and monitoring under the vetting and barring scheme will commence. The ISA is working closely with key partners and suppliers to ensure the new IT system and associated interfaces are in place and fully tested for July 2010.

Steps are also being taken to ensure an effective interface with the equivalent Scottish scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which posts will require registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority under the vetting and barring scheme. (289344)

Under the vetting and barring scheme individuals apply to become registered with the scheme under section 24 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. Those individuals seeking to work in either regulated or controlled activities with children or vulnerable adults, as specified under the Act, will need to apply to be registered, as the scheme is phased in.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of (a) standard checks and (b) enhanced checks by the Criminal Records Bureau took longer than (i) 10 days, (ii) four weeks and (iii) eight weeks to complete in each year since 1997. (290333)

Information is not held in the format requested. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) operates to a set of published service standards (PSS) which include to issue 90 per cent. of standard disclosures within 10 days and 90 per cent of enhanced disclosures within 28 days.

The following table illustrates the CRB's performance against the PSS since inception in 2002.

Published service standards

Standard

Enhanced

Financial year

Target

Performance (percentage)

Target

Performance (percentage)

2002-03

95 per cent. in 1 week

19.4

90 per cent. in 3 weeks

52.4

2003-04

93 per cent. in 14 days

93

90 per cent. in 28 days

92.5

2004-05

93 per cent. in 14 days

97.6

90 per cent. in 28 days

89.9

2005-06

93 per cent. in 14 days

99.6

90 per cent. in 28 days

84.4

2006-07

90 per cent. in 14 days

98.8

90 per cent. in 28 days

84.9

2007-08

90 per cent. in 10 days

99.7

90 per cent. in 28 days

93.6

2008-09

90 per cent. in 10 days

99.1

90 per cent. in 28 days

88.6

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the longest time taken to respond to an application for an (a) standard and (b) enhanced check by the Criminal Records Bureau was in each year since 1997. (290363)

The disclosure process comprises broadly several stages involving the applicant, the registered body (RB) (the organisation that handles the application on behalf of an employer), the CRB and the police. Each stage is reliant on the accuracy of the data provided by the applicant and the subsequent verification of these data by the RB from the outset.

A number of factors can cause delays, including the length of time it can take for an employer to deal with the initial application; the accurate completion of the application form; the clarity of the information provided; the existence of conviction or non-conviction information and the operational effectiveness of the disclosure units of the police forces involved in the enhanced disclosure process following recent high volumes of applications.

The majority of applications spend between three and four days at the CRB and analysis undertaken by the bureau has shown that the majority of delays that occur do so before the CRB receives an application and after it has been sent to the police.

The CRB has set up an improvement plan with its delivery partners, including the police forces, to address the problems associated with delays. This is aimed at maintaining a balanced output of applications on the system whilst also reducing the number of aged cases. This work has started to show an improvement in turnaround times but the CRB will continue to monitor forces performance in line with its own performance.

Where applications are returned to customers to acquire further information, reminders are issued but some customers can fail to provide this information or withdraw their application from the bureau's systems where they no longer require their disclosure.

The following table provides details of the longest time taken for the completion of a CRB standard and enhanced disclosure in each year since the inception of the bureau. The figures have been calculated based on the date the disclosure was issued in each year, counting back from the date of completion

It is likely that these applications will have been referred back to the applicant/RB; the delays in issue are not necessarily representative of the bureau's performance.

Financial year

Longest time taken in days-enhanced disclosure

Longest time taken in days-standard disclosure

2002-03

406

345

2003-04

684

692

2004-05

954

803

2005-06

1189

1198

2006-07

1414

1203

2007-08

1680

1512

2008-09

1606

864

2009-10

1434

393