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Criminal Records Bureau

Volume 710: debated on Monday 11 May 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what deadlines to process approvals the Criminal Records Bureau set itself; and what percentage of cases are within its targets. [HL3215]

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) operates to a set of published service standards (PSS) which include issuing 90 per cent of standard disclosures within 10 days and 90 per cent of enhanced disclosures within 28 days. Between April 2008 and March 2009 the CRB has issued 396,000 standard disclosures and 3,459,000 enhanced disclosures.

During this period the CRB has exceeded PSS for standard disclosures with a cumulative total of 99.1 per cent issued within 10 days and has not met PSS for enhanced disclosures, issuing 88.6 per cent within 28 days.

The CRB has been receiving a higher than anticipated volume of disclosure applications. There are a number of reasons for this, but the volumes have put a great deal of pressure on both the CRB and the police forces. Consequently, some applications are taking longer to deal with.

Forces have been responding effectively and positively to these high intakes and this has enabled record numbers of disclosures to be issued in recent months.

For those forces which, for a variety of reasons, have been having greater difficulty with the increased demand, the CRB has been working very closely with them to address what additional help and support they need in the form of IT and workflow management expertise, accommodation and a 10 per cent increase in staff resources. The CRB has increased its own staff resources by 11 per cent to provide support for the police disclosure units and the bureau continues to monitor their performance regularly.

A joint improvement plan has been initiated aimed at reducing the number of aged cases, which are those applications that have been outstanding for longer than 25 days. Aged cases are those which cause the most difficulties for applicants, employers and other users of the disclosure service. This improvement plan has contributed towards a steady decline in the number of these cases over recent months. Monthly performance figures for each of the police forces for their part of the disclosure service are now published on the CRB website at www.crb.gov.uk.