The need for home care staff to undergo criminal record checks
before starting work has been omitted from the Department of
Health’s new domiciliary care standards.
Home care staff will be able to continue delivering personal care
in the homes of children and vulnerable adults without being
checked by the Criminal Records Bureau.
The long-awaited first set of standards for the domiciliary care
sector, published last week after being delayed twice last year,
only require staff “to provide a statement that they have no
criminal convictions or to provide a statement of any criminal
convictions that they do have”.
They will also need to be checked against the sex offenders’
register, the General Social Care Council register and, where
appropriate, the Protection of Children Act list.
However, the draft domiciliary care standards set out in the
consultation document stated that staff should only be appointed
after the completion of a criminal record check, “necessary because
of the nature of personal domiciliary care”.
Chairperson of the United Kingdom Home Care Association Bill
McClimont described the omission of CRB checks as
“This can only be a temporary moratorium in a measure which is
essential to ensure the protection of vulnerable people,” he
McClimont added that the standards were likely to result in
increased costs for local authorities.
The Department of Health insisted that the government was firmly
committed to improving protection for children and vulnerable
people and would seek to introduce CRB checks at the earliest
Also missing from the final standards is a check against the
Protection of Vulnerable Adults list. This was to be set up under
the Care Standards Act 2000 to record the names of individuals
judged unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults.
Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said he
had “severe reservations” about the failure to implement the Pova
list, particularly in relation to domiciliary care.
The 27 standards, which come into effect in February, cover five
areas, including personal care, protection and staff. Under them
agencies will be required to have procedures for responding to
suspicion of abuse or neglect, and any allegations or incidents of
abuse will need to be followed up promptly and the details