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Rehabilitation of Offenders

Volume 545: debated on Tuesday 15 May 2012

5. What recent representations he has received on the operation of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. (106578)

We receive regular correspondence on the operation of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Following consultation and consideration of the representations received, the Government have introduced a package of reforms to the Act, through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which recently received Royal Assent.

Although I welcome the changes made in the 2012 Act, will the hon. Gentleman consider some loopholes that might be closed? A few months ago I brought up the case in the Chamber of a constituent, an ex-miner who had been fined 28 years ago for stealing a bag of coal in the middle of the miners’ strike. He subsequently tried for a job in a care home as a groundsman. He was offered the job, but it was then withdrawn. That seems ridiculous, because the job had nothing directly to do with the people in the care home, and he had not been accused of—

I am very pleased to finish with one, Mr Speaker. The CRB check should not apply in the case of my constituent, so will the hon. Gentleman look at the loopholes?

I am aware of the right hon. Lady’s interest in this matter. The vast majority of occupations for which people may make applications do not require a CRB search. Only a small number require a search, and even in those cases there are three categories of CRB searches. Searches are required for the occupations that are listed in the exceptions order to the 1974 Act, which involve sensitive issues or where people are dealing with children, vulnerable adults and so on. We have that list of people to ensure risk management in employment and the protection and detection of crime.

I thank the hon. Gentleman; I, too, welcome him to the Dispatch Box. It is a pleasure to hear him. We need now—not on account of the hon. Gentleman’s answers, but more generally—to make somewhat brisker progress.