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Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the average time taken to complete Criminal Records Bureau checks; what steps he is taking to reduce the time taken; and if he will make a statement. (321944)

The performance of the CRB is measured against a number of Published Service Standards (PSS) which include to issue 95 per cent. of Standard CRB checks within 10 days and 90 per cent. of Enhanced CRB checks within 28 days.

In the last period for which figures are available, January 2010, the number of days the CRB took on average to complete an enhanced check is 29.9 days. This figure includes the data for all Enhanced applications handled by the CRB; some applications are returned to the Registered Bodies or the applicant as data is missing and this figure includes the time on average these applications are out with the customer.

In recent months demand has significantly exceeded forecasts and as a result, some enhanced checks have taken longer to process as a result.

The CRB have been working with their delivery partners, including the police forces, to address the problems associated with delays. The CRB have set up an improvement plan with those forces that have been having problems meeting the demand for certificates. This is aimed at maintaining a steady output of applications on the system while also reducing the number of aged cases; those which have taken longer than 25 days to process.