Voluntary groups, politicians and care homes have hit out at the
government’s announcement that the Criminal Records Bureau is
to raise its fees for the second time in less than a year,
writes Derren Hayes.
From next April, the cost of applying for a standard CRB
check – or disclosure – will rise from £24 to £28
and an enhanced one from £29 to £33. This follows a
doubling of fees in July.
The government is also planning to charge the 11,000 registered
bodies – organisations accredited by the CRB to apply for
checks – £300 a year to be accredited, and to take on
greater responsibility for ensuring information applicants provide
is accurate and complete.
A Home Office spokesperson said this is needed because of the
high cost of mistakes made in application forms and the delays that
can cause in the system. Currently, one in four applications is
returned because there is something wrong with them.
Under the proposals, registered bodies with large numbers of
inaccurate applications could have their registration suspended
for six months or cancelled. Support teams will visit struggling
The CRB said the fee increase was needed to offset a halving in
the amount it receives as a subsidy from the government, despite it
expecting a cut in costs in the medium-term.
Sheila Scott, chief executive of the National Care Homes
Association, said she found the increase “just amazing so
soon after the previous one”.
She also called for the CRB to review the makeup of application
forms, which she said are too complex. “There is no
consistency in the checking of the forms,” she added.
Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, said the 18
per cent fee increase is unlikely to be the last.
“The CRB will still be losing £8 on every check it
carries out because they underestimated the original costs of
checks. It looks likely customers and taxpayers will be forced to
dig deep again,” he said.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for
Voluntary Organisations, called the price rises
“unacceptable”, warning they would cost charities
millions of pounds.
“It appears these organisations are to pay the price for
the government’s decision to half its subsidy.
For a history of the CRB and analysis of what has gone
wrong go to Community Care’s
“Bigger picture” focus